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Consideration: The Next Rung On The Ladder Of Evolution

I'm sorry, I' don't mean to be rude or anything, but could anyone tell me what the hell is wrong with the human race? How did such a selfish and mean spirited species ever come to survive and dominate the planet in the first place? I'm not talking about a particular race, sex or culture here, because this behaviour crosses all lines.

Species have distinct traits marking them as different from others; felines are predatory and sleek, canines are social, and bovines all look like they're permanently puzzled by the world. But one thing all species have in common is a survival instinct. Leisure is not something that exists when all of your energy is spent ensuring the your life's continuance.

By nature the instinct to survive is selfish. A critter's world revolves around it's own desires for food and shelter, it's offspring's safe up bringing, and in some cases the continuation of their family group The majority of civilized humanity no longer faces that daily grind of ensuring food and shelter for their immediate family group. Food is purchased, shelter paid for and offspring cared for through the pursuit of labour that takes up less than a third of our time or less during a week.

For some reason though instead of that selfish streak necessary for survival falling by the wayside it has persisted. Far too many humans still act like no one exists outside their pack or family group when it comes to how they govern their behaviour, especially during the times they are not concerned with survival.

I try to avoid making sweeping generalizations, especially pejorative ones, on any subject, but events of the past week in particular, and the last little while in general, where I live has only given credence to that theory. The microcosm that I've evaluated to reach this conclusion has three strata; my immediate neighbours on the street where I live; the three of four block radius that surrounds an all night donut shop in my neighbourhood; and a special event that took place last week in the heart of a residential area in the city where I live.

How many times have those of you who live in close proximity to others been woken on a weekend morning this past summer by some jerk mowing their lawn at some ungodly hour of the morning or have had a moment of quiet destroyed by the same? Of course one must expect that to a certain extent living in the city, but seven days a week non-stop throughout the day and evening?

The fact that most of these people are using gas powered lawn equipment; weed whackers, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and anything else you can think of and beyond. (Some guy uses a chain saw that looks like it's a left over from clearing his grandfathers farmland for trimming his one measly cedar hedge and then hauls out an equally archaic wood chipper for the few scraggily branches he has mutilated. Either one of which if judged by the noise they produce could easily be mistaken for an ancient Harley-Davidson in desperate need of a tune up)

Than there are those people who make it their life's work finding things to do with the power tools that they have been given as gifts over the years. The fact that they've never made an effort to learn how to use this equipment means you not only have to listen to them being used, but abused on top of that, and for far longer then the "jobs" being done merit. (One particular idiot took three months to rebuild a small atrium off his front door. Most of his work seemed to involve hitting things loudly for extended periods of time with a hammer for no apparent reason except that he couldn't hammer a nail in to save his life)

As if the noise weren't bad enough, the attitude that goes with it is amazing. How they cannot realize that their constant barrage of sound is not disturbing anyone is beyond me. But if you should happen to point out the fact that the windows of your apartment are rattling because of their lawn mower they either don't care or take a sort of perverse pride in it.

It might explain why nobody in my neighbourhood is able to talk at a level of anything less then a shout. One family group gathers on their fire escape and shouts the intimate details of their lives at each other. But it doesn't explain why people feel the need to hold conversations via shouting at each other from top floor balconies to the sidewalk across the road.

Don’t they know or care that everybody within a two-block radius can hear every word that they are saying? Don't any of these people once stop to consider that no one else wants to hear the sound of their voice echoing through their apartment? These same people complain about other people's noise but can't seem to notice that they are contributing to the overall cacophony that besets us on a daily basis.

From the moment that the streets are first cleared of snow in the spring until the first snowfall of the following winter the roads in my neighbourhood are taken over by what seem to be either people who don't know how to drive or have confused residential streets with speedways. They congregate at a local Donut chain where they idle their engines while guzzling coffee and eating deep fried sugar in order to fuel their personal tanks.

From one stop sign to the next they floor their cars and squeal their breaks. They can't seem to be able to start their cars from a stationary position without peeling out with tires smoking and exhaust complaining. Maybe they feel that their lives aren't complete if they can't rattle the windows of every house they drive by on their way through a neighbourhood?

You can't make that kind of noise with a car as consistently as they do by accident. It has to be done on purpose which means they are taking great pleasure in making other people's lives miserable. The fact that they wouldn't even have made that a consideration in their decision making process, if you could call what they do a process, is the truly selfish part of the equation.

In fact that applies to all of the examples I've cited to this point: nobody even thinks enough about other people to say the hell with them before they do something. Afterwards they may tell you, who the fuck cares what you think, but beforehand they didn't even consider what effect their actions might have on others. Nobody exists outside of themselves and their own little worlds.

I'm going to pull out a little from my own personal environs to supply one last example of how consideration of others appears to have become something less than a virtue. Now I know there are people who enjoy car races, stunt shows, motorcycle races, and even Monster Truck rallies, and to some extent that's fine. To each their own right. But even those who like these events have to admit they are dammed loud, perhaps for some people that's even part of the appeal, I don't know.

What I do know is that they are horribly intrusive upon anyone who lives within probably a minimum of a quarter mile radius from the event. So who would organize such an event in the middle of a densely populated residential area for two nights and one afternoon, four hours at a shot? How could no one give any consideration to the feelings of the people living in the neighbourhood?

Can you imagine what it would be like for families with infant children to be beset with the equivalent noise of a large jet taking off in their backyards for two hours at a time? How about any senior citizens living by themselves and having to feel their apartment's vibrating and shaking and wondering if the noise is going to cause them physical damage?

Given the population density of the neighbourhood where this "entertainment" was held, and the seating capacity of the facility, more people were disturbed by the event than could have possibly attended. But that shouldn't even be relevant, what is, and what nobody seems to care about anymore, is why should people have to suffer in order for others to have fun.

How many kids have been teased mercilessly by people only having fun? How many people have been made the butts of racist or sexist jokes by some asshole only having fun? How many women have been groped and sexually annoyed by people only having a "bit of fun"? How is it that nobody ever thinks about the repercussions their actions might be having on the other person?

I'm sure some out there reading this are going to be saying shit about me just being another bleeding heart liberal who doesn't want anybody to have any fun anymore. Well I tell you what, I don't care what you do to yourself and folks of like mind for fun, just don't inflict it on others. Just because you have fun drinking yourself stupid and screaming and yelling at the top of your lungs, doesn't mean that the people around you think it's a great time.

When we as a species needed to fight for food and shelter for family, and ourselves selfishness was understandable, it was part of the instinctual behaviour that allowed us to survive to this point. But now that is no longer required for our continuation as a species don't you think it's time we started thinking about the effect of our actions on others? We claim that we are superior to other life forms, isn't it about time we started to prove it?

Leap In The Dark

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