reasoning towards a meaningful life, part 2: Being Human

Feeling worthless for a long time now I’ve set up a reasoning to find my way to a meaningfull life. This is part 2, is there meaning to be found in BEING HUMAN?

pic by Gözde Otman

I’m a human. (Oh go on, let’s just assume so. Squabble squabble SNORE!)

Implications of being human are, amongst others, that I have a body, that I know other humans, that I have intellect, that I have feelings, that I’ve learned to make decisions, that I have language. All these things have consequences for how I value life and how I value my own life. I’ll look at some of them in detail in future parts (5: intellect; 6: feelings)

For now I want to focus on how being a human influences asserting value to something.

A human has a brain. This gives him the chance to predict the future, especially the consequences of his own actions while still in the stage of contemplating which action to take. His predictions colour the value he attaches to his array of possible actions. It may easily cripple his decision making, having him linger in indecisiveness.
This ability to think ahead also gives him an inkling of how his day is going to go, his week, his year. This yields expectations. Expectations are compared to the actual day/week/year. This is a danger zone, full of judgements and disappointment.

pic by Elvis Santana

A human has feelings. Feelings are a formidable force in life. They may give value and meaning to a life in a way that cannot be grasped by the brain.
Feelings give a human a connection to those that are affected by his actions and by his life/existence. This also makes the feedback he gets from those around him pretty powerful.
We should all be skilled in experiencing feelings, in not being afraid of them. Not feeling prompted to act upon them either. Just feel them. I suspect they attach value to a life…

A human is a group animal. This gives all kinds of intertwined messages and feelings on which we try to base standards with which we measure ourselves and others (more explored in part 4).
Apart from this, being a group animal gives us another non-rational set of standards to appoint meaning to our lives. We need interaction with other humans, we are biologically programmed that way. Each to her own degree (hello introverts, you are doing fine).
This means that having a good time with friends (or peers) has something to do with worth. I don’t have a clear idea how but that’s because I’m trying to understand all this with my brain. This is not a brain thing, this is biological thing. A valuable thing, making life meaningful.

A human is an eye-animal. This too is a biological thing. We lóve beauty. A nice pattern. Colours. Horizons, rainbows, patterned animals.

pic by Miguel Ugalde

I don’t know (yet) what this means for leading a valuable life. I just know it would be something a scientist researching us would notice.

A human is a playful animal. This too is in our bones. What does this mean for leading a meaningful life? I don’t know yet… It may just give a tool with which to handle living more easily.

There are other traits that go with human being. I’m sure they too have implications for how we value (our own) life. But these are the ones that came to mind instantly.

When determining how to value ones own life it is important to acknowledge our biological characteristics. Some of them invite to attach meaning without relying on intellectual values. For example: feeling good in the company of others or when enjoying a view or playing is good for you. Time spend with friends is time well spend. It is a valuable way of spending time in your life, even if it does not yield visible results.

Also: because you are human your system of standards is muddled. And illogical.

pic by Chris Greene, from Norway

This is part 2 in a 5 part exercise to reason myself out of leading a worthless life:

1. being in existence
2. being human
3. being judgemental
4. having values
5. having a brain
6. having a heart
7. being me
8. being perfectionist or just admitting you can’t count

the post where I admit how utterly worthless I know I am is this one


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