Observations on Humanity

Being human today is probably no different than being human 4,000 years ago.

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

  1. We are passionate. We’re capable of great swings in emotion from anger, joy, love, and sadness.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. We’re inventive. We can invent tools that help us perceive reality with more objectivity: telescopes, spectrometers, radar, infrared, ultraviolet, etc.
  5. 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.
  6. We are selfish.
  7. We have short attention spans.

Our Social Traits

  1. We are social. Humans needs to be with other humans to be survive and be happy.
  2. 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.
  3. We feel an urge to reproduce, and we are extremely protective of our offspring.

Our Philosophies

  1. We are superstitious.
  2. 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.
  3. We need a purpose in life.
  4. We long for immortality.
  5. We love bureaucracy, tradition, and ritual.
  6. We desire justice and fairness, but sometimes our passions run rampant. We love a good witch hunt too, which is essentially unchecked justice.
  7. We love to have opinions, but are bad at truly listening to other opinions that differ from their own.

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