Human Nature. It is indefinable yet obvious, simple but confusing and as infuriating as it is laughable.
Since starting to write these blogs last December I discovered that frequently I am led to the same frustrating subject; the contradictory nature of our instinctive humanity and our hypocritical approach to it.
I find myself perplexed and exacerbated by our human condition and all the irrepressible, unexplained idiosyncrasies that go with it. A mother needs to feed her baby the way her body is designed to but we do not want to see it. Our parents obviously have had sex, we were created, but we do not want to talk about it. We all excrete waste and make noisy unpleasant smells but are humiliated by these natural bodily functions when we know that everybody does them. We are uncomfortable with things we do not understand but prey upon those who admit it. We struggle with our minds constant thinking yet are too lazy to recognise or rectify this reality. We eat unhealthy, processed foods and are surprised when we get fat. We fantasise over a projected ideal and live in another. Strangest of all when someone stands up and says they are not going to follow the crowd, listing educated reasons for not participating in habits we know to be damaging to our bodies we mock, criticise and alienate them.
Is this a sign that we are not yet as developed as we believe ourselves to be? Do we still have a way to go in the evolutionary stages of existence? Will it be this part of us that prevents the human race from going any further?
We live in a fundamentally modern world, the majority of adults (and many children) have hand held computers that can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. We build metropolises of industry; sky scrapers, man made floating islands, trains, planes, automobiles. We make films for entertainment about dinosaurs coming back to earth in order to teach us lessons that life will find a way and nature is more powerful than man but what have we learned? Is our human nature holding us back? Are we a modern world with old problems?
More than half the planet lives in poverty while the rest of us sit seemingly oblivious, choosing not to care or act. We are hypnotised by our own technology, shutting out all interaction with other unknown humans, closing ourselves off from new experiences. We ignore, disregard and overlook; headphones in, eyes glazed, watching our own reflections.
What madness is this? Surely any decent human being would be up in arms about other people in need of food and clean water? Refugees in need of shelter? Illegal wars? Newspapers and politicians openly lying to the public? Narcissus has taken over. We are more concerned with an echo, a picture or a meme than what is actually happening. The more I think on this the more I feel that the thing that makes us dig our last bit of change from the bottom of our bags to hand to a homeless beggar on the bus is the same thing that stops us in an identical situation on a different day.
We know we are all naturally different. Scientifically speaking none of us can be the same yet we have defined normality and created social structures that pressure us to be what we are incapable of. Normal; a word that essentially cannot exist.
Human nature is a contradiction in terms when you live in a world that houses the wealthy in six floor mansions while the poor die alone on the streets without a blanket. We eat meat yet we love animals. We say one thing and do another. We want to live yet we voluntarily consume drugs designed to kill us.
Humanity seems to enjoy living terribly close to it’s own self-destructive edge despite the life force within all of us that fights, often against all the odds, to keep our hearts beating, lungs breathing and eyes blinking. Our love for excess has driven us to consume large amounts of what can only be described as poison. Cocaine, to some a sign of wealth and carried as a status symbol, is soaked in sulphuric acid in order to turn it into the product we shove up our noses. Ketamine is a well-known horse tranquiliser and Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas or hippy crack, can kill you the first time you inhale it if you are unlucky. Yet these are all classed as ‘party’ drugs, soft drugs (to most drug users) and are consumed widely and regularly by a large amount of the population for fun.
When watching Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why I was struck by the reflex action of shock attached to the issue of teenage suicide. We all know the story; it starts with bullying typically over some sort of underage sexual activity then the regulatory dropping of classes, possibly some drug-use, depression into an over dose or some such death. Then there is astonishment across the board. Who could have possibly thought that this could ever happen in a million years…MY GOD! When the reality is it happens all the time. I’m sure most people knew at least one person who attempted or succeeded to end their life when going through the torturous stage of ‘growing up’ we call puberty. Suicide is the SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in ages 10-24 so why the surprise? Why do we treat these incidents with a mock shock when really we should be much better equipped to handle it now in 2017, what with it being so common.
Teenagers have been suicidal for a long time, it didn’t just start and it’s never stopped.
Are we ashamed of ourselves? Why can we not seem to admit that there is something in us that craves the end, that is curious to see what happens when it all goes dark? When our fragile teens attempt to take their own lives we blame ourselves, we blame them, or the school and the kids that bullied them instead of accepting that it is within all of us to want to die at some point and that there’s nothing wrong with having that feeling. Maybe if we didn’t judge our own instincts so critically we wouldn’t want to die in the first place.
When our elderly relatives get to the end of their unnaturally long due to medical science advances lives we watch them slowly losing their marbles, becoming people we don’t recognise. Most countries with the exception of Belgium and Holland still can’t bring themselves to legalise a quick painless voluntary death. So they suffer and live in a world unknown to them some slowly losing recognition of their once cherished family members and the ability to behave with dignity when it comes to dressing, eating and shitting. We are more comfortable leaving our relatives behind closed doors in a waking nightmare cared for by strangers than taking it upon ourselves to kill with kindness. We show more sensitivity when dealing with our dogs and cats.
