5 Uncomfortable Truths About Human Beings Most of Us Hate to Admit
Every time I start talking about poop, I freak people out. Especially if it’s a man who fancies me. And especially because I make it sound like it’s all a completely normal thing to talk about.
Because it should be. Each of us does our business every day, and yet we all pretend that it’s not actually happening.
Well, I used to clean rich people’s toilets for a year, and let me tell you something — more glamour definitely doesn’t buy you a ticket out of the human body. If nothing else, it makes you use the toilet brush less often because you have a cleaner to do it for you.
My brutal honesty can cause issues sometimes, but more often than not, it’s beneficial. Not only do I attract open-minded people into my life, but I also see through pretence quite easily and can’t help but think about all the human qualities that we all refuse to talk about.
It’s like there’s a silent agreement that we won’t ever mention certain things about ourselves because it’ll hurt our collective ego, which is already fragile enough. One more crack and it might break.
Well, I’m here to test it.
1) We’re selfish and self-centred
Buddha and Jesus Christ don’t count. They were a rare breed, which is why millions of people aspire to be like them every day. It’s an ideal of kindness and peacefulness we wish to reach.
But no matter how hard we try, our imperfections catch up with us now and again.
Take me, for example. I used to think that what Socrates did — sacrificing himself for what he believed was the truth and dying rather than betraying his principles — was the most honourable thing I’d ever heard about.
“He died for a greater ideal,” I argued in my philosophy class.
“What about his children? What about his wife?” answered my classmate. “He left them all alone just because he wanted to be right.”
“By dying for the truth, he became the martyr for the next generations. That’s a selfless and honourable gesture worth the sacrifice.” I was very stubborn.
I’m a bit older now and am very eager to have a family of my own one day. My children don’t even exist yet and I’m quite sure I’d give up my pride to be able to ensure their happiness and safety.
As honourable as Socrates might have been, most of us would do the next honourable thing — do anything to protect our close ones.
In fact, we’re able to do many atrocious things to keep our children safe. It’s love. But it’s also survival.
We put ourselves and our family as our number one priority because that’s our only world — when it comes down to it, who cares about the worlds of others when we have our own universe to save? Our own body to keep from dying? Our own offspring to pass our genes down the line?
At the end of the day, you are the centre of your very existence. No matter how many people you help or how many charities you donate money to, you’re the most important thing to yourself — because without you, you wouldn’t be here. It’s only natural.
You are the main character of the movie. Sure, other people die in accidents. But you wouldn’t, right? You can’t die because you’re the protagonist. You’re untouchable for plot purposes.
We all have a movie like that. Some of them end sooner and others later. They all end, though.
2) We’re disgusting
There’s something about vomit that I just can’t stomach. Pun intended.
You eat such delicious food, but when it comes back up, it’s all one disgusting pile of horrible-smelling mush. Even thinking about it makes me go, “Ew.”
And if it’s not vomit, it’s poop. The smell of that isn’t the best either, let alone the idea that your body created such an awful item of biomass from such an Instagram-worthy dish.
It’s just not fair. Why do our bodies have to be so utterly disgusting?
And yet we’re attracted to each other. Yet we reproduce, we love each other’s smells, tastes, looks. Sometimes we accept one another with all the disgusting parts that come with it. Sometimes we simply try to ignore it. It’s a common theme that men would prefer to think women poop rainbows.
Well, I prefer men who accept what the real deal is.
Embryos aren’t exactly adorable. Babies that develop from them are so cute we want to eat them up. Their poop is yucky, though. Their smiles are beautiful. When they go through puberty, they can smell bad and have lots of pus stuck in the pimples on their faces. They’re also hornier than ever and many other teens find them hot.
That’s humans. We’re absolutely gorgeous and we’re deeply disgusting. Beautiful women fart and laugh about it.
Humans are two-legged oxymorons.
3) We’re capable of being deeply monstrous
People can be so vile that it blows my mind.
I’ve always struggled with this. How can I be proud to be a human being when we’re capable of the Holocaust? There are serial killers among us. Rapists. Psychopaths.
There are totalitarian regimes. Countries where women can be still stoned to death for infidelity. Millions of people died in concentration camps during the Second World War. Don’t even get me started on wars.
Young boys put petards in dogs’ mouths to make them explode (that’s a real and recurring event that happened in my hometown while I was growing up). People hunt endangered species just for the thrill of it. Men have raped women in spite of all their screaming and tears since the dawn of time. Crowds of people are capable of stepping over the fallen ones, causing them to suffocate and die.
