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Hate Being Human... Why???

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 09:30 AM

OK - in another thread, a couple of people have said that they are ashamed to belong to the human race, and have indicted humanity as being pathetic and uncivilized.  

I find the entire sentiment oxymoronic.  To pass judgment against humanity, one must have a concept or idea of how humanity can and should be better, and must, presumably, aspire toward better in themselves (and those who pronounce judgment usually state that they are better than the actions they've pronounced judgment against).  And, being human beings themselves, they are inherently proof that humanity as a whole is not any of the things that humanity is being accused of being!  We can express outrage and shock primarily because there is better that humanity is capable of - thereby making humanity NOT pathetic, or dispicable, etc.

Besides this - I'm at a loss to know to whom we are comparing humanity?  Elephants? Deer? Chimpanzees?  What makes these (or any other) species better than humanity?  

I'd like to hear the arguments that explain dispising humanity, and how those who do see themselves in context.  I'd like to invite those who love humanity to chime in with their thoughts on why love of humanity is justified.  And if some EtU folks chime in with thoughts for or against, or contribute scientific understanding of the arguments for or against humanity, that would be great!

QT

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#2 Vapor Trails

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:54 AM

I generally avoid debates like these anymore. They can be enjoyable, and are also good exercise for the brain-but they can also take up A LOT of time-free time I simply don't have anymore.

However-I'll make an exception in this case. I'll try to come back to this topic whenever possible-so if I don't respond right away, that's because other things are keeping me occupied.

All right-let's get this going. QT writes:

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OK - in another thread, a couple of people have said that they are ashamed to belong to the human race, and have indicted humanity as being pathetic and uncivilized.

I find the entire sentiment oxymoronic. To pass judgment against humanity, one must have a concept or idea of how humanity can and should be better, and must, presumably, aspire toward better in themselves (and those who pronounce judgment usually state that they are better than the actions they've pronounced judgment against).

First, let's start with this:

"To pass judgment against humanity, one must have a concept or idea of how humanity can and should be better..."

Really? Not necessarily.

To me, humans are what they are. I see homo sapiens in general as an arrogant, violent species, who feel they are above other animals. We tend to give ourselves too much importance.

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...and those who pronounce judgment usually state that they are better than the actions they've pronounced judgment against...

Too vague. Give me a specific example.

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We can express outrage and shock primarily because there is better that humanity is capable of - thereby making humanity NOT pathetic, or dispicable, etc.

"Expressing outrage and shock" isn't enough. All that is, frankly, is noise. If we are talking about treating each other with respect, trying to understand one another and help one another progress through life-this can only work if we do this on a worldwide scale, across the board. Improvements "here and there" aren't enough.

This is why there will always be things like homophobia, racism, shoddy treatement of the poor, ethnic cleansing....I could go on and on. If humanity isn't capabale of correcting behaviors such as these across the board, how can anyone possibly say "we are better than that"? That's why I find that statement to be woefully idealisitic, and why it annoys me tremendously when I hear it. I find it to be a incredibly naive way of looking at things. "We" should encompass EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET.

And the brutal truth is-IT DOESN'T. Not by a long shot. All one needs to do is look at the history of homo sapiens.

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Besides this - I'm at a loss to know to whom we are comparing humanity? Elephants? Deer? Chimpanzees? What makes these (or any other) species better than humanity?

That's exactly my point. We just are.

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I'd like to hear the arguments that explain dispising humanity, and how those who do see themselves in context.

How do I see myself? I see myself as a person who looks at life, who has to ask himself hard questions every single day about why things are the way they are. What I want to believe doesn't matter one bit. All that matters it what is. I'm a very analytical person. I need to challenge myself, and what I believe. I need to challenge what I was taught. I don't have all the answers, but I also don't expect any answers to bring me comfort. I know that the answers to some of the more perplexing questions in life may be incredibly horrifying to me. But I will have to deal with that.
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#3 QueenTiye

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 12:33 PM

View PostDigital Man, on Dec 9 2006, 10:54 AM, said:

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Besides this - I'm at a loss to know to whom we are comparing humanity? Elephants? Deer? Chimpanzees? What makes these (or any other) species better than humanity?

That's exactly my point. We just are.

I don't have time for a response right now, but I wanted to say a tiny bit...

I didn't understand what you said above.  Can you elaborate?

