Here’s a few general observations I’ve made about humanity: our personality, social traits, and philosophies, both pessimistic and optimistic. When you boil it down, a human being today is probably no different than a human being 4,000 years ago. Please keep in mind that I realize these are blanket generalizations that do not apply to every individual human being.
Our Personality Traits
- We are passionate. We’re capable of great swings in emotion from anger, joy, love, and sadness.
- We are creative and imaginative. We love to tell and listen to good stories, and we tend to over-exaggerate, which can make it difficult to parse out what is true and false.
- Speaking of true and false, our senses are notoriously bad at detecting reality. For example, optical illusions fool us all the time …or try comparing our sense of smell with a dog’s—very poor indeed. Luckily though…
- We’re inventive. We can invent tools that help us perceive reality with more objectivity: telescopes, spectrometers, radar, infrared, ultraviolet, etc.
- We are curious. If we can’t arrive at an answer to a vexing problem we’re trying to solve, we have a natural tendency to make up our own answer. “God did it” is a popular answer.
- We are selfish.
- We have short attention spans.
Our Social Traits
- We are social. Humans needs to be with other humans to be survive and be happy.
- We are tribal. We like to group ourselves by our interests and put labels on people. For instance: I’m an atheist. I’m white. I’m a mother. I’m a libertarian. These labels direct me to people that I like to associate with since we have similar interests. The down-side: it tends to generate an “us vs. them” mentality, which creates resentment, misunderstanding, and if left unchecked–war.
- We feel an urge to reproduce, and we are extremely protective of our offspring.
- We are superstitious.
- We try to figure out ways to manipulate “the elements” to affect outcome. Whether that be by praying, doing yoga, or programming software to predict the future.
- We need a purpose in life.
- We long for immortality.
- We love bureaucracy, tradition, and ritual.
- We desire justice and fairness, but sometimes our passions run rampant. We love a good witch hunt too, which is essentially unchecked justice.
- We love to have opinions, but are bad at truly listening to other opinions that differ from their own.