A key element in Buddhism is craving. Such pursuit can be directed at sensual satisfaction, power and wealth but also at avoiding unpleasantness. And it is said that such craving is the source of suffering, as it can't be fulfilled for good in a changing world, one in which quarreling among competing individuals is to be found at every stage of the search for fulfillment. Humans' biggest craving seems to be knowing, though. Just like that, very general and blunt: knowing. Or, more accurately, the inability to be in complete peace while interrogations signs swirl around.
Indeed, we all feel that crave. And the thirst for meaning is never quenched. Richard Dawkins, though, thinks that you are an idiot. His ilk is convinced that the mystery of human existence is no more. That the major questions about our being here have been resolved and, henceforth, nothing but science is to be even considered. And while scientific discoveries have indeed answered a plethora of questions which were impossible to solve 100, 500 and 1,000 years ago, the question remains: why is it that everybody continues to feel unfulfilled?
And for what? What is the purpose of declaring the end of history? For the most brilliant minds of our generation to dedicate body and soul to be "growth hackers" or "social media ninjas"? Everyday I dread opening Twitter. And I dread it because I will see a parade of quacks who cannot talk about anything else but SEO, social media hacks, and the dark arts of getting people to click on and buy stuff. Back in the day, the brightest minds were into philosophy. Then came science. Now? Now you have these lost, sad kids wanting to make a startup and swim in money. I hate to see wasted lives, and all because everybody bought into the idiocy that everything is known and that with the cult of science nothing else is needed.
Listen, I am not into the hunter-gatherer nostalgia. I understand that, at macro level, you can track the history of humanity and realize that the romanticism of a bucolic existence cemented in the family and the community is dead. Dead. D. E. A. D. It is over. The state and the market have killed the romanticism and, for winning a total battle, people have been spoonfed the idea that they are individuals. And there you have it, an army of individuals who are free... to consume; a bunch of zombies who are profoundly, painstakingly alone.
Back in the day, when a person's life would take place in a radius of 100 kilometers and be subjected to the asphyxiating but secure environment of a family and a community, there was a craving for space, individualism, and discovery... but, most of all, a craving for knowing, seeing what was out there beyond the fairy tales told by the village elders and the priests. Today, without safety net, the craving is different. It is a search for meaning where there is no meaning and by indirect ways, through the path of consuming things and experiences and a look which would define each one as a person. Humanity still craves. It just craves different things. Henceforth, the pain of existence continues though, this time, there is nobody around to comfort and relate to.
I guess there is a slight nostalgia for the mysteries which surrounded humanity for thousands of years. The craving is still there though, this time, the cult in turn says there is nothing else to know. The magic is dead. And romanticism, my friend, is over. Welcome to the machine.