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Being Human

Some weeks, months, years, are more difficult than others.

The last couple of weeks have been more difficult than most.  I will not go into deep detail, as that is not necessary.  I will simply say that the feelings of isolation and alienation became acute to the point of overwhelming, and I have realized that these have been the defining characteristic of my personality for many years.  That is enough to contextualize the rest of this post.

There is, however, a fact that does help.  I have a human body.

Having a human body gives me some rights.  Not the rights you’d think – maybe those, but that’s not what I’m referring to.  Sure, there are some inalienable rights as referred to in the Declaration of Independence, etc., but those aren’t the kinds of rights I’m talking about.  Having a human body gives me the right to call myself a human.

That seems like such a simple and obvious thing, but it really isn’t.  Or at least it’s so obvious as to be hidden.  All of the most profound things are.

Because I’m human, I have some biological and spiritual drives.  They’re coded into me as a human, and they’re the exact same drives that every other human has at their most fundamental level.  i have the right to everything that makes me human.  It is not to say that all of those things are great, or even necessarily desirable, but they are there, they are mine, and I have the right to them.

And thus, to some degree, the alienation is an illusion.  Perhaps I am alienated from specific social constructs, from shared experiences, from shared culture, but while those things are real, they do nothing to take away from the fact that I’m human, and no one can take that from me.  Even in death I would still be human, as death is a human thing – or at least a part of being human.

We are trained to not be human – or to at least deny those things that make us human.  The religious folks among us would espouse the idea of “total depravity” – the idea that humanity is completely broken.  Or, even the more moderate religious folks believe that humanity is broken in a more compassionate way – but there’s always that judgement of the brokenness of humanity.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s a reasonable thing to believe.  We have these standards for how things are supposed to be, and we don’t live up to them, so we’re broken, QED.

But maybe we’re not broken.  Maybe we’re just human.  Of course, the fact that we have this ideal of what it is to be “good” that is beyond what we are as humans speaks to the fact that such an ideal must exist, but as it stands, we are unable to meet it.  That’s not because we’re broken, but instead, it’s just because we’re human.  Maybe forgiveness isn’t so much a divine thing as an acknowledgement of our own humanity.

This is a very nascent thought and I might post more about it.  I might not.  Whatever.  It’s not like you paid anything for it.

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