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How do I see myself? I see myself as a person who looks at life, who has to ask himself hard questions every single day about why things are the way they are. What I want to believe doesn't matter one bit. All that matters it what is. I'm a very analytical person. I need to challenge myself, and what I believe. I need to challenge what I was taught. I don't have all the answers, but I also don't expect any answers to bring me comfort. I know that the answers to some of the more perplexing questions in life may be incredibly horrifying to me. But I will have to deal with that.


Can you tell me why I should not see your sentiment as proof of humanity's ultimate worthwhileness?  Do you believe that you are the only person on the planet with such sentiments and the will to act upon them?

QT

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#4 Rhea

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 12:43 PM

I think we're comparing humanity to what we SHOULD be.

We're a pretty pathetic species, if you look at what we do to each other and nature.

No matter how many wars we fight, we still start more.

I won't consider humanity grown up until we learn to act as one planet and one people, and act for the good of all. What we have is fear and distrust of the Other - whoever the Other is. It could be the way radical Muslims view us, it could be the way we view them. It could be because people often don't care what happens to the rest of humanity as long as THEY have what they want - and that is immature and shortsighted.

Edited by Rhea, 09 December 2006 - 12:45 PM.

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#5 Vapor Trails

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:48 PM

QT,

I'm going out to do some cycling in New York very soon, so I don't have much time, either.

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QT: Besides this - I'm at a loss to know to whom we are comparing humanity? Elephants? Deer? Chimpanzees? What makes these (or any other) species better than humanity?

DM: That's exactly my point. We just are.
-----------------------------------
I don't have time for a response right now, but I wanted to say a tiny bit...

I didn't understand what you said above. Can you elaborate?

I'm saying: we are what we are. We are, in general, apes with delusions of grandeur.

The title of an album from the rock band Fishbone sums it up in a nutshell for me:

"Give a monkey a brain, and he'll swear he's the center of the universe."

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How do I see myself? I see myself as a person who looks at life, who has to ask himself hard questions every single day about why things are the way they are. What I want to believe doesn't matter one bit. All that matters it what is. I'm a very analytical person. I need to challenge myself, and what I believe. I need to challenge what I was taught. I don't have all the answers, but I also don't expect any answers to bring me comfort. I know that the answers to some of the more perplexing questions in life may be incredibly horrifying to me. But I will have to deal with that.

Can you tell me why I should not see your sentiment as proof of humanity's ultimate worthwhileness? Do you believe that you are the only person on the planet with such sentiments and the will to act upon them?

Let me repeat something I said earlier, which you obviously missed:

"Expressing outrage and shock" isn't enough. All that is, frankly, is noise. If we are talking about treating each other with respect, trying to understand one another and help one another progress through life-this can only work if we do this on a worldwide scale, across the board. Improvements "here and there" aren't enough.


This is THE KEY issue, which you are not acknowledging. There will ALWAYS be those folks who want divisiveness. There will ALWAYS be those who want power-oftentimes at the cost of the lives of others. There will ALWAYS be those who are racists, sexists, homophobics-and folks like these oftentimes are intransigent. No matter how well-meaning your POV may be, you can't force your views on people who won't listen. History is rife with examples. To ignore those examples is to be in denial.

Of course, given your nature, I'm sure you will point out the positive ways that humans have united in different areas. But that's only ONE side of the coin. For humanity to TRULY show the kind of ideal you want to believe in-it's simply not enough for certain groups of humans to put aside their differences and try to work towards the goal of living together in peace and harmony. As long as there are those like the ones I mentioned in the above paragraph, humanity will never, EVER mature as a species.

Edited by Digital Man, 09 December 2006 - 01:52 PM.

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 01:56 PM

View PostRhea, on Dec 9 2006, 12:43 PM, said:

I think we're comparing humanity to what we SHOULD be.

We're a pretty pathetic species, if you look at what we do to each other and nature.

No matter how many wars we fight, we still start more.

I won't consider humanity grown up until we learn to act as one planet and one people, and act for the good of all. What we have is fear and distrust of the Other - whoever the Other is. It could be the way radical Muslims view us, it could be the way we view them. It could be because people often don't care what happens to the rest of humanity as long as THEY have what they want - and that is immature and shortsighted.

Well said.
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#7 SparkyCola

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 06:27 PM

I do hope you didn't take my comments personally, QT ;)

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I find the entire sentiment oxymoronic.

If I'm reading your comments right, oxymoronic in a particularly abstract way...

