Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Unicorns exist: Utopia doesn't

Bell Tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless
grossness and the slog,
Enclosed and safe
within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.

– Walt Whitman


We live and we die. That's it.

Hidden among tens of thousands of student numbers for the past four years at Western, that's what my education has given me – an undeniable realization that I know absolutely nothing and an even clearer realization that nobody else does.

I am a compilation of cells, cords and, as my history of medicine professor Paul Potter (one of the few professors I actually enjoyed over my time here) told me, humours.

It's refreshing coming to the realization that no matter how large and significant you think you are in the grand scheme of things, you really are only one solitary organism in an infinite line of ancestors. It's an evolutionary process and you're just a cog.

On the other hand, it's truly frightening at the same time to discover your insignificance. If this is what I am, where do I fit?

I am not a religious man, obviously apparent from my writing this year (which clearly borders on the side of debauchery), but I have never understood the zealous drive throughout history for every possible religious sect to find absolute certainty in their faith.

Various religions advocate without a doubt that their faith is the pure one. Throughout history, many wars have been fought with the purpose of religious dominion.

A war is currently being fought in modern society between eastern and western values, whatever "eastern" and "western" values mean in the present lexicon. According to opposing views, the West is too free, the East too rigid.

But how do they know? How can they possibly know? The globe we inhabit has been around much longer than we have, enduring and surviving. History obviously has a place in knowledge, but to confirm "the absolute truth" is an impossibility.

Working within a media forum on a university campus for the past three years, I have been struck by how much people actually think they know and how important they believe themselves to be. Higher education seems to endow a human being with a license to "rule."

They're right. Everyone else is wrong.

As a result of this divine "intelligence," George Bush declares war on Iraq; Saddam Hussein murders his own people and dictates with an iron fist; homosexuals receive constant physical threats and are vilified as sinful ingrates the world over; and husbands beat their wives.

Blah, blah, blah. The revolving cycle of human ignorance continues unabated.

Alexandre Dumas wrote, "How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it." In a Peter Pan world, we've allowed Captain Hook free reign.

Maybe if we stepped down from our throne and realized we're truly blind in the world, we would be able to co-exist in harmony without disagreement. To each his own.

Unfortunately, utopia is a distant dream. It's a mirage in the middle of the desert – we can see it; we can believe it; but we can never reach it.

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2002 THE GAZETTE