The Human Mind Retreats Back into the Caves

ILA 8 Period 4-5

Essay Due:

March 31, 2004

For 300,000 years humans are said to have survived on this planet. And for 300,000 years we have kept our primal ways. As society expands it seems the further we as a human race are from developing into a mature and new generation. We seem to be, regressing back into our cave-dwelling state of mind instead of embracing the neo-technological world and referring to a non-existent thought process paralleling that of our creations. Human nature, it now seems, will never escape our inevitably primitive minds, and if anything, will only grow more apparent as the computer chip becomes smaller, and this virtual insanity becomes a madness that even a cave cannot salvage from its ruin.

A novella was written that themed human nature at its most recognizable point. Ernest Hemingway, his printed words now only survive of him, wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” as his last and his greatest story. “The Old Man and the Sea” is not your average, run-of-the-mill story about an old man and his fish. Ernest Hemingway centralizes his story around a wrinkled old fisherman named Santiago in which he themes the book. Human nature is portrayed as an almost perfect example through the Old Man, and is quite distinct in the character. Through faith and hopefulness, stubbornness and lust, and his undying lack of foresight, Santiago portrays basic primal instincts and the inexorable thoughts made by human beings.

Humans have always created in their minds something to save themselves from their own destruction when all looks bleak. Man made God. People are too stubborn to admit that they can do nothing, so they look to some outside force where there is no proof to say who is there helping or not helping. Humans want to believe that there is someone besides us, something or someone there to listen when all hope has been lost, and they want to believe that they are not alone on some things. This is human nature. The mind of a man is powerful, and can create whatever destiny is focused toward; so making up a God will help focus a destiny. Though not everyone believes in this fate, Santiago had some belief, and began praying to his deity when needed help. “…I will say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Mary’s that I should catch this fish…” (Hemingway 65) When he needed endurance, “God help me endure.”(Hemingway 89). Santiago believed if he should call upon his God to let the fish jump, it should jump. “‘God let him jump,’ the old man said…” (Hemingway 71) After his hope and faith, the fish jumped to unveil a beautiful and noble creature. Santiago catches the fish, and is bringing it back to shore, and realizes, after the first shark attacks the meat that he must hope that no more sharks will come. He wants to believe that there will be something there to stop the sharks from tearing at the his pride. “It is silly not to hope…” (Hemingway 104). As Santiago has faith in his fishing excursion and its success, we humans have used this for other personal benefits since the dawn of the people.

Stubbornness. It is the most recognizable characteristic of people and of human nature. People have never wanted to admit their defeat, nor their wrongness, and will never as situations become more complicated and interwoven throughout this materialistic world. Hemingway included very avidly the stubbornness of Santiago. Santiago assured himself that he was not to let this fish go, no matter the circumstance, as many are with their dignity and pride. “But if he stays down forever. Then I will stay down with him forever.” (Hemingway 66) Fighting to be the superior and maintaining that stance has always been one of the top priorities of men. Most will stop themselves from slipping back into the inferior by stopping at nothing, no matter what consequence comes his/her way, whether it be physical or mental harm, they will stop at nothing. This has to be one of the most beautiful and most ugly aspects of human nature. It is so bold, yet at the same time, can be very