I’ve not been in a good place recently. You know, that place in your mind that keeps you awake, worrying, calculating, working things out. What have I been worrying about? That silly old question – What is the meaning of life?
Some might say the meaning of life is 42 so grab your towel and your potato and all will be fine. But, I’d call them a geek and tell them to grow another head.*
Honestly, I’ve been on this earth more than 50 years and I still don’t understand people. I still don’t understand myself. For years I’ve done so much self exploration but I’ve still not understood why people perceive me differently to how I see myself.
Am I even human? Maybe indulging myself in the writing of Issac Asimov from the age of twelve was a little too much. My obsession with the daleks that haunted my dreams (nightmares) had interrupted normal brain patterns. Why are robots easier to understand, why can’t we all be hardwired to respect and care for each other?
We are all different, we all aspire to different things, see the world differently, see each other differently. But there is one thing that we all seem to have in common. We project out own thoughts and opinions onto others. It’s impossible to feel what someone else is feeling. We can feel empathy and understanding but not exactly what the other person is feeling so we think for them instead.
It’s not so clear cut though, our brains are complicated machines.
Thinking For Others
I have already given you a little insight to the crazy working of my mind so maybe it is no surprise that it was a computer game that made a little light pop on. I was playing Detroit: Become Human with my eldest daughter. Well, to be fair she was playing, I was telling her what choices to make. It’s one of those games where each choice you make changes the whole course of the rest of the story. The games is indeed a story. One of my favourite types, robots, or more precisely, androids, that develop human qualities.
While playing I realised that it is something we have done for many years in all sorts of genres. We have given human qualities to inhuman species, androids, animals, aliens, insects and so on. So, my thoughts turned to why we do this and it brought me back to my original idea. People like to think for others, whether it is other humans or not, our thoughts and ideas are always the first thing we turn to rather than ‘their’ thoughts and ideas. Simply because no-one can ever really know how another person thinks. This is why we are so unique.
This is also one of our biggest faults. This is why we hurt each other and find it so difficult to get on with each other. Even lovers argue, mostly because they find that their partner cannot read their mind and do what they want without them having to ask.
Talking About Others
So if we think for others we believe we know what they are all about and that can lead to talking about them. But, are we talking about them or what we think about them?
You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.Audrey Hepburn
Judging people is the next step. We talk about someone as if we know what they are all about and put our judgement on them. This can work in two ways. We can make them out to be much bigger, more special than they are and claim that everyone should listen to what they say. Or we can put them down, point out their faults and exacerbate them. Tell everyone how awful they are.
A lot of the time we get it wrong, but it’s not us that suffers but the person we’ve talked about, the person we’ve projected ourselves upon.
I know I’m not on my own here, I’ve seen so many comments on Social Media and blogs about how cruel humans can be to each other, particularly verbally, without even realising just what misery they are causing. Or in some particularly nasty cases, they do it because they know they can cause misery.
There is no answer or cure for this. This is human nature at it’s worst. People say that kindness outweighs the nastiness, and they may be true. I know some very lovely sincere people, but still…..
Sometimes I wish I was a robot.
*For my non-geek readers, this is a reference to ‘The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.