So here I go again. A quiet evening spent at home with the company of a glass or two of a bold Red and a self-professed “Pragmatic Idealist” (read: Myself) has the tendency to bring about those TL;DR entries, those threaded with over thinking and existentialism, with other common subject matters from previous entries branched throughout. You may choose to stop here, and I wouldn’t blame you.
Originally, the working title of this blog entry was “Paradoxical Musings of The Human Condition: Arrogance vs. Humility”. (Hey, I told you I was a nerd.) Admittedly, withal, that goes way overboard on the deep factor and forgets my meandering ADD-esque brain that jumps so quickly from the frivolous to the profound and back again, often braiding things into a drawn-out humdrum of camouflaged justification of the human psyche – my own, anyway. Besides, the title sounded far more like my Dad’s writing subject matter than my own, his long essays deep and thought-provoking. So I revised, and gave it a bit more me. And now? It sounds dirty. Banal. Teeheehee.
Still, those who have read my blog know my material often relates to the fallibility of us as human beings – a tribute to our humanness – and to gleaning menial bits (if not occasional colossal mountains) of comprehension borne from the apex of our own stories – some subjectively categorized as “good”, others labeled as “bad”. We are each caught up in this thing called life, making choices that oftentimes do not immediately serve the better part of us, and hopefully – although not necessarily, retaining the allegorical morals of our biographies. Turns out I am my Father’s Daughter, after all.
And so we live, we fuck up, we learn. Hopefully.
And, oftentimes we repeat: We live, we fuck up, we learn. Again. Hopefully. Again.
Intellectual humility has been a thread in my blog writing, and when paired with honesty, I call it humonesty – and seek to measure my behaviors and actions against that barometer when I’m in the place to do so – a feat I’m quick to admit I don’t always succeed at. No, we don’t always have to work so hard – life doesn’t always need to be about constantly stopping to observe things – least of all ourselves. What work that would be, and, really, who has the fricking time.
I do find, however, that when I go to the effort of doing so, my perspective enhances, allowing me to open my mind to thoughts, opinions, and feelings that may stand in stark comparison to my own. From this widening is born humility, and a blunt truth I have shared in previous posts: those same thoughts, opinions, and feelings, are mine – and sometimes mine alone, and this truth does nothing to render another’s wrong.
As Socrates paradoxically said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that we know nothing.” And in bastardizing this claim, because we do know something (in that we know nothing), it appears that we know what we know based only on what we know, and humility is all about knowing that we don’t know all. Ya know?
Humonesty is an interesting bird, one that many – if not most of us, ignore as we go about our lives day-to-day. Ignorance in this is not necessarily a bad thing, and does a beautiful job in reiterating our humanness, somewhat contradictorily displaying our blazing knack at self-preservation. That said, recognition of the limits of our own knowledge and experience in any given situation, illuminates the allegiance we each have to our own bias, and the blatant prejudices of our own points of view.
The past several years, ripe with inherent change, have seen me in a flux between arrogance and humility – each, I dare say, necessary for diagnostic personal improvement. (Think too much, do I?) In my efforts to be humble about my own bullshit, I’ve found that the majority of people I’ve spoken with don’t have a taste for it.
By example, while it may take me time to solemnly maneuver through the landscape of my own complicated emotions after a disagreement with another (if/when I do it at all), I will earnestly endeavor to land in a place of humility, and to make an analytic effort to see the opposing perspective, without the (very human) need to reconcile it with my own. In doing so, and approaching things with that in mind, I have often been met with “You were wrong and you know it”, rather than a mirrored sense of humility – or even a vague attempt at it. But, I mean, come on, who likes to offer apologies and humble recognition of the perspective of another when we may be in disagreement with it – myself included.
But in the end, paradoxically speaking, if I’m being humble – truly humble, does it really matter, anyway? Am I offering my humility in the first place because I expect it will be returned? When it is not, my delicate emotional side can get all butt hurt (a technical term), and after an allotted time of allowing it – although how long cannot necessarily be dictated – the prudent side of me becomes mindful in another way. And I realize: How can I recognize we are all fallible Human Becomings if I only allow that caveat to myself?
After all, as I’m so fond of reminding myself, we are each different people, from different backgrounds, having different experiences, each with our own complex DNA code inherited from different people back all the way to the beginning of Humankind. How could my perspective be the only one – no, how can my perspective be the only right one? I can explain how I feel and why to another, but how can I expect that my own thoughts and beliefs and feelings should trump theirs?
We are proud and we are arrogant; we are ignorant and we are fallible. And these things, inextricably fused together with those idiosyncratic visceral attributes that make each of us, well, us – and gussied up with just a bit of lipstick and rouge, make us Human.
So I’ll wrap up this little ditty of mass over-thinking and overdone existentialism by leaving you with this little admission: I’m really good at bullshitting, so all of the above may, in the end, be akin to an old arcade slug found in the gutter, shined up to resemble a coin of value. But even those old slugs get you a nickel game, complete with a couple minutes of experience. So for now, ignore my meanderings that I so eagerly plunked down, and instead plug that bitch into an old machine and have a hell of a time. And when you’re needing a bit of perspective and humility in your life, come back and see me. I’ll have a 2×4 and a bottle of Aspirin ready.