Fables from the Hood - Dog and Fish / Existence

The Dog was getting thirsty. Combining the necessary with the enjoyable, the Dog took a saunter to the stream to visit the Fish. The Dog and the Fish were best of friends and enjoyed discussing philosophical perspectives on life, the universe and everything.

The Fish seeing the Dog coming, swam as close to the edge as possible. Immediately the Fish began a discussion of great relevance and importance. It involved existence.

Fish: Were you asked to be born?

Dog: Can you decide when you die?

Fish: Isn’t that the ultimate free will? Being able to decide when you are born and when you die? Because in western democracies, largely, neither is possible. I can’t decide when I die but humans can. They can make a mental decision and end it all. Does this make humans different to other species on this planet?

Dog: Not that they think they’re the only species that engage in philosophical discussions!

Dog: (continuing) What about those spiders that after they have mated, the female eats the male. Does the male know this? Does the male make a conscience decision to mate in order to die? I guess we would only know this if there are bachelor spiders that die of natural causes. If such bachelor spiders existed, then won’t that be an indication that it’s a conscience decision to mate?

Fish: Well either that or a male simply didn’t find a mate. But I understand where you’re coming from.

Dog: And don’t cats withdraw themselves when they know they are about to die? I guess this isn’t the same as ending it immediately. But I guess we non-human species have a different approach to death and are more fatalistic in accepting it as a natural part of life.

Fish: Many an attribute that was original thought to be unique to humans was later seen to exist in other species. In their ever search for “them and us” status, humans are beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Fish: (continuing) Why do humans have a relentless need to differentiate themselves from other species and from one another? I belief partial this lies in their preconceived emptiness as they simply don’t understand why they are here and why they were born in the first place.

Dog: But we neither know why we were born?

Fish: But neither do we question it, we accept it.

Dog: Is acceptance a better option than following the myth of the Great Maker in the Sky (GMitS, pronounced: Gee-mits) who bares responsibility for making it all happen?

Fish: You right, humans have found a unifying myth in form of various GMitS. In times of crisis, it becomes a very effective method of dealing with uncertainty. The Great Maker in the Sky is also a very effective way to maintain control. A leader can always point out that the GMitS anointed them leader. And since no one can question the GMitS nor does the GMitS speak, there is no arguing.

Fish: (continuing) According to Sapiens, a GMitS-type figure is a part of a myth building within a society. The basic theory is that to control and obtain cooperation among a very large group of homo sapiens, you need a common myth. Groups up to 150 individuals can be unified using gossip and word-of-mouth connections, groups larger than 150 require myths.

Dog: What kind of myths?

Fish: GMitS is one, but also spiritual beliefs (e.g. fairies in the forests or souls in trees) or money which is a common believe that I can buy something else with the shiny bits of metal that you give me for my seeweed. But because enough members of my tribe have the same belief, I can swap those shiny bits of metal for some floor and make bread.

Dog: So basically everything related-to and constructed-around money is a myth? A myth that has imprisoned humans into amoral, profit-at-all-cost society.

Fish: That’s a bit dramatic but yes, you’re on point.

Here there was a pause in the conversation while both contemplated whether a GMitS would have a gender. Then the Fish began…

Fish: But going to back to my starting point: were you asked to be born? Were humans asked to be born? A consequence of this is the question whether humans are responsible for their actions?

Dog: You mean since humans weren’t initially asked, they bare no responsibility for their actions? Meaning that since humans have been forced to take on life, they have automagically devolve their responsibility and hence have no liability for the planet?

Fish: Right. Who made them responsible for looking after the place if they weren’t asked in which epoch would they like to be born in, to whom they would like to be born and what the general outlook of the place would be.

Dog: But isn’t here the problem that if everyone had a choice, wouldn’t the majority just said no?

Fish: You shouldn’t be so pessimistic! Of course there would have quite a few opportunists who enjoy nothing better than accumulating all the best resources for themselves.

Dog: This opens an interesting aspect of the GMitS myth: how can there be a GMitS if the GMitS doesn’t even ask souls their opinion of whether they wish to be born? Is not the GMitS a benevolent kindly entity that has the best interests of humans at heart?

Fish: Perhaps a GMitS is a scientist who is perform a series of experiments on lab rats?

And with that both fell into a silence of contemplation. Until:

Dog: Do you think our discussion was more important than discussing whether atoms have GMitS myths?

Fish: I think Godot just walked pass.

See also Myth of Er.