Why must we be human, with all the flaws and failings? Having to live and die, facing the mountains of pain and torment of our years often times alone. How many can say that their lives have more good times than bad? What calculus must be performed to truly balance the scales compared to the indignities, the horrors, and the maledictions placed upon us before those tiny moments of joy measure equal?
Better to be a rock, timeless, ageless, shaped only by the wind and rain. A rock feels no pain, no terror, no shame. A rock is content. It’s not driven by an urge to procreate or a need to find food or shelter. It simply is. It exists, and needs no one and nothing to prove that existence to itself or to the world. Yes, much better to be a rock, hardened and solid, than this fleshy chaos.
But a rock cannot feel the wind upon it, and certainly cannot stop it from blowing. It can’t feel the cold touch of rain or the slow expansion of ice as it cleaves it ever so slowly in twain. A rock has to control over itself or over its environment, and is at the mercy of the world. It is naked, alone, and forever without the means to express itself against its oppressors, wind and rain.
Perhaps a tree would be better? Not so immortal as the stone, but still a constant for much longer than a human lifetime. A tree with gnarled bark and strong limbs reaching to the sun, yes, and still a slave to wind and rain but able to feel and grow. Still mute to the world, and yet the tree slows the wind and soaks in the rain. The tree uses the wind to sow its seed and the rain to help it grow. It scrubs the carbon from the air and returns oxygen, its quiet protest against the very nature of the atmosphere itself.
Ah, but a tree will never see another forest save its own. It will never know what the sunset over the ocean looks like, never lay eyes upon the great glaciers of the frozen north. It will see only the world around it, and nothing more, and in so doing will be limited in its scope. It knows only what it can see, only what it can feel, never realizing the larger world beyond it.
Then a bird, yes, a bird, that is what we should be. A bird that rides the winds and weathers the rains, a bird that can see the snowy tundra and the placid seas. A bird that soars and dips and dives without a care in the world. Did not the dinosaurs choose this path? Did they not become the feathered freewheelers in the skies over our heads? What more does man envy than the bird, so much so we invented metal wings of our own?
Yet birds have their follies. They have to eat, and must avoid the weather. They mate, yes, and have to sing to find their partners. How many end up alone? They perhaps have their own sort of sadness, and while it may be more balanced than our own, it is still there. And their lifespans, so much shorter than ours, as if they were given the freedom to fly at the cost of their longevity.
And so we are stuck, trapped in the only form that fits for us. We are human, after all, because we must be. We have no choice, no means of changing this one destiny. You cannot choose to be a rock or a tree or a bird. You can only choose to life your life in a way that balances the scales a little better in your favor. That is the truest lesson of life, that it is only as fair as you allow it to be.