Amerika

Two mentalities

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Two outlooks on the world reveal the soul of humanity.

In both cases, the person has discovered that there is more to the world than they expected. Someone around them was smarter than they thought, a new continent appeared, a new dimension uncovered, or a new theory grew which turned out not to be a rehash of old theories or a transient trend based on drawing overbroad conclusions from small disparities. Possibilities — whether new or not — opened up, but the end result was that the world they thought they knew has more parts or space.

The first case finds herself delighted. There is more! Something else to combine, or isolate, or even incorporate as a variation on the known. In any case, there is more to explore, to experience and to enjoy. Unless it is outright evil, in which case she sees it as a new worthy enemy.

The second case finds herself disturbed. She thought she knew the world; now, there is more. More that is not under her hand, understood by her and conversant in her tongue. It is a challenge to her personal autonomy, which she confuses with control, and an insurgency against her having knowledge of everything out there and its importance. She is outraged that something exists which threatens her understanding of the world.

Humanity is far more complex than these two cases; that statement is boilerplate and of little value. And yet, it reveals one of our human tendencies. Either we see ourselves as small within the world, or the world as small within ourselves, for the benefit of our control. I know which of these two outlooks I would prefer as a starting point.

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