‘ … and ye shall be as gods’The Gay Boy Next Door Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Social Chaos: The Gay Boy Next Door
D o you ever stop and ask yourself why you’re really doing something? Some people go their whole lives without ever questioning their base motives and operating procedures. Some are mindless slaves to their instincts and desires, while others predictably follow social constructs and arbitrary definitions of normalcy. Zombies and robots, I joke.
We all have a tendency to slip into routine, but many people are never even aware of their own patterns. I used to be one of them. Brainwashed into following steps and then made to forget why I was taking them, it was so easy to be consumed by the most trivial of stressors. Always pushing myself to get that perfect grade so that I could grow up to have that perfect life, I forgot what it was that I really wanted.
I’ve since learned to be free of that, but whether or not that’s a good thing is up for debate. I’ll admit I sometimes miss my more narrowly-focused life. It’s easier to feel satisfied and accomplished when you set achievable goals and aren’t constantly asking yourself, “But why?” Now I find myself struggling with daily headaches and an insatiable curiosity about humanity and the meaning of life.
I am still more than capable of handling the day-to-day, but I find myself over-analyzing even the smallest of actions. Getting a haircut, for example, is no longer just about being pretty, but rather a way of becoming more attractive by social standards and thereby gaining access to people, conversations and opportunities that might get me closer to what I’m really after.
But what is it that I’m really after? What is it that we are all after?
I’ve long figured out that pre-packaged American goals – like the white picket fence and two point five children – are just generic and temporary templates for happiness. They work for some, are unavailable to others, and provide only a short burst of satisfaction.
As with any attained dream, success inevitably breeds dissatisfaction and leaves us wanting more. After the white picket fence comes the need for a promotion, the perfect car or the best college for the kids. And while this example draws only from the most basic American stereotype, the principles apply to all our lives.
The truth is, despite our differences, we all want the same basic things. Psychologist Abraham Maslow laid out a nice little treasure map for us in his hierarchy of needs. Our focus shifts as we satisfy each need in turn: physiological, safety, love/belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization.
But this still leaves me wondering: Why? What motivates us? What innate drive do we all share that keeps us going?
I was looking into the sky and remembering the classic Biblical verse, “… and ye shall be as gods,” when it all came together for me. Aside from making a great tattoo for serial killers, the phrase has seriously deep implications. We are all trying to transcend humanity, I realized. At our very core, we all want to be as gods and become more than what we are.
Even without considering spirituality or using the term God, the base human motivation for all of life is to control that which is around us. As we reach past our actualization stage of life, we are literally seeking godliness, power, or whatever you want to call this transcendental control.
The tragic, albeit fascinating, catch is that we can never succeed (at least by recorded, observable means). The very act of trying is what makes us so fallibly human. A true god, deity or greater-than-human would not need to try. It would affect change and control without any effort whatsoever. This never-ending failure of a struggle, therefore, is what defines our existence.
We are left with two ways of living and two very different kinds of people on this Earth. Serial killer Sweeney Todd described them rather accurately during his musical epiphany: “There’s the one staying put in his proper place and [then] the one with his foot in the other one’s face.” There are those who humbly accept our human life and those who continuously try to be more by controlling the environment and people around them.
The war between those who accept our place and those who do not has raged through history. Churches stand today as symbols of this battle, half well-intentioned transcendental gateways and half corrupted by power-hungry humans. Similarly, science is a blend of those who accept and revere the world around us, and those who desperately need a godlike understanding of the equations that run it.
I make no judgments of either side, but suggest that morality and our traditional concepts of good and evil should be based on the way people attempt to transcend humanity. Evil is to use sins to achieve power and godlike control, and that ranges from ruling as a celebrity with pride to taking away life with wrath. On the other hand, good is to temper our innate desires through positive means such as love.
After all, what is love if not a sacred partnership between people who treat each other as gods? Good parents and their children are no different than two lovers in the way they mutually appreciate, respect and cherish one another. It’s the most powerful connection we know and it satisfies our urges to transcend while making the world a better place.
Humans are not inherently evil; they are just driven to greatness. In my life I have chosen to transcend by crafting entertainment, words and stories. I find that with amazing friends, parents and a superstar sister, that’s all I need. Through them I have learned that the purpose of my life is not to live as a god, but to love as one.
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