Seven billion eager souls later, you'd think we'd have it sort of figured out.
Seven billion mewling, wailing, weirdly miraculous babies in to this bizarre human experiment, you'd think someone would finally understand something of the true nature of things, how to make it all hold together, to sustain it long-term with joy and gratitude and humility, as opposed to the far more dominant energies of war and struggle, force and greed and please shut the hell up before I stab you in the eye with this fork.
"I don't quite know how it happened. One day I was sipping some Maker's and blowing some hot love into this sweet Ocarina app Moloch gifted me, and the next, boom, seven billion ravenous little fleshbombs running around like they own the place. I gotta back off the mushrooms." -God
Is it a good time to look? To take momentary stock? Because the U.N. just announced that the seven billionth human was just born, symbolically anyway, maybe somewhere in the Philippines, or China, or London, or at the creepy Duggar compound in Arkansas, and maybe it was a tiny, bewildered female who is right now looking around and blinking gently and saying, "No no no, don't look to me for any sort of answer. I have no idea, either. Who am I, God?"
Why, of course you are, you numinous hunk of meta-consciousness. Don't you know? After all, the yogis, wise ones and poets since the dawn of time have all said the same thing: we are not human beings seeking a spiritual experience, but rather spirits seeking a human experience.
Have you heard that one before? Isn't it lovely? Doesn't it make your cynical side snicker and cringe? Good.
It's simply another way of saying, maybe every one of those seven billion is not merely some dumb, savage mammal seeking to connect with something larger than itself via desperate prayer, working too hard and giving piles of money to giant, oppressive institutions, but rather each of us is already another manifestation, a unique expression of grand consciousness itself, appearing in a very particular form -- that's you -- so it may "know itself" in just that way.
See? Already God. Times seven billion.
Do you follow that? Do you care? Or do you instead hear "world population hits seven billion" and recoil like a good misanthrope, a jaded cynic, seeing only strained resources, water scarcity, food shortages and lots and lots of pain and suffering, all lashed to a groaning, severely damaged planet that was never really meant to hold seven billion of anything except maybe fire ants and plankton and wildflowers? I know what you mean.
After all, the evidence of our downfall, of our staggering waste, is ample and overwhelming. Every day a new atrocity, a new extinction, a new horrifying indicator that we are using up far too much and doing far too little to care for our home organism, and hence our violent, disastrous end is racing up far more quickly than we can possibly comprehend. What's more, we probably deserve it.
But wait, I think I saw a magic keyword in there, somewhere. Did you catch it? The headline read that the world is celebrating the birth of the seven billionth symbolic kid. Celebrating? Really? How is this possible? What sort of pathetic gall is that? Celebrating what, exactly?
Fine. Let's flip it around. Maybe we really do deserve some accolades. Maybe we really are something to behold. Just ask anyone back when the world population hit two billion, or three, or even five. Hell, ask back when we hit 100 million if we'd ever survive to seven billion, and the various "experts" of the world would have looked at you as if you were completely insane.
Of course we'll never make it to such a ludicrous number. Of course the planet will shake us off like an exhausted dog shaking off obnoxious fleas. Humanity is a disease. The center cannot possibly hold, the warring factions will surely wipe each other out, the infrastructure will collapse any minute now. Just you wait.
And here we are. Still waiting.
Wary props, then, to our staggering tenacity...
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate. He recently wondered who in your life you find perfectly toxic, cheered that the gay agenda will see you now, and is fairly certain Jesus took magic mushrooms. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...