Man made religions? God made moralities? Not comfortable with that level of power? Or is it a pharmaceutical debate? Money, power or redemption?
Paedophilia is ancient. Historically old men have married young girls, Emperors keep young boys to sodomise at their pleasure and older women regularly de-flower young men. It is not unusual for young people to be curious about sex, the sexual organs and reproductive acts years in advance of when society have deemed it OK to be so. Some children crave maturity, sexual experience and sensation. Some young teens enjoy sex. Again we are so uncomfortable with this. Is this simply another part of our human nature manifesting itself? Are we too afraid of what could happen as a result to be comfortable with it? Who are the unnatural parties here? The participants or the onlookers?
To the crew in the corner sharpening their pitch forks no I am not saying it is OK to fuck children I am saying that it is ignorant to expect every scenario of this ilk to fall into the same category when we know within ourselves that that goes against our very nature. Underage sex and paedophilia are age old problems and I am suggesting that maybe we should have a better way of approaching them without confusing them. Instead of judging instantly maybe we should be looking with fresh eyes. The fact that we have not evolved past the burn, shame and exile stage doesn’t say very much about our apparently higher level of consciousness. We would rather deny, degrade and exclude than admit that youth is regularly attracted to age and vice and versa. By starting a witch hunt and assigning immediate blame we do nothing to further our own understanding and as a result distance ourselves from the complexities of the issues at hand. When it comes to high profile cases like Jimmy Saville for instance; so many people were involved in a case of this magnitude that declaring everyone a paedophile or claiming the charm of one man was so great that nothing could be done are both weak explanations yet the only ones on offer.
We do not want to admit how easily seduced we all are but as individuals we do not care to exercise control all of the time. Equally none of us want to be ‘wrong’. We are too uncomfortable to proceed and so we stop.
I mean we wouldn’t want to change now would we? Fuck with the status quo? Evolve…
Politically speaking the world is an absolute shit storm. Bombs, guns, wars on drugs, religious laws, trade embargoes, borders, dominating dictators it’s nothing more than a giant game of risk. We all know that power is corrupt beyond repair, bought and sold by the few designed to gang bang the many yet we would rather get lost in a man made fantasy behind our various screens than attempt to solve the problem. We allow large corporations to dominate and brainwash us into filling their prisons, reading their papers and voting for their puppets who can then carry on rolling dice and blowing things up. We know the system is broken and we don’t do anything to fix it. We let things play out and claim it is out of our control when the reality is that we have relinquished control. The powerful few know all too well that what they are doing is only going to benefit themselves and their investors but they do it anyway and why not?
We are not stopping them.
Power, greed and comfort has infected all of our souls to the point that we will knowingly cause devastation, destruction and disease to make more money, to remain where we are, to keep the ‘peace’. We will ignore experts advice in exchange for fairy tales and prefer ignorance over fact when it threatens the day to day mundanity we all call home.
We have chosen ‘democratic’ systems claiming that one party or politician can represent all of our views when it is within us all to change our minds at any given time, including them. Who you vote for on Wednesday may not agree with you by Thursday but stick a cross in the box and hope for the best, right?
Better the devil you know.
Is it possible that our peevishness and reluctance to analyse, assess and accept these inherent parts of all of our own human natures and psyches is what is preventing us from surpassing them? Isn’t it extraordinary that after millions of years on this earth we are still not comfortable with our own humanity. We are stopping our own progression, chaining ourselves to psychological posts and running around in circles.
We are all guilty. We all look. We all hide. We have all done something at some point we knew we shouldn’t. Yet when someone in any position of power shows themselves to be human by having an affair, taking drugs, breaking a rule of some kind we can no longer publicly trust them. We all think things we are ashamed of or that we are told we should be ashamed of. We all ignore some sort of truth to protect our own behaviour. We all put people on pedestals expecting them to behave differently to the rest of us; celebrities, politicians, doctors, parents, lovers. As if their title automatically overshadows their own humanity, makes them a better more exemplary person and then we shun them when they ultimately disappoint us. We claim forgiveness is the right thing to do and then put conditions on it.
Like Eve after eating the apple; humanity cannot go back. We either progress or self-destruct. The world is on the verge of environmental collapse because of our ‘habits’ but the majority of people do not want to change. We create weapons that could destroy everything we know in the blink of an eye to use as a threat in case someone else tries it first. The human race has fallen victim to it’s own ego and paradoxically it alone has the power to destroy or save itself. Like a parasite our pain follows us around manipulating our every move pushing us to consume, compare and complain.
We say with the roll of an eye and the shrug of a shoulder ‘I’m only human’.
And then we do it again.
Janna Fox is a writer, actress, singer song writer, bar manager, yogi and creator of many things. She started Sobriety in The City in February 2017 to give a Sober Take on Life and Love in London after giving up drugs and alcohol in May 2016. Sobriety in The City is published on The New Establishment every other Wednesday at 8:03 am. Janna also contributes to Hitting the Spot, a sex blog published on The New Establishment. For more information please go to www.jannafox.com