To Be Human, Or Why Humanness Hurts Sometimes

It is with a heavy heart, heavy from the glue used to hold the cracks and chips from spreading further; my soul tattered and shredded and a brain that is struggling to keep up with the news, that I sit down and write this entry. An entry that I debated writing at all. An entry that has me questioning what it is to be a human being.

Is it enough to “look” like a human? Is it enough to meet the scientific definition of homo sapiens? Is that enough? Or is there more, something intangible, but fundamental to what it means to be human?

Perhaps what I am really questioning is the idea of humanness. Is it compassion that is a touchstone of humanness? Is it a desire for justice and fairness? Perhaps it is accepting things that are different from ourselves and tolerating the fact that things are different and yet the same in the end. Maybe, just maybe, it is learning from each other, sharing of ideas and breaking of bread. Together, despite our differences. And allowing different voices to speak up rather than being silenced in violence, permanently.

Surely one voice, one person or one idea is equal to another. Are we not all made of flesh and blood? Do we all not desire to have a safe place to live, a roof over our heads to keep us out of the elements, heating when it is cold and cooling when it is hot? Do you not hungry for food or feel thirsty? So if our base physical needs are the same the world over (or at least very similar) then surely the higher levels needs are also similar. Surely we all have the right to speak, to share ideas and engage in conversations with those who are different. Without, I may add, the fear of death hanging over us.

I cannot fathom what it is like to be hacked to death by a machete. I cannot fathom how a person or rather a human being gets to the place where s/he accepts that it is an acceptable, nay a duty I dare say, way to behave when I don’t agree with what someone else is saying. I cannot begin to imagine the horror of being burnt to death simply because I am not equal or worthy according to some who say I must be subservient because I am a woman or because I chose to question what they hold as a truth.

So what if you do not agree with what I write or say? Do mere words uttered by a non-believer or a subservient (and therefore ignorant) woman really carry that much value to your disagreeing ears? Because for you to care enough to kill me is shows me that there is power in this voice, that there is value in what I say and that others will carry my voice and it’s message long after you have silenced me. And this is what I do not understand…how if these people who are non-believers are of no value to an extremist, how can an extremist be willing to waste time and effort plus resources in killing that which is worth nothing to begin with in the first place.

This heart of mine, this tattered soul and hurting brain demand that something be done, that something let these voice continue to provide their messages; and somehow justice be found so that we do not continue to struggle with the humanness of being human. But perhaps that is the rub to being a human, not all of us can see humanness the same way. Some of us, blind as we are to our beliefs and ideologies, cannot seem to grasp the simple concept that disagreeing with us doesn’t’ make the other person less human. What makes someone less human is his or her actions, or lack of actions as the case may be.

I don’t think you get through the human condition, a human life, without having a battered and bruised heart, soul and brain.  But that’s just me.


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