February 19, 2009

Chapter 53. People...

PEOPLE, as Social Beings
That word looks funny. It's like the more you look at it & think about it, the stranger it looks. Maybe that makes sense, since PEOPLE are in fact such a funny species. "Haha" Funny? No, more like odd funny. Their habits, routines, expected behaviours and responses. All whack. Those of you who know me well know that I am horrible for constantly generalizing groups of people - it doesn't necessarily have to be any one race, sex, age, class...it's just something that I have been called out on more than a few times. And I accept that as I, myself, am filled with these stereotypes of the whiteboy engineer from a middle-class family still living at home reaping the benefits and privileges that come along with being born and raised in a relatively healthy suburban neighborhood in one of the richest places in the world. (insert witty NOFX quote here). But beyond these cultural stereotypes, I think that I am also ready to generalize the entire human race.

People are overt. They are needy. They are nosey. And for some reason, people just can't seem to help but to seek praise & attention. This is what is natural to them. I suppose it's because they have a soul. A soul is what makes a person different than a machine. This is the premise of Yevgeny Zamyatin's 1920s dystopian novel "We": the human population only ever gets into any of its predicaments because they lack the clarity to see that their soul, imagination, and feelings are getting in the way of realizing the critical path to eternal happiness. By having souls, people (before having any hopeful perspectives about their world around them utterly obliterated thanks to media-induced apathy) have hope in seeing a better world through each other. So by putting oneself out there & allowing his or herself to become vulnerable to other people, that person is conceding to the fact that they have hope in that another person might be able to fill that hole in their soul.

There are a few people out there who have always refused this social aspect of the human experience. Trust me, I did engineering for ever so I know. But even besides my unique group, there are friends who have always been accepted by the masses, yet for whatever reason, felt it was within their own best interests to avoid contact with most other people at all costs. These anti-socials are still very good people and highly respected, and I believe, would be optimistic about the future - despite not "putting themselves out there" for others to poke into their lives and complete them. (yuck - he didn't just use a Jerry Maguire Quote, did he?!)

Poke. Okay sure. Let's go there. People are constantly poking their noses into other people's lives on facebook. One of facebook's trademark's is in fact the "poking" feature itself. It's a way to say to someone, "Hey, I'm checking you out! What is it in your life that's going on that makes you seem so happy! And if you're not, what is it that I can bring to the table to make your life more fulfilling?" This is what facebook exists for. For people's necessity in putting themselves out there and seeking feedback from other people that will either make you feel good about yourself, or your realization of the utter power you have in being able to delete someone from your life with a click of the button. (and also finding out that the Great Lake Swimmers are coming soon to a venue near you!)

Mobile devices work in just the same way: it's putting yourself out there so that other people can invest their time into you.

People are also affected by degrees of separation because of these souls that exist. Compassion and sensitivity allow people to empathize to the hardships of other people. If your sister is sick, you respond. If your sister's husband father is sick, you respond. If your sister's husband's father's healthcare worker is sick, you respond. This is what's natural. It extends farther than you would believe - as far as you allow yourself to open your eyes to the world around you. Poverty and War. It can affect you. You might even react (and do something, or not) if you let it affect you enough. This is what people do.

I am trying to convince myself that I have more to write on this matter, but I think that really all that is left to say is that I don't think this social aspect of people is a bad thing. And I am not offended that most people will not be reading this blog. Take this blog as a simple additive to some of that BS that I have posted in the About Me section on facebook. Take it as an excuse for me to reach out only so far to some of the people I care about, but not enough to actually go out of my way to hang out with them, for example. I am not saying that I am overly anti-social, but rather, if you agree with this stuff I just wrote, you would let me know about so we can continue the conversation. I tend to at least make some attempt in keeping in touch with some of the most magnificent people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. But since it takes two to sustain a relationship of any sort, please let me know what you think as I am a social person too.
Even if you can't stand me.

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