I like to tell myself (and now others), that if I lived to be a thousand years old, by the end of my life I’d be the King of the World (that’s a real title, people — just ask Genghis or Alexander). Thats the watered-down old-man version. When I was younger it was just “rule the world within one life-span.” I’ve changed, man… I used to be cool.
Megalomaniacal? Well I did watch a lot of Pinky and the Brain during college through a veil of acrid smoke, so maybe that warped me — although I’m sure we can look back and find some pre-5-year-old event that did most of the warping. Lets not try to find out what that was right now though.
Is it even as complicated as that? As omnivores, we humans have always walked (upright, most of the time) a fine line between our subhuman urge to hunt and kill, and our desire to settle down and lead a sedentary lifestyle (or “gather” even tho I’m aware that technically “gather” doesn’t involve cultivation). Once we settled down more permanently and formed civilizations, that pent-up male frustration had to go somewhere, and it did. It went into raping, killing and conquering each other. I was going to point out a few historical examples, but there are so many that if I just say, “Remember __________?”, the blank is more than likely to refer to some violent event in human history.
By late in the 20th Century, our civilization as a whole had pretty much come to condemn and abhor violence (I am well aware of the inherent irony of what I’m saying here, but lets generalize for the sake of argument), especially on a geopolitical scale, so that it was no longer considered OK to kill millions just to get more stuff. Our killer instinct had to be once more focused onto something other than the pursuit of blood. And so it was, onto the pursuit of money. And so here we are today. And here I am.
I could point to a host of other supposed hypotheses on why I’m power-hungry, anything from having a pushy South-Asian know-it-all mom to feeling insecure about my family’s net worth next to so many of my peers. But I tend to be a complicated person ruled by simple needs. And this one’s as simple as “Hulk, Smash!”
Of course, my thirst for world domination is somewhat tempered (more than somewhat) by the need for me to have my cake and eat it too — to live in the moment rather than think only about the future. It is often difficult for me to sacrifice assured present pleasure for potential future gain. I guess this is both my greatest barrier to success as well as the single personality trait I possess which is the most responsible for my well-being and happiness. Without it I would probably wallow in misery and depression, rather than just pretending to wallow in it, as I do in this blog.
But as I get older, I get more conservative, and even wonder whether I shouldn’t have made more of these sacrifices than I did. But then I just tell myself to shut up. And adjust my world-domination schedule accordingly in Microsoft Project. I”m not one for regrets… move on and plan accordingly.
That being said, part of my soul still lies on a secluded beach in the Balearic Isles, watching the sun loiter across the cloudless sky, drinking claras, and listening to the wind carrying the sounds of local DJs down the beach. Maybe someday, the rest of me can be convinced to join it.
For now, must take stuff over.