edited: Sunday, June 29, 2003
By George C Anderson
Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2003
Become a Fan
Sometimes you need to go back to move ahead, a recent (glowing) review caused me to re-read this old piece and re-post it.
In order to have a mutual understanding of a topic, it is important to state clearly at the beginning the foundation upon which one builds.
Welcome back to those of you who have read my earlier essays (which have been deleted for the above reason.) I wish to start afresh because I fear that I have failed to be clear in my past works.
If you are reading this then you are human, big revelation huh? It is such an obvious point that no one bothers to bring it up (unless they’re pleading for their life.)
Let me beat that point even further…above all things or regardless of what you yourself think, you are human.
Push every little distinction that you can make about yourself aside until only that fact remains.
This is the beginning of understanding; all else is rationalization.
Wrap yourself up in this concept for a moment. Step away from whom or what you think you are until you have a good grip on this idea. See yourself as you really are, one of over six billion others just like you.
Pretty staggering thought isn’t it?
Here, at the edge of understanding, comes a break point. It is at this very spot that some of us will reject this very basic concept.
“I am more than just a human” they will tell themselves, “There is more to me than just being some stupid animal!”
Better slap yourself around a little because guess what? It’s a fact that you can’t escape.
Once we start ‘pretending’ to be more than what we truly are, we begin to slide right down that slippery slope of denial.
The first fallacy to avoid here is the notion that being ‘merely’ human is a bad thing.
The knowledge and acceptance of who and what you really are is the foundation of understanding, without that understanding all else is a lie.
There is strength in accepting yourself for what you truly are because in doing so you will recognize that everyone who has come before you was ‘merely’ human too.
Think about that one for a minute.
Think of heroes, role models or anyone else who is placed upon a pedestal by human society. Are they any ‘better’ than you? No, for they are ‘merely human’ regardless of their accomplishments.
Within each and every one of us dwells the spirit of a hero whether we are called upon to use it or not.
What’s that got to do with anything? In denying who and what you really are, one often times deny their ‘nobler self’ or the hero within.
If one denies who and what they are, what’s left? Only the meaningless labels that are attached to us by others.
Is being ‘merely human’ enough? It has to be because denying this closes the door to understanding. Are you special or gifted? Perhaps, but not so much so as it makes you any more important than anyone else.
Here lies the most common of beasts, self-importance. This trait leads to the world of ‘I’ when we truly live in the world of ‘We’. It is another denial of our true nature.
Self reliant, self sufficient, taking care of you and yours. These are all outward signs of a ‘responsible’ individual but it can also be the sign of a deluded one.
Imagine what life would be like if you had to do everything yourself. Those who do manage to keep their own house in order often ‘overlook’ the fact that the ability to do so is the direct result of others having done part of the job for them in advance.
The fact that we live in a highly interdependent society is so obvious that like being ‘merely human’ no one bothers to bring it up.
So, how does one stay ‘grounded’ when it is so easy to forget that we are ‘merely human’ and live in a highly interdependent society?
You are merely human and other humans know that. No matter what you achieve or how high you rise nothing can change this basic fact. You are no better than any of the rest, for all of your perceived greatness you will still possess human weaknesses and limitations.
Can you overcome these frailties? Yes, some of them anyway. The only way to successfully alter your basic nature is to stay grounded in what you are so you can recognize what needs to be changed.
Failing to stay grounded results in faulty logic. There are countless examples of this and one need not look too far to find them.
Consider for a moment the cycle of life. We are born, grow to maturity (sexual if nothing else) reproduce (well, most of us anyway) and then we begin the long slide down to the big dirt nap (some sooner than others.)
This cycle is the same for all living things, no exceptions. Like all recognized life forms, humans are a manifestation of energy. It is energy that animates us and once that energy function ceases, we are no more.
Regardless of whether or not that energy ‘returns’ as another life form, we must not loose sight of the fact that it is what we do while we are here that counts. It is our actions and interactions that make our existence what it is.
I hope you noticed that I have added another dimension to my belaboring of the obvious; we are merely human, we are highly interdependent and we exist in the eternal now.
Life is neither good or bad, it just is. The concepts of good and bad (or evil as the case may be) are strongly ingrained into each us.
Without resorting to gods, devils or endowing each basic premise with a life of it’s own, lets discuss good and bad on its most basic level
Good is anything that makes life easier or brings us comfort and peace of mind. Bad is anything the makes life more difficult and reduces our comfort and peace of mind.
This definition is straightforward and almost universally recognized. It’s so simple that even a child can understand it.
Look at some of the things that make life ‘bad’. How many of them turn out to be ‘good’ for just some people?
Case in point; taxes are bad unless that is how you make your paycheck…do you follow my meaning?
Back to the point, you are ‘merely human’ and so is everyone else. How is it that we ‘allow’ some humans to exploit us even though they are no different or better than we are?
Self-importance leads to self-interest. We suffer those who place themselves over us because they possess the means to destroy us (or so we fear.)
That little four-letter word says it all in a nutshell, fear. Living in fear is a self-perpetuating prison, the more afraid you are, the more there is to fear.
Most of us live our lives in ‘quiet desperation’, hoping against hope that things will ‘somehow’ get better.
It is in this state that we are the authors of our own misery. We fail to act (against our oppressors) fearing that our actions will upset the progress of the better things we are told will come.
We are ‘merely human’ but so are they.
Let’s suppose that I’ve sufficiently drilled into your head that we are all merely humans and no one is more important than any other, would you say to me “That’s just the way it is.” Or worse “There’s a natural order to these things that can’t be changed or society would fall apart.”
We are born into this existence and we will bring our children here too. Those of us who did not hit the jackpot in the ‘accident of birth’ lottery feel pretty much the same way, the system sucks.
We must all live here together so who are they to deny me what I need to live and who are they to wax rich from the sweat of my brow?
People confuse the notion of slavery with the idea that in order to be a slave, a particular person has to own you. The modern definition of slavery is the compulsion to do whatever you must in order to obtain what you need to live, thus we are all slaves to money by virtue of being denied any other means of survival.
The strongest argument against socialism or a society where all of it’s contributors share equally in the fruits of their labor is that ‘technological advancement’ would be stifled.
We now live with the freest markets that the world has ever seen and guess what? Technological advancement (read definition of ‘good’ here) has come to a dead stop! The only ‘product’ that free markets seem to be able to produce these days is new ways of paying for things that used to be free.
Using our earlier definition, this is ‘bad’ and will soon bring catastrophe.
Here it is logical to extend our definition of good and bad and apply it to people.
Good people want to participate in making this life an existence where everyone can have peace, plenty and happiness. We have a name for people like this, we call them workers.
Bad people want to have peace, plenty and happiness while doing nothing to make it happen, at the expense of the rest of us. We have a name for people like this, we call them Kings.
Back to the central point, do you suppose that the bad people believe they are merely human, no better than any of the rest of us?
Congratulations to those humans who slugged through this much text in a world where we want all of our answers in a brief sound bite, you shall persevere!
In closing, I wish to point out that contrary to popular belief, nothing in life is complicated (or so complex that it can not be understood as the sum of a series of simple steps.)
If you understand just who and what you truly are then this becomes plain to see. Those who insist that the issues are too complex for the average person to understand are trying to hide something.
I will cease this tirade with a parting thought. Consider all of the ‘issues’ that face us both as individuals and as a society. If we are all ‘merely human’ and treated each other as such, what would be the end result?
In order to maintain a viable society we need to ‘re-organize’ our world and put an end to the exploitation of humans by humans, only then will we move forward as a species.
Thanks for letting me into your head!
George C. Anderson Jr
Copyright April 15, 2002