Human Privilege


‘Humanity’ is an illusion.

There. You may do with that as you will, but don’t read into it something I’ve not said. I do not think that ‘man is something to be overcome,’ or any other such nonsense. People are just here.

We haven’t built the world in our likeness because we don’t even know what we are. We think we’re central to what happens on this earth and that earth is central to what happens in the wide expanse of the universe. We’re not. We never were.

Do not mistake this for the beginning of a misanthropic rant. Misanthropes are merely disappointed egalitarians - at some point they realized that spreading love is not enough and people continue to act like monsters.

But I wouldn’t say that they act like monsters. They act like animals. That’s because they are.

I’m not saying anything new. This shouldn’t be controversial, yet every ideology and every complex intellectual technology we invest in blinds us to this very simple truth.

It’s easy to forgive people when you remember that they’re acting according to the impulses and drives of their primal natures. By no means do I ignore the fact that most of these animals have been herded and caged, but that is no less reason to see them for what they are, including yourself.

If ever you catch yourself talking about ‘the herd,’ remember that you could be or are possibly another version of them. You’re in your own cage or box. It is likely that we herded ourselves and each other because there are just far too many perks. Toilets beat squatting. Toilet paper beats cleaning yourself with your fingernails or your tongue.

There is no ubermensch coming to make mankind a better version of itself. Evolution moves in all directions. It would be convenient to think that evolution only moves toward progress, but why in the world did we invent Twinkies?

I rather like humans the way I like certain animals. One should approach them recognizing their limitations and their strengths and only trust them insofar as you understand them or, at least, ascertain their behavioral patterns.

When you take all of this into consideration, you can work with humans, rather constantly trying to rise above or thinking that ‘we should be better than this!’ every time someone takes too long at the bank or steals bread.

Human privilege is condescending to nature, to other species and to the universe itself. One could argue that becoming a vegan or a vegetarian is a protest against human privilege. That’s certainly your prerogative, but I personally think it’s also condescending and paternal to pretend that we, as humans, should know better than the other animals than to eat each other, because we’re different.

We’re not.

We wear clothes and we speak language. That’s about the only difference.

Even the language we speak doesn’t count for much. The reason we can’t all ‘come together’ and agree about everything is that no one can ever decide on what anything means. One person hears ‘civilization’ and thinks it a travesty and a horror - something one person built on the bones of another group of people. Another person hears it and thinks of their iCloud with all their children’s baby pictures in it.

It’s even likely that many of the colossal problems we face in this world as humans is because we’re all at war to promote our own version of what ‘humanity’ is, and anyone who steps outside of that idea is an eternal enemy of what is good, namely humanity.

Humans are nothing special. We bleed and die just like everything else in this world. Some plants and birds are even prettier than most people.

Nevertheless, just because human’s aren’t special doesn’t mean they’re not unique. We’re part of nature and we coexist with reality. It is not our job to ‘rise above’ or all ‘become one.’ When you can agree and coexist with someone, or when groups of people can do that, sure, it’s a beautiful thing, and most people would prefer that to bloodshed, but violence is also part of life.

Not all violence is necessary, though.

Isn’t it strange that most of the nations that possess nuclear weapons exist on bedrock ideologies about peace and unity for all mankind? Sure, some countries in the middle east want nuclear weapons as well, but they too have a totalist view of how humans should be living on this planet. North Korea might have them, but that’s more of a means for them to keep threatening favors out of other nations because they can’t keep their dismal economy afloat.

Hell may well be ‘other people,’ as Sartre said, but ‘other people’ are an abstraction. ‘Other people’ are only dreadful if you’re expecting them to act just like you.

All fatalist views of mankind are due to a lack of imagination - the disappointment of one who sees the height we are supposed to exist at and say, ‘that’s all?’

Just as the misanthrope is a disappointed pessimist, the atheist is an optimist who has exploited pessimism - ‘There’s no God/gods, therefore it’s up to us to be good humans without a heavenly mandate.’

I’ll give them the ‘without a heavenly mandate’ bit, but I’m not so optimistic that we are the most intelligent thing out there. It would be easy if that were the case. However, I think it quite likely that there are enormous, complex entities which exist in this universe which are far beyond our comprehension, far more intelligent than us and which likely care about us as little as we care for gnats, and which would feel very little conviction batting us out of the way the way we do gnats.

Likewise, anti-natalists are silly and obsessive. They take humanity at face value and form a logical conclusion based on the lie that humanity tells itself about itself. They’re like the kid who gets third place and throws all the the other kids’ ice cream cones on the ground at the Dairy Queen after the game.

In reality, there’s a food-chain, no matter how much we want to deny it. Listen to someone tell you how far they drove just so they could eat at In and Out and then try to tell me we’re the most complicated, intelligent life-form in the universe.

Face it. We’re just not the ones.

We’re just not the be-all, end-all story concerning the destiny of reality.

Nevertheless, that is not to say that we don’t have a role to play, just as any life-form does. We can still climb, still have goals, still grow, still evolve, and still reach toward the sun without hating ourselves for merely being homo sapiens rather than ‘humanity.’