What I find interesting about human nature is the way we break things up. We label, categorize, number, annotate almost unconsciously. To give you an idea of what I mean I will use the simple school playground as an example.
Take any group of kids, and pick them at random (just make sure they’re all the same age, or peers, if you will). Tell those kids to go to school for two months and very soon you will have the divisions you see in any playground. The Prissies, the Sluts, the Jocks, the Geeks, the Academics, the Rappers, the Goths, and the Fat Kid who always steals your lunch. No one tells us to isolate and make these classifications. We simply do it to justify our own self image and to feel ‘rooted’.
If you were to look at our ties with other evolutionary species (i.e. cows, mice, apes), we’re only separated by a few chromosomes. In other words we’re barely out of the jungle, so we feel safest in herds, just like any other mamal. Surviving on your own, means you’ll soon get tired and eventually slaughtered by some creature with bigger claws. So as people, we look for similarities and cling to them. Sometimes we’ll even put race aside simply to have peace of mind.
I guess that’s the more pessimistic view on people. We’re not only drawn to similarities due to desperation, the flipside is connectedness or being. Children on the playground will make friends, form close relationships, because commonality gives us a greater sense of being. Don’t forget that the so-called alpha male, is not always a problem. Humans have a natural desire to compete against each other purely to grow wiser and/or more skilled. Comparing and competing may become exhausting if it’s done on an extreme scale, but healthy competition means our sense of being is elevated.
Think of the alpha male this way… If the alpha male never existed, since the beginning of our evolution, do you think the human race would still exist. If we purely fought for our OWN territory and never considered gathering warriors together; is it even logical to ask if we’d still be around? Allow me return to our playground experiment in the meantime.
Prissies, sluts, jocks, geeks, academics, rappers, goths, fat kids. From the list of cliches you’ll notice that one thing is evident (when it comes to categorizing ourselves), every label is there as a result of it’s OWN group of labels. Factors such as IQ, EQ, clothing, physique, music, and hobbies give birth to the cliches the kids turn into. These labels aren’t chosen, but brought about by their desire to ‘be’.
NOTE: I say ‘be’, because being has as many (or even more) facets as a single personality may have.
The child’s desire/yearning/will to ‘be’:
- observed by a master of their craft
- touched (physically or emotionally)
I spoke about pain in a few of the words above. I once told my father that “Love isn’t blind, it just doesn’t wear the right glasses”. To expand on that I think we sometimes go through life trying on different pairs of glasses until we find ones that are right for us. If the first few pairs aren’t the right fit, we will experience and have to face our pain through those lenses. Maybe our eyes will change after a year or two and we’ll trundle along in search of a more adequate pair. In time we’ll come to find comfortable ones with a better fit. A pair that goes far enough around the ears, and is clear enough to watch your lovers hair skip over her nose. Then, perhaps, it’s time to put down your book and drift off into a dream.