Tag Archives: Human Beings

About Trust and Knowing Other Humans

Originally posted on another blog Tuesday, October 24, 2006 

Maybe this is all bull, but it’s the most painless way I’ve ever found to view reality and my human co-conspirators here in this lifetime.  Riding the mudball around the star and watching the two-legged critters wade around the muck beside me hasn’t caused me to admire us as a species.

As for knowing other humans, we mostly don’t allow ourselves to ‘know’ anyone. Instead, we construct them as we wish them to be, assign a set of behaviors required of them.  Often the people we’re trying to hammer into our mold haven’t  agreed to try to satisfy these requirements.  Still, we count it a violation of ‘trust’ if they don’t perform according to the rules we created.

But, even if they told us they agreed to be what we wished them to be, (and they might have meant it when they did it) obeying contracts of that sort just aren’t part of the usual human machinery. The flesh is weak and time and circumstance erode the best of intentions.

Trusting human beings based on unrealistic contracts probably leads to more heartache than simply abandoning the concept of ‘trust’ and the demands that go with it, and adopting a consistent readiness to forgive and continue loving them. (With no joint checking accounts or shared credit cards).

Old Jules

Don’t know much about Human Beings

I don’t know much about human beings these days, though I used to think I knew everything worth knowing about them.  Putting a little distance between myself and the daily onslaught of news, spending my time in my own company instead of in the company of other people, and watch/listening instead of speaking when I’m around others has forced a realization that I don’t know spit about these creatures.

But it’s also clear to me that I didn’t know spit about them back when I knew a lot about them.  Including me.  I was in too close and personal, too much a part of the herd, to see what was happening around me.  A person inside a jetliner going several hundred miles an hour can throw a rock from the tail section all the way to the pilot and when it plunks against his scalp that rock will have traveled further than Babe Ruth ever hit a baseball.  A fly inside the cabin of a jet fighter is supersonic when it goes from the back of the cabin to the front.

In a sense, the same phenomenon is at work when humans are in the company of other humans.  Bunched up together in a stadium, concert hall, skyscraper, there’s an invisible wall around them disguising the fact the rocks they throw are going further and the flies are flying faster than anyone had any right to expect.  The person in the next seat, the stewardess serving meals and drinks, the movie playing  seems real to them, while the 20,000 feet to the ground doesn’t, while the outside rushing by doesn’t seem real at all, and all that microscopic activity on the ground below them doesn’t count for anything.

Back when I rode airliners, worked in buildings full of people, drove around inside a vehicle in heavy traffic and kept track of events I knew a lot about human beings.  Same as you do now.

But now that I’ve backed away, put some distance between myself and humanity, to me they look more like chickens than they ever looked like human beings.  I understand chickens fairly well, but I don’t know squat about human beings.

Old Jules

Simon and Garfunkel — I am a Rock