“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.”
~ Terence McKenna
Structure is what we dream of. We create governments, write laws, invent organized religions, arrange ourselves into neat little family units… and go about our lives assuming that everything is in order, just as we wish it to be. We are Homo Sapiens and we feel that our large brains and opposable thumbs set us apart from the rest of the animals. And on many levels, they do. We love to pretend that our lives are structured and perfect, that we have reached the apex of civilization, that this is a good thing and that we will never revert back to the instincts that got us here. That we have abandoned these instincts, discarded them to the wayside like so much genetic garbage, no longer needed or wanted. But we must be careful. There exists in each and every one of us a propensity for chaos – and a primal desire to return to the plains and forests and lives of our early ancestors. And this is not necessarily wrong. Some paleontologists have argued, quite effectively, that our hunter-gatherer forebears were in many regard, happier and more fulfilled than the members of our structured, modern society.
We say that we want order in our lives. That we wish for calm and peace and structure. And to some extent we do. But deep down in the recesses of our brains, we know that this is false. There is a section of our conscious, tangled in the mysteries of our DNA that remembers the days past when we lived in the wild-west of human evolution. When we were at home among the beasts… when we were not at the top of the food chain. There is part of us that we hide and ignore and pretend no longer exists, but it is always there. Hunt, fight, fuck, kill, die, survive… We come from chaos… and though we may fool ourselves with gods and governments and laws and courts and our busy, structured, insignificant little lives, somewhere there remains that spark, that fragment, that section of us, that, on some primordial level, longs to return home.
This doesn’t mean that we should give in to the chaos, but neither should we ignore it. It is who we are. It should be recognized that on some level we are still wild animals. Extremely intelligent wild animals, as far as animals go, but wild nonetheless. We must harness our raw emotions, transform them into something productive and do our best to live up to the brain size granted us by millions of years of evolution. In the end, non of us survive. Neither does the earth or the sun or our solar system or galaxy. But that is out of our control. All that we can do is accept it and try to make the most of our short lives.
You need not look to the holy books to discover morals and you need not look to government to ensure that you follow them. It is written into our genetic code – if we treat our tribe with respect and kindness, our tribe is better off and everyone’s chances of survival are increased. Because, after all, the overall meaning of life is to survive, at least for a while. And though our tribes may have grown to unmanageable numbers it is not impossible to still adopt the tribal mindset of prehistoric man – protect, love, survive – albeit on a grander scale.
We must all count on each other. In the end, we are all we have.
Structure – This essay is not an indictment of structure. The universe is governed by a set of natural, scientific, structured laws. But, prior to these laws becoming established, our known universe exploded in a chaotic, frantic, violent birth. As it has often been said, from chaos comes order. We are not separate from chaos just as we are not separate from the known universe. We are a part of it and it is a part of us.