Friday, November 27, 2009

William Golding hits a nerve..

So, to continue with what has, I think become what this blog is about, the trend of commenting on humans in general, reality, life etc. I thought I'd bring out some of the revelations I've had recently.
So, I'm a 17 year old high school student, with an avid interest in English- To Kill a Mockingbird quickly became my favourite book when we studied it last year. So this year, for novel study, my class did Golding's Lord of the Flies. I don't know if you know the story, its pretty famous, but in case you don't the gist of it is a group of young school boys wind up marooned on a deserted island, their plane (which was evacuating them from a war situation) having crashed. So, essentially it tells the story of what could happen if a group of young boys were left to their own devices, away from parents, society, and civilisation.
I seriously could talk about this book for days, it really opens the flood gates for me as far as pondering life goes. I think it's just because Golding presents us with so many incredibly shocking truths about mankind in the book.
So the boys, in case you didn't know, completely (save a select few) descend into savagery, abandoning any civilised values. The entire events of the book seem incredibly daunting, and some of the stuff they come to do (two murders and an attempted third, stopped only by the arrival of a rescue party) is utterly horrific. You really can't seem to believe (or don't want to believe) that this can really happen. But Golding makes it seem entirely likely, because with this novel he teaches you so much you really didn't want to know about humanity. The basic idea of the book is that man is not naturally good when removed from the restraints of society.
Think about it. Why do we behave the way we do? The majority of human beings behave in way that can be described as essentially "good" right? I mean there are less criminals than non-criminals aren't there?
So, it would be easy for us to assume that it is human nature to be good. You would be forgiven for making the assumption that man is naturally good. But, with a little help from William Golding, I've come to realise that when you think about it, we behave this way, not always because we want to, but instead because we have to. Within society we have values conditioned into us that teach us to behave in a way that is socially acceptable. MOst of the time, although it may not be a conscious thing, we behave in a certain way because we know that there will be negative consequences if we don't. ie, you pop a guy, you go to jail.
So, can we really assume that we are all naturally good? Well Golding doesn't think so. He comments on the existence of an inherent inhumanity or evil within us all, which some of us control, and some of us don't. And that control is what ends up being the difference between those who wind up doing bad stuff, and those who don't.
I mean, really if we think about it there are a heck of a lot of people rotting in prisons paying for about 15 seconds of lapse in control. 15 seconds of poor judgement.
So although it may be easier to consider the people who do bad stuff the exception to the rule, they're really not. I think it's so important to remember that we all have that inhumanity within us, so that we can maintain it. I mean, it'd definitely be easier to write this off as bullshit, avoiding the self-reflection a realisation like this invites, but at the end of the day, whether acknowledged or not, it's still gonna be true.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


First blog,
so first things first, the title of the blog is actually the exact number of people in the world, calculated from the time I started the blog. The message in the blog description was used (with a slightly different number) on one of my favourite tv shows, One Tree Hill.
I love the concept of the statement.
I think it's easy to lose sight of the enormity of how amazing life is, how amazingly complex humanity is. And I love the idea that of the incredibly immense expanse of people who exist on this earth, we all have those who are important to us. Just a select few, out of this six billion, who can mean the world to us. We all matter to someone. We all have people who matter to us. And sometimes, of all the people on the planet, just one, single person can change everything. Can mean everything. Can be everything.