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Humans Are Weird

January 16, 2010

I mean, they just are. We go through our entire lives, pretty much just trying to find somebody to love and friends to surround ourselves with: people we can attempt to halfway figure out. We are closest to people that we either understand or try to every single day. We want to find people in this world who will comprehend our actions and understand who we are, and only then can we do whatever we want.

Because let’s face it, we live in a minefield of social consequences. Every action of every thing we do every day is carefully measured against internal wishes and social norms. Society is evolutionary. If we don’t agree with society, if we steal and lie  and are aggressive or rude or psychopathic, we are not being adaptive. Those are not human characteristics, evolutionarily speaking. We developed this society over this course of our evolution for precisely one reason: survival and protection. And I think that it is still important today.

Here’s an example. When I was very young, I remember getting very angry while driving in the car with my father. I couldn’t understand the need or importance of money. I asked him why we bother with it, since all it seems to do is make people unhappy, or unbalance the playing field, or misguide people, or kill them. (Not in those exact words of course, I was but nine or ten). And I always remember the point he made about humans: we are creatures of fairness, of measurement. We are driven by equality, even if some people are in less equal situations than others. He said that if nobody had money, a lot of the world wouldn’t go to work, especially those at jobs they hated. As unfortunate as it is, we need different types of people to do the jobs at the lower-paying end versus the higher-paying jobs. And if you think about it, it’s really true. Say we had no money in the world. Everything is free. People wouldn’t be equitable, especially those who felt that they hadn’t previously been in a very fair line of work, or hadn’t been very well off. People would take, and not give anything in return. I suppose that is the very value of money. To some extent, it forces people to be fair, it controls most people. As shitty as it might be, it forces people to not take without reciprocating an action of equal value (work for pay for objects of desire). And as much as money may restrict people in certain areas, I believe it is one of many factors that make up and underline the importance of society.

Without society, without rules, without money, without power. We may think that initially this sounds like a super-fun place. Nobody telling us what to do! Everything is free! But think a little deeper. How long until the factory workers quit making the Coach wallets and designer clothes and Mac makeup that you want? How long until the garbage collectors don’t collect? How long until our internet servers crash because nobody feels like maintaining them out of the goodness of their hearts? How long until the teachers stop going to work? NOT VERY LONG.

This is my case for society. Be it as it may, although we fight against it and hate how it controls us and our actions, society is necessary. I believe that we require the rules that govern our world. Without them we would live in anarchy, in fear, in destruction. The most we can do is attempt to be ourselves inside of this. As much as society is important, we must not let it hinder us in being who we are. We must find people who love us no matter what we do, say or act, unconditionally. We must try to make a place for ourselves in this world where we are not afraid to do what we feel is right.

Society is necessary, but so is each person in it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Haitian permalink
    January 17, 2010 5:27 AM

    You have the same stance as Thomas Hobbes (17th century philosopher) wrote in his book, Leviathan. He was talking about how in order for society to exist and function as a coherent whole, each person must adhere to a social contract (a pact, if you will, to do good for the society). Then, they become a true civilian of that society. Money certainly provides incentive for fair play, but it also creates competition for a ever decreasing job pool, it forces people to be deviant and circumvent laws and morals to attain it. Money has become “life credits”, giving the privilege of comfortable living (maybe not a happy life, but then again, not many happy people are living without it. There are always exceptions, of course). I really think rather than dumbing life down to make-money-live-life, we should be more focused on educating people on the merits of intangible matters such as emotional wealth, and the human experience. Money will exist, but people should be better equipped to understand their roles in society (and thus accept their role and enjoy their life).

    The one thing that I would resentfully point out, is that aggressive and dominant behaviour is what brought humanity to its current state of decadence. The agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, all brought upon new ways of provision. It caters solely to us in a method that pretty much neglects the rest of the biosphere. Pesticides, Herbicides, genetically modified organisms, are all manifestations of this idea that we inherit the earth and it belongs to us, the rest of life is either food or a pest. Then again, very little people would argue against the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, simply because of the sheer brilliance it has given to human living.

    What I’m trying to say is that society is in fact a very refined system of provision for us. Without it we’d consider life to be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes), since it no longer caters to us. I certainly would never want to be without it, but it really makes you wonder what human kind’s role in nature really is.

    PS. I can’t sleep right now :P

  2. absurdsequitur permalink
    March 15, 2010 3:01 AM

    Two thoughts:

    1) you are conflating society with government (at least you appear to be) – society is necessary, absolutely. Rules and social norms for behavior are necessary, absolutely. Government, on the other hand, is not necessary. Society as a top down formula is an artificial construct – as evidenced by the fact that groups of humans ALWAYS spontaneously develop rules and codes of conduct, without the need for top down governance.

    2) (in relation to #1) ‘Anarchy’ and ‘chaos’ are two different things. You seem to be making the case that society and government are necessary factors for humanity, and while I agree on the first and disagree on the second, I think you make a mistake to say we will fall into ‘anarchy’ without rules. Anarchy (and subsequently anarchists such as myself) describes a society where rules and social norms are developed between individuals and groups, not imposed from the top down (an-archy, without rulers if you get down to root etymology). Describing something as chaos, whether I agree with you or not, is fair, but you are misusing the word ‘anarchy’ here.

    By the way, I very much like your site (from what I’ve seen) :)

    -absurdsequitur

    • effieboo permalink
      March 15, 2010 12:02 PM

      Thanks a lot for your feedback, I appreciate it. I don’t profess to be political in any way, so thank you for pointing out my error in language: I don’t always know the subtleties of what words I’m using and that’s something I’d like to improve on.

      And thank you for the compliment of my blog, it means a lot!

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