Written By: Jeff Behnke
As a young boy, I used to believe that I was unique and destined to take over the world. I thought I could make all the right decisions, end wars and poverty, help the sick, feed the hungry. Then, all of the sudden, from nowhere, I ran into certain brick walls. I used to see homeless men on the street and wonder why no one would give them any money. Later in life, I realized that the reason some did not give them any money wasn’t because people with money were greedy and wanted to keep their dimes and nickels to themselves--instead, it was because giving a homeless man money created a dependency which made them homeless, longer. Instead of going out and working for money, they would just sit on the corner and beg. So, in a round about way NOT giving money to a homeless man helped him more so than giving him money, and because I had a pension for believing in ironies rather than straightforward logic, I bought into the idea and do not generally give away money to anyone, including charities. How convenient.
On top of that, when it comes to feeding the poor and getting rid of the great divide that separates the rich from the poor, I ran into the argument that feeding the poor keeps them alive longer which negatively affects the gene pool. And considering that nature has the survival of the fittest rule, it no longer made sense to me to drag down the entire future of mankind’s evolution by feeding those that are not industrious enough to feed themselves. Why should they survive and continue to have children who, once grown up, will also be unable to feed themselves? It is not NATURAL to keep everyone on an even level--nature doesn’t work that way, so why pretend it does? We are products of our natural environment just like the rest of the animals in the world, and if you cannot survive in the wilderness, you were not meant to survive. Governments that have attempted to keep everyone equal usually end up with communism. And, as has been proven over the past 150 years or so, communism doesn’t work. It SHOULD work, if people were not "corrupt," but they are corrupt. And by corrupt, I mean they want to provide a more fitter meal for their family than the next guy. As a result, communism fails because it is not natural.
In addition to these beliefs that have worked their way into my system, on the job, I have been wrong more often than I am right. I get impatient. I make rash decisions. I don’t double check and verify what I am doing. In my desire to accomplish something, anything, I have left perfection in the garage and have instead taken out my four-banger with rusty doors and a falling apart muffler. It doesn’t cause heads to turn--it just gets me around. In addition, while driving this heap of scrap metal, I have picked up numerous ideas from the conspiracy and ufo community and have thrown them in the back seat, ideas that are both profoundly disturbing and--probably--at least partially right. All the while, my colleagues have looked at the hobby both as a fascination and an obsession of mine that clouds my view. I’m either on to something, or not. No one knows. Yet again, not a day goes by that I don’t doubt it is all bullshit. I want it to be true, but I along with everyone else on this green earth just don’t know. And considering that experience has taught me that I am wrong more often than I am right, I just don’t press as hard anymore or force those beliefs down other people’s throats. I present them, and leave it at that. I cannot take over the world with them.
So now, it seems as if my quest for dominating the world has run into a few showstoppers, three of which I can easily summarize: 1.) Feeding the poor doesn’t always help them or the human race; 2.) The division between the rich and the poor is natural, whereas removing the division is not natural and weakens the human race; 3.) I’m wrong more often than I am right.
If I said to hell with this logic and decided I just wanted to get into heaven because the ramifications of my thought process concerning the future of earth is frightening, I would feed the poor anyway, since that is what God wants us to do. But then again, why would God want to keep the weak threads in the gene pool? Doesn’t he want us to grow like flowers? If he does, shouldn’t he allow the weeds to die that are choking the roots and sucking off part of the water supply? Does God WANT the homeless to wander the street? Does God want us to be dependent on him? Don’t fathers attempt to raise their children so they can fend for themselves? Why doesn’t God? These profoundly disturb me just as much as the thoughts of ignoring the poor, letting them die, and ruthlessly taking over the planet. Should we be more like children, or more like adults?
What if children, so moral and perfect and faultless and caring of others, are like stem cells, and the reason why they seem so desiring to help other people is because they can become anything, and if they can become anything, they have to ensure they mesh up with whomever or whatever they become? They are moral to ensure that someone takes them in--they have to be liked. They share their chips. They smile all the time. They ask why no one feeds the homeless man on the street. They ask why there are poor people in the world. And the older you get, the more difficult these heart-wrenching questions are to answer. There are poor people on the street because we choose not to give them money. There are hungry people in the world because we choose not to feed them.
I am no longer a child. I have already been taken in, so to speak, by the grand technological organ of society, and am no longer a stem cell. I have been accepted here. I program for others. As a result, two things have occurred--I look at everything through a certain perspective, and at the same time, I have lost my innocence. I was told throughout my childhood that I had a heart of gold. But now as I look back, I realize that this heart of gold was created out of a fear of being neglected, ignored, lost, left behind--not out of some intellectual capacity that I somehow had amassed in the womb. Now that I have a goal when I wake up in the morning and know what people want me to do, I don’t approach things as much from a moral perspective--I take a more practical view.
At the same time, my favorite movie now is A Christmas Carol--it has become my lesson at Christmas, my gift to myself. In Scrooge, I see myself. In Scrooge, I try to discover what he discovered through the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. I WANT to learn the lessons he had learned that night and discover WHY I should feed the homeless, why I should buy large chickens for others who cannot afford them and give free medical care to the poor, why I should stop hoarding my wealth and learning investment strategies, and start giving it all away. But the ghosts do not present affective arguments for me. I wish they did, and every time I watch it, I try discovering what I have previously missed. Maybe this time, I say to myself, maybe this time it will all become clear. Maybe this time, I will learn what I have failed to learn. I may be homeless one day. I may be poor. I may need the assistance of another. But alas, all of this is to no avail. The Scrooge in me has wrapped itself around my spine because I cannot tell if it is helping me grow or making me die.
As a young boy, I used to believe I was unique and destined to take over the world. As a man, I looked around and realized it was already filled with enough people just like me who had done just that. And because I’m not as ruthless as them, because my genes aren’t as powerful as theirs, because I am weak, because I am practical, because I am often wrong, I’m going to let them continue doing what they have always done, in hopes that in the process, they will take me in like an organ to a stem cell, and as nature so lovingly embraces its young, I will not be neglected. I will not be left behind.