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Deserving…

by Richard on October 14, 2017

Recently left in a dusty vacuum when Game of Thrones Season Six ended, I found I needed a conflict fix. Of course, I could have simply gorged on TV news, but something inside me needs to absorb conflict that can be settled. Ended favorable to someone. Anyone.

So I turned to binge watching the four seasons of a SciFi series on Netflix: The 100. Originally written as a YA series by Brooklyn author Kass Morgan, it’s a complicated, character-driven unfolding of deadly conflicts. One right after the other. I’ve been riveted both by the screen portrayals as by the series’ conceptual material. It asks more questions than it answers, but always comes around to one. Do we deserve to survive?

A long time ago, some dust left over from an explosion in space, congealed and became a place with water, air and life. Life miraculously expanded and evolved many diverse forms. Some moved around, others didn’t, but they found ways to exploit the places they were and thrive. Some of them seemed to like the whole, “moving on” activity. They spread out over the entire world.

They may have been one clan or a handful of clans when they began, but now, there are many diverse groups. A few of the things most of them have in common are cruelty to each other, fear of others and total disregard and lack of respect for the Natural world they live in coupled with an inability to preserve the balance for the future generations.

Another is the complete inability to learn from the past and turn away from ideas that have been bad decisions with terrible, deadly consequences. We survive by our tenacity, not so much our knowledge and understanding. We applaud that tenacity in every activity we engage in, even when the results threaten our survival. Seems counter-intuitive, but there it is. Again, and again.

I’m reminded of a great Clint Eastwood line from his western film, Unforgiven. “Deserving’s got nothing to do with it.”

Of course, it’s perfectly applicable to our larger, human situation. As self-aware living things, we question our existence. We argue that there must be a reason for things to have happened. Things that occur that benefit us or damage us alike, must have been deserved. Some of us are revered for our thinking around these questions. Their answers and words are often compiled and used to create rules for behavior. But we don’t trust those other folks… the ones over there, do we? If they don’t follow our rules, then they don’t deserve to survive. In the words of a great Long Islander, Kurt Vonnegut, “And so it goes.”

Which brings Kass Morgan’s great question to mind. Do we deserve to survive? Given our behavior and our disregard for other living things, even our own kind? I’m hard-pressed to say I can decide. That question assumes that there is a moral order to the universe. Something or someone that sets the balance and judges the results. In the case that is true, I’d tend to see the demise of humans as a boon to the rest of the planet; but if it’s not, then life will have its way. It’s tenacious, and will find ways around every obstacle. Karma is another name for cause and effect, an observed truth of the physical universe. Every action has results. Whether the end justifies the means, matters little. We seem to have lost even our somewhat limited vision. We’ll stumble around in the darkness for a while longer… and Season Five is just around the corner.

2 Comments
  1. Amber permalink

    Interesting stuff.

    I wasn’t able to stick with that show. I might give it another try.

    • Richard permalink

      In some ways, it’s over the top; but after a while, the characters got to me. Like GOT they had no issues killing anybody… except all-consuming guilt. I started seeing parallels with our situation. Maybe because I watched it every night for a few weeks? Soft head? Who knows?

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