When you confer spiritual authority on another person, you must realize that you are allowing them to pick your pocket and sell you your own watch.
~ Alan Watts
The sheer and utter majesty of human consciousness is what distinguishes human beings from all other species. No other animals have created such bountiful languages nor sent themselves to the moon (to the best of our knowledge), created sprawling metropolises, poignant symphonies, epic poems, automatic rifles, satellites, gas chambers and nuclear weapons, nor turned fossils into fuels, trees into paper, bee vomit into honey, wheat into bread, soy into hamburger, other humans into lampshades, and oceans into garbage dumps.
Yet, after all of these stupendous accomplishments, here are 10 attributes that make human beings rotten people:
10. They are myopic. No human being at the end of life ever said, “I should have spent more time at the office.” And yet many human beings in first world countries pass the vast majority of their waking hours working. If human beings know that most people at the end of their lives regret not loving more, why do humans put so much effort into work and not into love?
9. They are dogmatic. “Live and let live” may work for the birds and the bees, but human beings do not seem to be content with their own beliefs unless they can inflict them on others. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Anti-Choicers and Free Market Capitalists are some of the many groups that are 100% certain the world would be a better place if everyone believed what they believe.
8. They are delusional. A Harvard longitudinal study demonstrated that the one thing that correlates strongly with happiness is the quality of intimate relationships. Yet, human beings are quite transactional and use other humans to increase their own wealth and power. If human beings want to be happy they need to stop deluding themselves about wealth and power and learn to increase their secure connections with others.
7. They are selfish. Although scientific studies prove that giving away one’s riches brings more joy than hoarding, most humans are consumed by fear of someday not having enough and thus accumulate masses of goods and products and numbers on computer screens that they will never use while 3.5 billion other humans live on less than $1.90 per day.
6. They exploit each other. Due to an endemic foible, when given the opportunity to take advantage of other human beings, humans appear to be unable to resist the temptation. If one group has firearms, say pilgrims or Nazis, and another group does not, say Africans, Native Americans, Jews, or gypsies, it appears as if the selfish glee of exerting power tends to trample over compassion.
5. They are sheep. Hitherto, the vast amount of human beings are like sheep: they are followers. If someone tells them to work, then they work. If someone tells them to join the army, then they join the army. If someone tells them to buy a house, then they buy a house. If someone tells them to eat something, then they eat it. Human beings appear to exert dear little discernment and prefer to be fed beliefs irrespective if those beliefs correspond to reality.
4. They are misguided. On their deathbeds human beings remember experiences, not possessions. Yet, so much of daily mental life is dedicated to consuming status symbols in the hamster-wheel race for admiration. Admiration does not equal love.
3. They are hypocrites. Most people would not wrestle a cow to the ground, slit its throat, eviscerate it, discard the entrails (or stuff them into pig intestines to make sausages) and carve the flesh away from its dead bones; and yet, human beings have no problem paying someone else to do it.
2. They are parrots. Most people lack the ability to think critically, particularly about their own paradigms and perspectives. They don’t understand how their minds were created, how their minds function, and what responsibilities their minds have. For instance, the most grand ignoramuses casually discuss corpus callosums, prefrontal cortexes, right and left hemispheres and neuroplasticity even though they have never seen neurons, brain cells, or brains. They are essentially parrots who choose seemingly sophisticated scientific jargon that appears to make them seem smart when it is obvious they have no clue about the concepts they are mouthing.
1. They are ignorant. Life is so simple. It is astonishing how many human beings complicate it (c.f. statistics for anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication). If human beings wish to be happy, the only thing that correlates strongly with happiness is the quality of intimate relationships; if they wish to lead meaningful lives, then they must be of service to others — preferably while restraining their own mind’s desire for reciprocity. All else is noise.
Originally Published on Medium
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