I met Trevor a couple of years ago to talk about a project he initiated - a feature film about Sir John Monash a history he knows an enormous amount about. In the course of developing this exciting feature film I got to know a bright, passionate and very polite and thoughtful man. I am pleased to have got to know him and happy to see his writing here. - Bob
Back in 1991 the “Iceman” was discovered in the snow high in the Alps on the Italian/Austrian border. His well preserved body was more than five thousand years old. Who was he? How did he live? What did he eat? What could he tell us? What could we learn from him? The world was quite excited, as was I.
It was crushingly disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising to learn two years later that he had been killed with an arrow in the back. How I had hoped he had died from natural causes, or fighting off a predator, or from experimenting with a food source; but alas, he was murdered. The oldest naturally preserved body in Europe was a victim of foul play at the hand of another human being.
It is generally accepted we ‘evolved’ from ancient ancestors to our modern form around 200,000 years ago and there is evidence of a skull from China believed to have been crushed by another human, that is almost that old. It seems we have been bashing each other to death for as long as we have been standing on two feet.
For me it begs the question ‘why’? Given the amazing brain we have developed we had the potential to be the greatest of creatures – a magnificence – a guiding and protective light for other creatures on the planet and perhaps beyond.
How and why has humanity failed to get even close to its potential is the question I am asking and readily confess I don’t have the answer? It is a question that has been asked before of course, but I haven’t seen an answer that has any real currency. I am not talking about individual magnificence, because many humans do rise above these limitations and there are plenty of self-help gurus urging us to discover our untapped potential, but they are dealing with individuals. Why, as a species have we failed?
We have the capacity to truly love and feel compassion for other creatures with which we coexist, and yet we raise them to slaughter them cruelly for our own ends. We can understand the complex argument that a butterfly fluttering its wings in the Amazon, can affect world-wide weather and yet we daily destroy this delicate balance in almost every way we can. While some of us are bombing others to death on a daily basis, others among us choose to put their own lives at risk among those same bombs, bodies and debris, trying to patch up the broken and the wounded.
We have had a long time with a very sophisticated brain to have worked out that we are not living to anything like our potential, so what is missing?
Is it as simple as blaming ‘God’ whatever or whoever that might be? Billions of humans believe in some form of God and the reasons given for God’s failure to intervene is that we were given ‘Free Will’ – meaning we need to sort it our for ourselves.
Is it as simple as blaming greed and self-interest? At any given minute in any culture anywhere, there are millions of people exploiting others. The trough is full enough for all snouts to feed well, but the few push the many away.
Does the lowest common denominator determine overall outcome? There is no doubt we humans have varying degrees of intelligence and the most intelligent are in the minority so does this mean the less intelligent majority overpower the more intelligent minority? Sounds reasonable but the counter argument would be that the more intelligent should be able to outwit the less intelligent.
Is it as simple as us not being fully ‘connected’ yet? We are all aware of telepathy and almost everyone on the planet has experienced it at some point. We are all aware of the ‘Hundredth Monkey Syndrome’; and I hasten to add many scientists debunk it. But if it is real, are we simply not all on the same wave-length yet and that given time we may become as one mind. Even if that were to occur, there is no guarantee it would be a benign mind and given the dark ages we currently seem to be revisiting, the benign version looks unlikely.
A common put down for bad behaviour is to say he or she or they ‘behaved like animals’ referring of course to non-human animals. The pity is that the world might be a better place if we did behave more like ‘animals’ than humans.
Trevor Colvin studied communications at RMIT while working in the advertising industry and later 'The Age' where he developed into number of senior roles including a five-year stint in Asia publishing magazines and the first national English-language daily newspaper in China. Colvin left the corporate life and over time began three separate and diverse businesses. In the past three years he has taken on a new role as movie producer and is enjoying the challenge and the steep learning curve.