Thoughts on Humanity

This is a bit of a random thought I had in the middle of the night that I decided to document. These are all just purely my thoughts and not meant to be taken TOO seriously. I hope you find some sort of entertainment or something from reading it.

It’s often that what we see of people is a result of their background, the environment they were raised in, etc. Though there are also those who deny their upbringing in order to either be a better person, or to overcompensate and rebel.

The human mind is a complex thing, and if I intend on getting back to writing about more personal stories again, I need to think about humans more. My lack of human interaction is likely the cause of my downfall with writing, so let’s break humanity down based on personal experience and observation, starting from the basis of it all: our brains.

Our bodies, essentially, are vessels to carry our brains. Our organs and limbs are machines made to carry out our brains’ bidding. Even though our brains are made very similarly, we’re unique in the fact that our brains are entirely different from one another. The knowledge we have, the behavioral patterns we inhibit, our speech patterns, our comprehension of language, and the way in which we interact with the people and world around us are all completely different from one another based on the kind of environment we were raised in.

These environments are affected by a number of factors, internal and external. Internal factors would be the behavior and thoughts of those they were raised around, causing a massive chain reaction spanning generations. External would be things like quality of life, amount of food and water and exercise, things that are more tangible. Taking these things into consideration, you may predict how someone would turn out to be depending on these factors.

However, there’s another unique thing about our brains, and it’s our ability to adapt based on the most current knowledge we’ve retained. Someone who was raised in a racist household could very well adopt a racist point of view, but if they are influenced young enough to understand that such behavior is wrong as it brings harm to other people, they can deviate from the norm that was established by the generations of people in that household who held racist values based on things THEY learned back when they were younger.

All these behavioral patterns have a cause and effect. Some could be as simple as learning new information and changing behavior based on that, and other times, people can simply choose to change because they’ve grown tired of the people they’ve become. The possibilities for the human mind are endless. It’s rather miraculous, really, when you consider our potential. This is why our mindset affects so much about us. If the thing controlling our bodies isn’t functioning as it’s supposed to, then our bodies will inevitably feel side effects from this.

Before I digress too much, let’s get back on track. The human mind is affected by a lot throughout life. I can only imagine what the human mind was like back in the days of our Neanderthal ancestors, in which survival was the primary objective. Back then, I can’t imagine emotions were a big deal. All that mattered was that they avoided fights they couldn’t win and they would do what they could to live another day. We eventually evolved to learn the ability of foresight, and being able to make predictions according to the information available. This improved our chances of survival.

As we made more and more advanced forms of technology, our priorities shifted. It became less about survival and more about other things, like trying to live more comfortable lives. This is still a struggle for many. But now, we live in an era where survival, though important, isn’t our first priority. Life is more about living, not just surviving. It goes back to the Hierarchy of Needs. As long as you have your base needs taken care of, you can focus on the higher tiers of priorities.

Something I want to think of, a little less on the concept of writing and a little more on a personal level, is how our minds react to mental health issues, and how adaptability may help.

I suffer from depression. Sometimes, it gets so bad that I even have thoughts of putting an end to my own life. But when I consider the heroes I see in fiction that I admire, I think about everything they endure and the fact that they go through it all without succumbing to their mental problems. More often than not, their determination stems from the need to deviate from the norm, which they view as a bad thing. I feel like the modern days we live in is something to be discussed. It’s a society in which problems are glorified. It’s a contest to see who has it worst. This mindset weighs on society as a whole. There needs to be a balance. It’s okay to be upset about your station in life, but if you feel that it’s a contest between you and others to see whose life is harder, that will eventually weigh on you and will make your life even more miserable. I think part of us WANTS to be miserable, perhaps for attention, or comfort. We feel that being happy is dangerous, because whenever we’re happy, bad things happen that ruin our moods.

What if I said that it’s not as superstitious as we expect?

We set up these false expectations for life, that being happy is dangerous. It’s far easier to feel sad or angry or upset in general when so many elements in life bring us down. Our brains feel some sort of satisfaction from that comfort of feeling upset. Also, I know from experience that I’ve avoided being too happy because of the people around me; in the past, I’ve been afraid to appear happy because they are quick to try to shut your happiness down. Perhaps out of jealousy, or the desire to have other people be miserable along with them. There are more factors, I’m sure, but I feel it can be broken down to that.

The point of all of this is that regardless of how we feel, bad things will always happen. With that in mind, it makes one wonder: why aren’t we all just sad and down all the time when bad things are essentially destined to happen? Because on the flip side of that, good things will always happen too. Maybe not as soon as we’d like, but they do happen. However, based on the world around us, we find it easier to remain disappointed at all times to prepare for the bad times so that our happiness isn’t shut down when it happens. But this is what comedy is for. It’s putting the things that make us sad or upset into a different context that brings us laughter. I feel like if we had a better sense of humor as a whole, we would be better prepared for hard times. It would allow us to see more hope in the darkness, I think. But what would I know? It’s almost 3AM here while I write this and I can’t sleep, so I may just be delirious.

