What is it that makes us act the way we act?
Why do we do the things that we do?
But above all else: What makes a Human…well, Human?
These are all questions that have been buzzing around in people’s heads before, especially mine. The study of life is by no means a new topic; many people have studied and written about it before I was even born. It is a common thing for us to wonder why we tend to act the way we act, perhaps common enough to chalk it up as a part of human nature.
Just as we humans have a tendency to want to find problems and/or disagreements in what the people around us say, we also have an apparent need to look for answers to said problems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are many of us out there who believe there is an invisible force driving us, making us do what we do and act how we act. There will always be someone who swears to the high-heavens that they didn’t do what they did by their own free will, but that someone made them do it. Now, whether or not you see it as a stage of being in denial is up to you.
For those of you who can’t seem to grasp what I’m talking about, let me provide an example, one that I know all too well.
Let us say there is a kid named Billy, who lives in an average suburban neighborhood and lives an average teenage life. Well one day, our dear Billy goes to his High School as per his daily tradition, and takes a Math / Science / whatever test. He fails it. Once he is at home and his parents see that he had failed said test, they fall into their own tradition and criticize him for failing the test; saying it is because he is too lazy and/or spends too much time on the internet, so they follow the traditional “punishment” of taking away Billy’s electronics. Well poor old Billy uses said electronics as a way of unwinding from a long stressful day at school and relaxing. So, by having the one thing he uses to relax be taken away from him, Billy finds he lacks the motivation to return to school the next day and work his hardest. “What is the point of buckling down and working hard on something if there is no reward, no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?” Billy says to himself. Well, because he ends up working even less hard on his schoolwork, he ends up failing yet another important test, and the cycle starts all over again.
You get what I’m trying to say here? Every action has a reaction, everything you do or experience will have something happen further down the line because you experienced it, it’s just a part of being alive. But that in itself raises another question: Why does he think of it like that? What makes Billy believe that there is nothing for him anymore when his things are taken from him as punishment? The answer is, as of now, very much so unclear. Even if you were to ask Billy himself why he does it, he would most likely answer “I don’t know”.
Perhaps there is some form of ethereal being that influences us on a day to day basis, some invisible force put there to ensure we do not break free of the usual hum-drum we have grown accustomed to. The way I see it, it’s due to a sort of universal constant that things need to be circular; everything that is or is not must live out its existence in circles.
I mean if you think about it, everything is a circle of some sort. The circle of life and death, the circulation of heat in an oven, the sharing of info from one source to another back and forth in a circular style; everything is a circle. So we live our lives, guided by the circles and cycles established for order; and if we were to break free of the guidance of a circle, we are seen as outcasts, different than the rest.
Now, beyond the extent of living and patterns, not many other examples of things being / following a circle can be found, so discredit me on that if you will. But the point is that we, as human beings, tend to follow patterns and cycles established for us whether or not we like it; and if ever questioned as to why we do so, we tend to draw a blank. We truly are a most curious species aren’t we, blindly following trails laid out for us without questioning why we do so. Perhaps that too is a set standard of human nature; do what we are told to / guided towards first, ask questions later.
Now, back to the topic at hand: Why humans act the way they act~
To start and better explain what I mean, let me put forth another example: Parents. Not parents in general, or how they are different from normal people (as they are not), but the way they act. Now, for example, let’s say a kid comes home from playing with a friend at the local Tot-lot. The kid had stayed out past curfew, which has upset the parents for not listening to the rules they put forth for the kid; but more importantly, they are concerned for the safety of the kid, as the curfew is relatively late at night. So, the parents sit the kid down and scold him/her for disobeying their wishes and staying out past curfew. However the kid nicely and politely brings up the argument that, as it is later in the year, the sun sets one hour later then when the curfew was instated; thus, the kid was in little to no danger from the creeps that wander at night. Instead of listening to the kid and accepting they may be right, they snap at him/her for talking back to them.
Now hold on just a minute, let’s back up just a bit to this important fragment of info: “Instead of listening to the kid…”
Why did the parents react in such a way? The kid wasn’t personally attacking them by saying something to the effect of “You’re stupid Mom and Dad”; he/she simply stated that the sun set later than usual. You would think the parents, being much older and wise then the child, would simply listen and consider his/her piece of information. However, this wasn’t the case, as they snapped at the kid for talking back to them. This example harkens back to what I said earlier about us as humans having a strange need for conflict, to find faults in what people say / do and judge and/or fight them for it. The reason for which we act this way is something only God knows apparently.
