Dear Friends – How are we hardwired?

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By Charlie Brown

“How are we hardwired?”

This line really got to me. It’s from the movie Bandslam, a well thought out teenage drama about Will Burton, a constantly depressed and emotionally/socially repressed teenage boy with a jewfro and an Indie rock/Ska obsession. One interesting thing about him is that he chronicles his days of perpetual misery into journal like emails that he sends to David Bowie everyday with no reply, tentatively describing school in his inaugural email of the movie as being like Novocain for the soul. Without revealing too many details of the story, midway through he suffers an emo inducing tragedy that shatters the fragile self-confidence he built over the course of the film, while still wallowing in his depression he asks the above question and I instantly began writing this piece. In fact I haven’t even watched the end of the movie yet because the same question keeps filtering into my thoughts like a broken record. It’s a simple question that deserves, almost begs for a complex answer. I’ve spent a fair bit of time asking myself this question, honestly all the answers that I managed to dig up seemed rushed, almost half-arsed in their simplicity and they truly don’t deserve to be mentioned at all in this blog. The solution wouldn’t have been satisfying if you managed to find it in one night, maybe not even 2 nights. It’s the type of type of answer that needs other people’s accounts, perspective or even contemplating the universe and the ultimate question of life itself. Maybe the answer is multifaceted with no absolute solution at its core but is rather based off of the individuals own experiences. While I can’t call myself the expert on the subject I would like to throw in my proverbial two cents as it were.

Full metal jacket comes to mind, the cover art of a helmet with “born to kill” in bold white letters on one side while a peace symbol hangs adjacent on the other. It serves as a visual representation of my “answer”; it doesn’t deserve to be called that but serves the purpose of describing my opinion and views in the subject matter. To sum up my findings in one word is effortless. Duality.

To me, humans as a whole seem to fall into the clichés if good and evil a lot. We can love unconditionally or hate without reason, we are capable of amazing compassion and inhuman cruelty. We hold the potential for awe-inspiring good and nightmare inducing evil. For me at least, it’s our duality that sets us apart from other beings in the known universe, only humans have periods in our lives that are both filled with happiness and heart wrenching sadness, we do eventually grow out of it or we stay depressed and make music that appeals to the paper-thin constitutions of the younger teens.

We seem hardwired for chance and change; we can choose who we are and change to be that person or we change and choose to remain that person. We are swayed by our parents, our circumstances, our environment and our experiences. They all help shape us into the person we will become. As Winston Churchill once said, “I have always been fifteen minutes ahead of my time and it has made a man of me.”

We make music and art and sculpt great masterpieces inspired by god or the stars or our own avarice, mausoleums of our own two-headed nature. We can also kill and rape and destroy lives and people and things, avoiding judgement by hiding in the vast ignorance of the world and those who seek to expose this ignorance are deemed trouble makers and terrorists. Killing is not the answer but for some it is as close as we can get. This is our greatest gift and curse, duality of soul and mind and body all wedged together in a convulsing mass of flesh and spirit. I believe we are hardwired for transformation into who we are meant to be.

At the very least it is something to ponder, leave a comment below on how you think we are hardwired.