These could just be reassuring thoughts to myself, but I feel like it has some truth. We take life too seriously, when, in truth, we’re all still children in the bodies of adults not really knowing what we’re doing. With that, we let the uncertainty in life stress us out, and that stress becomes sadness, or anger, or any other number of negative feelings because it’s easier for us to fall to those negative emotions instead of finding the happiness out of it.

Although, there is another factor to this, I think. It’s also because we don’t allow ourselves to process our emotions enough. I have a problem crying because I was raised with the societal mindset that men shouldn’t cry, and despite my new mindsets on life, the fear of appearing weak if I shed tears remains within me. I can only cry if I’m alone, unfortunately. It all goes back to humanity affecting each other’s brains.

With that being the case, I feel like it’s a simple addition equation. For the most part. We need to learn to process our emotions in a healthy, non-self-destructive way, so our negative emotions don’t blow up and harm ourselves or other people, and we need to learn to take life less seriously. This is why I feel comedy is so important. I’ve never been a big comedy writer, but the concept of joking about life, both the positive and negative, lightens the heavy feeling I have in my heart.

Bringing this back to the concept we were supposed to talk about, that brings me to numerous often-seen character stereotypes seen in fiction. We often see the kind of people who bottle up their emotions until they come out and explode. We see the kind of people who cope with negativity through jokes. We see the kind of people who can’t stop crying about things but are often the first to comfort people who can’t cry. They are stereotypes because we see these patterns quite a bit within human brains, and I feel like the reason the most fascinating stories feature the most diverse cast of characters in terms of mentality is because we see these unlikely groups come together and interact. Especially in the day and age of a pandemic, these stories draw us in, since it gives us a strange sense of completion, since everyone in the group usually represents something different about the human mind.

Well, I’m gonna stop this rant. I’m getting tired and it will likely devolve into nonsense if I keep it up for too long. I hope that perhaps you may take something from reading this. I don’t know all the answers; these are all just my own thoughts, and I want to get into the habit of documenting my philosophy, especially when it comes to writing.

A Song That Inspires Courage

I might not have been in this life for particularly long, but I’ve definitely experienced the fear of regular things in life that not only happen all the time, but are things I feel like we shouldn’t even be afraid of. I experienced this same feeling of dread and even despair just this morning, so it’s not exactly the greatest way to start the day. I panicked because after getting paid, I realized I wouldn’t have enough money to pay my phone bill (or anything else) after paying my rent, which was definitely priority number one.

I feel like the reason it hit so hard was because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. For many of us, 2020 has been a rough year. Things always seem to get worse and worse. It’s been incredibly easy even for me to succumb to the despair of feeling like things can’t get better, and I’ve always been known to be a rather optimistic person. (A little nihilistic as well, but I feel like a small dose of that helps with the optimism.) Just this year alone, I admit that I’ve thought numerous times that it’d be much easier to just die than put up with all of this. The thought of pushing through all the troubles that I just know are ahead almost brings me tears because I know how difficult and painful it will be.

But this morning, after that feeling of panic and dread started, a simple yet beloved song of mine came to mind, and I had to listen to it.

(Here’s to hoping the video isn’t taken down.)

There’s something special about this particular theme, both this version and the original version from the GameBoy. It starts off with the familiar Legend of Zelda main theme, but then breaks off into a new section that I personally feel is even better than the original Zelda theme. Anyone who’s played a Zelda game gets the basic idea of the concept. You play as the young protagonist Link, travel a dangerous world, crawl through dark dungeons, take on huge enemies, solve puzzles, and you save the world. You endure much hardship in these games, but at the end, you never see Link give up. (So long as you play through the whole game, that is.) You see him find a way to keep moving, because he knows as well as you do that it will be worth it in the end to have fought through it all.

Listening to this theme again warmed my heart, reminded me to take a deep breath, and to remember that life is more than the trouble we endure. We have people we care about, we have things we enjoy doing. That’s what life is about, and in the famous words of Talesin Jaffe, life needs things to live. As silly a quote as this was in context, it rings true. We all need each other. And even though we’re in a time of separation right now, we’re still connected even if we don’t know each other.

This theme has reminded me to keep my own courage up. I acknowledge my feelings and concerns, but then I must cast them aside, because if I don’t, how am I supposed to move forward? It’s like my childhood experience with Zelda games. It’d take me years to beat one because I was so afraid of failure that I’d put off taking on the next boss for long amounts of time. I’d still do it, though, because I wanted to see more of the game. I wanted to experience the rest of the game’s world, meet the people who populate it, and see Link come out on top. This same wish applies to my real life. I want to surpass my trials now so I can keep moving forward, to one day see the rest of the incredible world we live in, to meet the wonderful people who live in it, and to eventually see that I might be able to make a career from my writing.

At the end of the day, we are not the same as our problems nor our thoughts. We are ourselves, and we are each strong enough to overcome these struggles. I have faith in myself, and I have faith in you, as you should. Keep going. Fight. Show the same courage our boy in green always has, and I hope you can be proud of yourself for doing so.

(Here’s the GameBoy version if you feel like listening to it.)