Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Kill Bill.

I had always thought of man as a polluting animal, first and foremost, who leaves a lot of mess, physical and/or emotional, in his wake. Then I chanced upon Philipe Gigant├Ęs’s Power and Greed: A Short History of the World (Robinson, London, 2002). That really made the scales drop from my eyes, big time. PG introduced me to the villain of the human continuum: the Grand Acquisitor. (He writes in a footnote that there is no such word as ‘acquisitor’. I found it on the Internet, though. It looks like it has been lurking unobtrusively on page 16 of Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary [1913 + 1828].) The moral of PG’s thesis is man has been an acquisitive brute all along. His mate has been his worthy partner-in-crime. The pantheon of the Grand Acquisitors includes all the historical figures who have been hailed by orthodox historians as heroes and saviours. To me, this suggests that man’s past as a hunter continues to haunt his present and his future. We cannot help being marauders and practising one-upmanship whatever we are doing. Like Gordon Gekko, we too begin following the “Greed is good” mantra. Has the time come to pay for our historical blunders? Your guess is as good as mine, I guess. Aldous Huxley summed it up rather lucidly in Ape and Essence:

Church and State.
Greed and hate.
Two baboon persons
In one supreme gorilla.

In short, kill, torture, maim, character-assassinate, lie, twist facts, go on a bull raid in the stock market … you name it. Anything to be hailed as the Top Dog, Chief Honcho, Numero Uno, Big Boss.