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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Can We Evolve?

I got hooked on watching some documentaries tonight on Netflix and came across one dealing with racism in the early 60s and the 1962 Ole Miss football team. Now, I have no love for Ole Miss (back when I was in Mississippi I was Mississippi State all the way) but this documentary was a good one. It did really dive deep into the time there but it didn't surprise me in the least with the things that went on.

I grew up in the South. I've heard all the stories, read all the stories, watched all the stories, talked to people who were there ... the South is and always will be tied to that era and the sins committed in it. But the writer of the documentary said that Ole Miss had "evolved"since then and cited statistics, cited things that had transpired in the time since ... he cited all these things yet I found myself sitting there, skeptical.

I was in Mississippi for a few years in the late 90s, and most of 2000. It wasn't so different then as it was being portrayed in the documentary. Things looked better but that was a function of Mississippi getting better at hiding things.

Which brought to mind a question ... can we evolve?

I don't mean in the sense like higher levels of beings. I don't expect us to get omnipotent powers or gain the ability to fly. I mean, can we grow, as an individual/people, to a point where we qualify as "evolved"?

When I think of evolution I can think only of Pokemon. Pokemon (most of them) evolve. Pikachu evolves in Raichu (though few actually do so because Raichu isn't that cute looking and we're all nostalgic for Pikachu thanks to the animated series). Growlithe evolves in Arcanine (Charizard is still better, IMO).

You get the point. The Pokemon undergo a physical and statistical change that allows them to grow into something more. Evolution allows them to get stronger, to get faster, to learn better moves, and allows you as the trainer to develop a better team.

But can we evolve? Evolution is generally seen as a change that ... well, we can see. I think, for the purposes of this question, we should focus on evolution as it pertains to mindset ... as it pertains to internal composition.

So, speaking on that, I still question whether we can evolve. People change but slowly ... very slowly in some case. I grew up in the South and a lot of the stuff that happened in the 60s still happens today. It's quieter but it's there.

Are people capable of evolving to a point that certain mindsets and ideas are rendered primitive? Will we get to the point where we've grown enough to replace Thundershock with Thunderbolt (to continue the Pokemon thing)?

I don't know. I'm torn on this subject because it seems that I'm a good argument for evolution and against it. Speaking about just myself here, I know that physically I am more "evolved" than I was this time last year. Two years ago I was a completely different looking person.

Mentally and emotionally ... I don't know if I'm "evolved." A lot of the same things that haunted me in the past haunt me today. My ideas are certainly different but by no means are they so different that they can't be related back to previous ideas. I build upon old thoughts and old feelings. I have a tough time forgetting those things.

So, can we evolve? Can I evolve? Are we, as a people in the South, doomed to live out our past sins? It seems that rather than move on or move forward, we relish the past. With every passing year the South seems to idealize the past.

Am I doomed to that fate as well? It seems with every passing year the past looks better and the future more bleak. The future is an unknown quality ... stick with what works. I like sticking with what works, but what works in some respects doesn't in others.

I don't know if we're capable of evolution as it pertains to mindset. At least, not so drastic a one that it will get noticed. Maybe for humans it comes in small clips and it's something that happens over the course of a lifetime, of generations.

We can't all have flashy evolutions. It doesn't happen when we reach a certain level or obtain a certain happiness.

But I question if it does happen and if we have that capability to make it happen for ourselves.

Something to ponder, I guess. Thanks for reading folks. Good night. 

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