Sunday, November 16, 2008

would my character survive survival?

i finished an incredible book called ‘the road’ by cormac mccarthy while on my travels in the UK. the book is a post-apocalyptic book about a man and his son trying to make their way south to 'the coast' where there is warmer weather and a chance to survive this ash covered world in which they live. it is quite a mystery as to where the man and his son are, and it remains so throughout the book. i theorize that they may be in a post nuclear world and almost all the inhabitants of the earth have died. the book is very much about endurance of the human will, the author said the inspiration for the book came from trying to imagine ‘what the city might look like in the future, and pictured fires on the hill.’ this book led me to many thoughts about the survival of mankind when faced with nothing but himself inside an empty world.

this book reminded me of another one of my favorite books of all time, a simple read called ‘lord of the flies,’ by william golding. the book is about a shipwrecked group of british school boys who must face a deserted island and try to sustain not only life but sanity & order. there are so many layered meanings in the book, but the overall theme is that when challenged with adversity, fear, and survival of self, mankind digresses to a barbaric nature.

so how do we as a people who come from a society where are basic core instincts are never tested? (please forgive my assumption that everyone reading this is at a financial level above absolute poverty, assuming you have a computer in which you are reading this on)

what am i really made of at the center of myself?

if faced with the most severe of circumstance will i have the character to maintain integrity that i think i possess?

i want to believe that at my center the best of people and that i would care more for mankind as a whole than i do for myself even in dire circumstances. i want to think that love conquers fear and deep down people are innately good. but upon reading the road, and rethinking ‘lord of the flies,’ i don’t know. its not that i don’t know if people are born ‘good’ it is that i don’t know if i am ‘good’. i have never been faced with the point of ‘how do i survive’, ‘where will i get my next meal,’ ‘where can i find shelter tonight.’ i have been blessed enough to be born into a family where we were raised in a first world country where these questions were never pondered.

how do we find the center of ourselves when paradise is not lost? maybe i will never know. but i also know life is not perfect; those i love will someday die, situations will not always be so optimal, and i can only pray that in the small moments of adversity and discouragement that i am faithful to react with character and altruism. hopefully maybe.