Now I consider myself a man of relatively worldly knowledge when I say that I think the reasoning for this has to do yet again with the way Humans are apparently programmed to react. As a human, one grows up learning to do things a certain way within a certain time frame, that the way we are taught to do things is the one and only way to do so. So imagine our surprise when someone comes out of the woodwork to tell us the way we do things is wrong. I believe that us humans are programmed to, for a lack of better words, over react when something challenges the way we think; our first reaction being to break down into more primal emotions such as fear and anger when our ways of life are said to be wrong, rather than sit and listen to what the other side has to say. Take politics for example; most people cannot open their mind and listen when the other side states their opinions, and resort to calling the opposing side wrong and/or throwing out insults about their mother or sexuality. Our thoughts and feelings tend to go from zero to sixty at the drop of a hat when opposing knowledge is presented to us.
Now I will admit, I too fall victim to the melodrama at times; after all, I’m only human right?
But it still confuses me to no end why some people tend to take every little thing presented to them to such extremes. If the rating scale for forms of media in general ranges from 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, why is it that a man-made way of reviewing things has more leniency and/or range then humans themselves? There are many people I have personally met in my somewhat short lifetime that tend to think of things as either a 1 or a 10 with no in-between; its either the worst possible thing that can happen to them, or the best. This also applies to how we humans apparently judge different beliefs and cultures. To better explain my point, I present to you two examples I have found: The general act of Racism, and the Internet’s general reaction to the group known as Furries.
First up is Racism, or at least how we perceive it and how it applies to this topic. Generally in today’s society, we like to jump to the conclusion that something is racist when in actuality it’s not. As part of being human, we like to find things to argue about with others, as part of being human is apparently a carnal need to fight someone. So, when a man of color robs a bank, or a person from Asia fails a driving test, we tend to roll our eyes as if we expected that to happen. We group large numbers of people into general groups, or stereotypes, as a knee-jerk reaction of sorts to seeing or learning something we didn’t see or know before. We as humans tend to latch onto the first sign of information we see when we are presented with foreign knowledge, even if said info is made up or biased. So for example, since someone at some time originally came up with the stereotype that all African Americans are “from the hood” so to speak, the effect snowballs and soon we all find ourselves thinking that, even if it is far from the truth. So, because of said stereotypes being as prevalent in society as we know it, people tend to jump to the conclusion that we are being racist when we do something such as arrest a man of color, as said man of color thinks we are filing him into the known stereotype.
The “art” of stereotyping is also massively prevalent in how a great majority of the Internet treats the Furry fandom. Due to one small group of people, possibly not even one percent of the fandom as a whole, doing some very weird and questionable things such as having sexual intercourse with animals / their pets, we jump to the conclusion that all Furries must love to do so. I will not disagree that said tiny group of people performing Bestiality is indeed very much so disgusting, but I for one know that not every person whom dawns a fur suit (either virtual or in real life) is such a wierdo. So as such, because said stereotype exists, a great majority of people in the Furry fandom find themselves under fire of incredibly harsh insults and accusations, some even receiving death threats; all the while I am left wondering: why is that exactly? What is it that drives some to become such a terrible person and attempt to drive someone to suicide? We may never know the answer until such technology that allows us to fully scan someone’s brain and study their thoughts and feelings becomes available.
Now to return to the true topic I wish to talk about: people’s reactions. Let’s take a short trip back to my example earlier about the Parents and the kid. To make an example, let’s say the kid was around the age of eight by that point; now let’s fast forward to when said kid is eighteen. One day the kid asks their parents if they can sit down and have a chat them, or for an example in this context: to speak to his/her parents about him/her being Gay (Hell, the topic could be anything). So the whole family of three sits down to have a little chat, to discuss personal problems. Upon revealing the truth to his/her parents, the mother starts to burst into tears for no explainable reason. More than likely the mother starting to cry isn’t a result of genuine sadness, but rather a sort of mental defense against new / shocking information. Like when how I was younger and some actor on TV had their character’s head blown off in a rather explicit manner, I would snicker / chuckle; not due to me being a closet Sadist of some kind, but possibly as a defense against the whole thing.
But that leaves us with the question, why do people have these apparent mental shields? I’d say it’s to prevent one from being scarred, but many people are still traumatized from things that occurred in their youth and/or remember things clearly, so that can’t be it.
All in all, Humans are a complex machine to study as there is no one way to fix problems that occur, unlike if a robot in a factory breaks down. No doubt that even after potentially years of studying, I won’t really get anywhere in my research; but if this allows some readers to become enlightened and find their own views on everything / help contribute to the knowledge, then I’m content.