And the worst thing? So much of this isn’t done just to survive. Lions kill to feed themselves — people often kill to have fun.
I’ve always found the statement that people are horrible because they’re like animals a bit misleading. We are so much more than animals, not only in a good way but in the bad one, too.
Saying a serial killer is like an animal would be portraying the animal inaccurately. Because a serial killer is much worse.
Humans have so much empathy inside them, and it’s chilling that so many of us can turn this empathy off like a switch. Just like that.
Especially if the horrid reality of things seeps in slowly, day after day, month after month — then we get used to it. We’re terrific at getting used to new realities, no matter how horrible they get.
Humans can be completely monstrous. Luckily, most of us don’t go there. Most of us know how to choose the middle way, the way of formidable peace. Then again, most of us aren’t put in a position where we’d have to choose otherwise.
4 ) We’re easily manipulated
I’d like to think I’m smart. But whether I like it or not, I can also be manipulated if you know how to get to me.
A famous Czech shoe manufacturer, Tomáš Baťa, once came up with a marketing strategy: Instead of saying a pair of his shoes cost 1000 korunas, he changed the price label to 999. This way, people’s brains would register that the price range was underneath 1000 and they’d be more likely to buy the product, even when the difference was only 1 koruna, which is close to nothing.
And everyone fell for it. The strategy was actually so effective that even now, over 100 years later, every Czech shop still uses it to make better sales.
People fall for all kinds of crap. Our brains are ridiculously easy to confuse. Everywhere we go, we look for things that confirm what we believe in or ignite emotions that we want to feel. This is called confirmation bias. Even when something doesn’t make much sense, we can make ourselves believe it as long as it benefits us in some way.
Trump got voted into power not because what he said made sense (it often didn’t) but because his rhetoric skills struck a core on an emotional level. The same has happened with many world leaders throughout history, including the ones that are in power now.
The Czech president is a complete drunk who can’t even walk straight but he’s still in office because over half the population relates to what he says, no matter how nonsensical or vulgar it is.
The main difference between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom is that we have a highly developed reason. What we refuse to talk about is the fact that our emotions are much more heightened, too. We’re often very rational and highly irrational at the same time, simply because our reason is in a constant fight with our feelings — and since feelings are so hard to understand, they frequently win.
We give in to anger. We say things we don’t mean. We vote for leaders who speak in a way that makes us feel something, anything. Anger, bitterness, lust for justice, feelings of having been wronged, hope, the drive to make things better, the blissful feeling of being understood by someone.
When emotions rule, reason steps aside. That’s why it’s so important to teach critical thinking in schools.
5 ) We rarely know what’s good for us
That brings me to my last point. Since emotions govern many of our actions and thoughts, we often don’t know what’s good for us. We just don’t.
Did over half of the UK think through the consequences of Brexit when they went to vote to leave the EU? No, lots of them just didn’t want more immigrants and thought this would be a good solution. They were annoyed, uncomfortable or in a patriotic state of mind — they didn’t care about economics or the problems Northern Ireland might face because of the borders with Ireland.
Democracy often sucks because the masses don’t have enough background information to make an educated and well-informed decision.
Winston Churchill said:
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
However, there’s also a different quote by him that shows things in a more balanced light:
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
It’s certainly better for everyone to have the freedom to make a choice than to have one crazy king from a long bloodline full of incest like it used to be in the old times.
This reality applies to personal lives, too. We often sabotage happy relationships because we’re used to being treated badly. We smoke and push people away and spend money on stuff we don’t need, and we can’t figure out what to do with ourselves.
We’re horrible at knowing what the right course of action is.
When I overeat on cake while binging Netflix and excuse it by “treating myself”, I have no clue what’s good for me. But hey, at least I’m free to do it whenever I feel like it.
And at least there’s no nuts leader of the house forcing the cake down my throat.
On the bright side…
It’s not all bad.
Yes, we can be radically monstrous, emotion-driven, selfish or kind of yucky — but we’re also radically kind, empathetic, generous and beautiful.
There are two sides to every coin and there are two sides to humans, too. The best way is to stay in the beautiful boringly grey zone somewhere between extremes. To be kind of shitty and kind of great. To be imperfect but always try our best.
If there’s something humans have taught me, it’s that we can always strive to be better. It’s one of the reasons why we cherish Buddha or Jesus Christ — they show us there is always room for improvement.
There is always enough time to become a better human being.
“Man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.” — Viktor E. Frankl