I was reading a sci-fi novel and got an earworm-like thought. Are humans wired for destruction? Is the drive to break things written somewhere in our genome?
Maybe it is just the folks I hang out with, but we like blowing things up. Fire is fun. Turning the voltage up to well beyond the specified range is a completely amusing way to spend the time between 4pm and beer on a Friday afternoon. Taking apart things is neat, you get to see how it works. And odd torx-like screws are just double-dog dare.
For the most part (and for most of my life), I’ve been fairly gentle about it. I don’t destroy things that I don’t own. But that isn’t true for everyone and as much as I disagree with the ethics of wanton destruction, I kind of understand it.
I understand that, too. And given how popular that character is, despite the crummy movies, well, I’m not the only one.
Why is that? Are we wired for violence? Or destruction? Or both? And if we are, how can we possibly have built this civilization?
I was at a job I didn’t like when the office manager came around and asked the engineers if they couldn’t please break down the boxes in shipping and receiving. (It was a small company and the office manager was in a sling at the time, it was an unusual request but not unreasonable.)
Even though I was fairly busy, I went to make the boxes less boxy. It was an odd company, one where I felt very left out of the culture. I wanted to like the people but I didn’t feel like I belonged at all. It wasn’t a very good job for me (though the technology was amusing). It was like a shirt that is too tight in some parts, too loose in others, and seamed with itchy tags.
Anyway, one of the few moment of synchronicity there was as I returned from my deboxing, happier and somewhat refreshed. Another engineer (J) asked about my clearly more relaxed state. I explained that breaking down the boxes is a form of constructive destruction and very meditative for me.
As another person came (A) into the office, he heard and popped into my cubical, saying he loved constructive destruction and asking if there were any more boxes. J looked confused. But for the first time, I felt like A and I could be friends.
The ocean is a primal force, shaping the land, uncaring of the destruction it causes. It is what it is. I love the raw, wild feeling as I watch waves crashing on the shore. I know the destructive potential and I like it. Lakes don’t do it for me, bays subdue it too much. I need the awesome power even as it makes me more aware of my own mortality. Or as it tumbles me and shoots seawater though my sinus cavities.