Ask The Brain…
Humans are unbelievably beautiful complex creatures. And over the years, social awareness on multiple fronts has made incredible leaps in neck break speed (in comparison with the snail’s pace of our predecessors). In spite of all of this, however, there is this glaring detail that I see within our nature that has gone either completely unrecognized, is labeled wrong or is just yet another victim claimed by denial.
See, as I mentioned earlier, humans are extremely complex. It’s not our “claws” or “speed” or “strength” that makes us the dominant species on the planet — it is our brains. More specifically our fancy AF prefrontal cortex but we won’t get into the particulars of that.
This sexy part of the brain, exclusive only to us homo sapiens (at least in size, chimps and gorillas have them but on a much smaller scale), does an enormous array of incredible things, we’re talkin’:
- self control
- emotional regulation
- ability to work towards specified goals
- complex cognitive behavior
- moral judgement (right and wrong folks)
- information processing
You get it, the list goes on. I just wanted to drill into you how awesome we were as a species. Out of this smorgasbord of badass, the main aspect I’m wanting to focus on right now is the informational processing bit. We are literally bombarded with information every single day in just our simple daily functioning. Our brains sort out this information to their corresponding designated places and we go on our merry way. The only issue with this, is that our brain can only handle a certain amount of data at a time — very understandably. As such, our brains are masters at filtering through what info is worthy of our attention and assessing how much of our resources we want to dedicate to the particular chosen subject, as well as how quickly we can sort it.
This is where the whole phenomenon and common social complaint of “putting people in boxes” comes from.
The brain is all about efficiency ladies and gentlemen. We want to be able to file as many things as we can as quickly as we can. That adaptation in itself is not a negative one, it is a huge part of what has let us survive for the whole hot second we have populated the earth. But when you take into consideration how intricate our species is, not just on a physical level but primarily on a cognitive level, it shouldn’t strike anyone as a surprise when someone does not understand you or want to dedicate the time to fully analyze each human being they encounter. By instinct they will throw you into a box that they themselves can understand and call it good. They will define you by the parameters they know and comprehend in order to push forward.
And before I get flamed I have an inkling of what you may be wanting to say:
“But, but, everyone should give each human the decency of being known.”
“We deserve to be fully understood,”
and maybe even,
“If we possess such incredible cognitive abilities then we shouldn’t be so lazy and disrespectful of each other.”
Firstly, be careful when throwing out the word “deserve”. I hear this word exercised way too often. The word “deserve” is the mating call for entitlement. We have this sense of “having the right” to so many things in so many ways. That we deserve (or have the right) to not be offended, we deserve to be happy or deserve to not be abused, deserve to get that job, deserve to have that house, deserve to have that perfect partner, etc. Case and point, we don’t deserve shit, the world isn’t handed to you — you make it, and others can help or hinder that process. And at the end of the day, you have control of who you have in your life, you forge your realities. Being understood is a precious and wonderful thing. Someone took the time and energy to put forth that effort. It is something to be treasured and is something that is gifted not deserved.
And to touch on the last quote quickly, just consider this: as stated before, we have limited space to work with in which to devote our attention. And many people are quickly associating this with laziness when in reality, they are confusing laziness with efficiency. When a human does not seek to understand you, take it as a courtesy symbol rather than an act of disrespect. They are basically saying through the language of nature:
“I don’t find you worthy enough for my attention OR the juice isn’t worth the squeeze in getting to know you, nothing personal.”
Key word being: nothing personal. I feel if most took this approach towards their similar encounters then they would find themselves far less disappointed in their social life, and life in general.
Now, I’m not saying this should allow for people to not take responsibility for being shallow little pricks, that’s not my main point. My main point being, that people who genuinely get butt hurt that they are being slapped with a label or put too hastily in a box should understand at the very least that it is much more than just a character flaw you’re bitching at, you’re also whining at human nature. We do it daily with things outside of people, yet when we do it to each other it is seen as this social phenomenon worthy of complaint. To some extents it is (depending on the circumstance), others it is simply a matter of being unreasonable to ask individuals (including themselves) to shut that portion of their brains off, ESPECIALLY when most don’t even know of its existence.
I can’t say it enough: we as organisms have limited energy and resources, as such…
Not everything is worthy of complaint, but that does not mean don’t take up arms, just reserve the battle call only for when it is worthy of answering.
Within this idea comes the difficult part:
How does one know when to draw swords and answer?
And I have no answer for you as everyone’s battles are different based on their own experiences and life. What may be worthy to one may be worthless to another. Some are blatantly and universally obvious, others are more personal. But this sense of self-investigation requires a great amount of self-awareness and personal strength. To transcend into that awareness requires a lot of reflection and acceptance of your own weaknesses and strengths, your values and your own personal moral compass. You cannot control what others do but you certainly can control yourself and how you will respond to the world around you. There are many famous quotes that illustrate these ideas and have echoed in history with reason:
“Know Thyself.” — Delphi Philosophers
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates
“Learning always involves self transcendence. Learning calls forth what is is in us, helping us to move towards authenticity and wholeness.” — Karl Rahner
“If you have inner peace, no one can force you to be a slave to the outer reality.” — Sri Chinmoy
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, then change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou
The best weapon and defense for yourself to remove feeling hurt by human nature or others in general is having self-awareness and confidence in who you are. Taking many things extremely personally can be a sign of insecurity, ignorance, and ironically a lack of self-understanding. All of which are very realistically changeable, it just takes a lot of work. A great effort that many don’t wish to dedicate time and energy to and THAT, my friends, is real and true laziness; to blame others for their insecurities, their chosen ignorance, and demanding others understand them rather than looking within. It is easy to blame and put work on others, it is vastly more difficult to accept responsibility of your own actions and shortcomings, the next step is actually doing something about it.
So, go out there and take yourself on a date! Get to know yourself best, rather than letting others tell you who you are, do what only you can do… understand yourself best of all.