Rational thinking about “what a human is” and how a combination of The Joker + Adrian Veidt is the logical next step in evolution
I saw this image on my Facebook timeline the other day, a quote from Lawrence Krauss.
So what does it mean to be “all stardust”? I can say humans are a breathing body made of different elements that were randomly combined and evolved into what we could consider a human form, but what does this mean? It means four simple things:
- Forget about the concept of “soul,” because assuming humans have souls would mean stars, planets, meteorites and whatnot have souls too.
- Human life is insignificant and lacks any value, something sustained by Krauss and his followers, meaning it doesn’t make any difference if we live or die.
- Humans are only here to exist, and have no real and “ultimate” purpose, just like the sun has no purpose other than warming up planets, and we could argue “warm planets are useful to sustain life” but that would assume life is actually useful.
- The existence of the universe lacks absolute point, because the universe itself doesn’t serve to “any ultimate purpose” at all.
That’s it, but what does it mean? I think a small introduction is in order.
This blog is dedicated to 3d animation and game development, but sometimes I will come up with an interesting (or stupid) topic, and this is one of those times. Before I continue let me say I am a catholic, so I have a series of basic principles and beliefs in my head. I was not “born with the catholic gen” but rather became one. This can mean different things to different people, including the fact that I have a better understanding of God and religion than atheists, and while you’re free to disagree, I’ll allow myself to put it in terms you can understand: Watching movies does not make you a filmmaker, making films does. Playing games doesn’t make you a game developer, making games does.
Having said this, I am more than ready to test the logic behind the “we’re just stardust” idea and what saying that ACTUALLY implies. This is going to be fun…
So after this rather brief introduction, let’s go back to the 4 points I stated above:
1. Humans have no soul.
To put it rather simply, this means that “when you die, you’re done.” This means humans are an empty vessel, so they don’t need dreams, feelings and emotions. Ironically humans do have those. Humans feel anxiety, love, hate, anger, things we don’t really need. Let’s take love for example. Why do we need love? I’m not asking what love is and I’m not asking the chemical explanation of love, but rather “why do humans need love?” The overused answer is “well, evolution, baby!” I am not even going to argue how stupid the answer is, I’ll just say love doesn’t make you more intelligent or skilled, just like love doesn’t make a star bright shinier or the sun warmer.
Now one could argue stars don’t have feelings, but it is only logical to think that, if in a few centuries human have evolved so much and developed consciousness, stars would have evolved and acquired a consciousness too, considering they are way older than us (before you call me crazy, keep in mind there’s no proof to believe otherwise as nobody can get close enough to a star to actually study it from the inside and get “samples,” right?).
2. Human life is insignificant and lacks any value.
Now this one is really interesting and some people are so joyful to say “you’re more insignificant than you think in this entire universe” but what does that mean? As stated above, it means it doesn’t matter if you live or die, so far so good, because the process of “dying” actually means your matter turns into something else.
The first thing I can ask is why then we need morality. Morality is basically a set of rules that define human interaction, and to think morality is “an universal law” makes no sense at all. You don’t see an asteroid going like “man, I can’t crash that planet, I would exterminate all life on it and that’s just not right” just like you don’t see a lion thinking “geez, I won’t kill that deer because it’s not right, he has as much right to live as me.” Morality applies only to humans, and such rules exist just because humans created them. Humans created morality because their feelings of “right and wrong” (see point 1) forced them to create such rules.
Without morality there’s no sense of right or wrong (and don’t give me “well, there’s the ‘goodness cell’” crap because that would only mean all people who have that cell will unquestionably be good just like anyone with a pair of lungs will unquestionably breathe). These are rules created by men to protect human life. However this thinking is flawed because only that with real value is worth of being protected. Human life has no value, thus there’s no point in protecting it.
Humans declare murder, rape, and any kind of harm towards a human (lethal or not) a horrible thing, but based on the human concept proposed above there’s no reason to think that, because human life has no “real” value and there’s nothing special in killing someone compared to, say, cutting down a tree. Curing diseases is also pointless for the same reason, don’t make me explain it all again.
I’m thinking maybe something on the back of your head is saying “that is sooooo wrong” because “harming people is bad” so maybe you’re realizing humans are more than “just” stardust and that we’re not as insignificant as some want us to think.
3. Humans are only here to exist.
Having “goals” doesn’t really make sense if you’re a cosmic accident. This goes from the basic “make money” or “get a career” goal to the less tangible goals like “finding a way to communicate or express my feelings” (feelings? see point 1).
In such case why would humans feel the need to be useful or to “do something” for society, like curing diseases (see point 2) or invent things to improve on something that’s not worth improving (again, point 2). If there’s no “ultimate plan” then there’s no point on actually doing anything. As they say, “do it for the lulz” or “do it because you can” but there’s no real value on what humans do, because humans themselves lack any value (yeah, you guessed, point 2).
However, everyone asks the “why are we here?” question every now and then, so some people will sit and think it over and over, while others will try to study the universe and figure it out. I don’t know if a snail will just sit there and ask itself “I wonder why am I here, and what’s my purpose?” but humans do… wait, evolution, right? It’s amazing how evolution makes us wonder such pointless things with no real value (if we have no value, our questions lack value as well).
4. The existence of the universe lacks absolute point
The pointless nature of the universe makes me realize how pointless explaining this 4th point really is…
But what does this have to do with The Joker and Ozymandias and why a combination of the two is the logical next step in evolution (from a purely rational point of view, I may add).
Adrian Veidt, AKA Ozymandias, was pretty much the smartest man on the planet. He’s a master strategist and can accurately foresee the consequences of his actions. He’s also super strong and super fast, although he’s a human being and not a supernatural entity of any kind (unlike, say, Superman). Also, Adrian realizes that some people dying is just “part of the plan” so he has no doubts in executing a plan even if people will die.
Adrian’s fundamental flaw based on the stardust thinking, is that all his plans are meant to improve humanity in one way or another (improve social conditions, bring about world peace), because such plans assume humans in general have some value.
The Joker is someone who will end someone at will without thinking (except Batman, heh). Meaning that, in his head, human life has no real value, so he has no problem o harming others. He also understands his own life has no value, so he doesn’t usually care if he dies or not, and doesn’t really set himself high goals (he’s not interested in world domination, for example).
The Joker’s fundamental flaw is that he will willingly kill people because he finds it fun, so his lack of respect for life will make him kill anyone.
A combination of the two is a person that is able to kill anyone but not in favor of a “greater good” but in favor of his own interests. However he undestands his life is meaningless and so his interests will not be big enough to exterminate all human race.
This person may sound horrible to you, but that’s because, like it or not, somewhere inside your head you know humans are not “just” stardust but something more, even if that “something” is not palpable and cannot be measured.
Such person would be capable of doing anything. However, such person would not be “human” according to my definition, because as I said before I believe humans are “something more” than just stardust, and thus our ultimate goal is being better people and help each other to improve our meaningful lives.
On the other hand, thanks to Krauss and his stardust idea, I found a way to make an interesting character for a future game or story.