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To pass judgment against humanity, one must have a concept or idea of how humanity can and should be better, and must, presumably, aspire toward better in themselves

Ok...I'll come back to this, which I think is the main point.

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(and those who pronounce judgment usually state that they are better than the actions they've pronounced judgment against).
I...what? Where did that comment come from? Where has anyone done THAT? As we say in my class - that comment seems pretty Math.rand()!

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And, being human beings themselves, they are inherently proof that humanity as a whole is not any of the things that humanity is being accused of being!

In what way? If anything, surely, on the contrary?

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despising humanity

I said it was vile and petty, I didn't say I hate it. There are some things I appreciate about humanity. And a lot I criticise. I don't think I'm wrong to criticise humanity, if we ever want to improve it then we MUST criticise it. But I could invert your argument and ask you - why do you love the human race so much? Does that mean you think we are perfect and there is nothing wrong with us? Presumably you think you yourself are therefore perfect...need I go on?

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"We" should encompass EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET.

Yes, so often it's just 'what do you mean human race sucks? The western world has loads of great things...'


So I said I'd come back to how humanity can be improved - though how one can look at the world and ask that question simultaneously is beyond me. Humans are selfish. We work together to attain our own ends. If we were thinking of humanity as a whole we could do anything we wanted if we just worked together - do some serious work on Africa instead of just a bit of distant sympathy that means nothing. We're self-contained, wrapped up in our own little worlds that can't seem to ACT upon the notion that there are people who need help we could give, and they're dying because we DON'T give it.

There is extreme ignorance and self-importance, and there is the capitalist society of money being everything, possessions being worth more than people, all about ourselves.

There is much that I appreciate, as I said - I think we have the potential for great beauty in things like art, literature, love, passion.Curiosity and love and compassion are all things that reflect something much better.

Often we are more judgmental and dismissive than we are tolerant and understanding.

We walk around thinking of incredibly, mind-blowingly TRIVIAL things, and miss something completely beautiful in its own right, or something MAJOR like the fact someone doesn't have a home or food to eat, and we wonder if we're going to be a couple of minutes late and grumble about missing our coffee. Yeah, it's human nature. and that's what I object to.

We equate intelligence with wisdom, when the two are removed. The kind of destruction and hatred and narrow-minded devastation we can inflict knows no bounds, apparently. We have a capability to learn from another's mistakes, to empathise, to see another's point of view - and yet, we don't use them.

We destroy nature to make way for ugliness. Nature is truly beautiful, humanity is just...humanity. Yes, there is good and bad. And maybe they balance out in perfect harmony to end up...mediocre. Well if I get 'mediocre' or 50% in an essay or exam I don't sit back and think 'Man, I'm so amazing!' I think 'That's pathetic.'

And don't get me wrong, I love people as individuals - I am forever being called the idealist for believing there is something I can like - something good in everyone. But as a whole I feel we've got into a rut we can't get out of, and as an individual I feel the same way.

So in response to your question of 'How do you see yourself?' ...Just like any human I described.

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#8 Drew

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:15 PM

Briefly: Once upon a time, "progress" was not a dirty word. What happened?
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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:48 PM

View PostDrew, on Dec 9 2006, 11:15 PM, said:

Briefly: Once upon a time, "progress" was not a dirty word. What happened?

Define what you mean by "progress".

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#10 Mark

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:51 PM

Mark: Since I have no knowledge of what it's like to be anything but human...say, an amoeba, or a tuna, I'd have to say I'll settle for what I am, cause I could be something much worse, I suppose.  :crazy:
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#11 Hibblette

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 11:55 PM

You know when I first read this title I thought "Hate" being a trait of Human.

Dopey me.

I guess I am Dopey cause I am human and don't mind it.

What's the alternative?

To be a cat?

To be a dog?

Well perhaps to strive to be more then what we are but I think that's one of those things that we are suppose to do and is something that puts us above the other animals-it's one of those inherent things that we possess as these vile humans.  We have the capability of caring or not caring.

Yes I know our pets care about us.

But look at these pets when seperated from humans.  They have instinctual behavior that they abide by and very few times do they stray from that.  Yes I know there's those glorious tales (like Romulus and Remus being raised by wolves) but those are rarities.  What is the true reality?

We can strive beyond our instincts.  

I don't let the defective ones get to me in my strivance.  That's all a part of being human.
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#12 Lin731

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 12:12 AM

I don't hate being human (most of the time) but I hate the weakness and ugliness that goes with it. I hate the fact that for all the intelligence we possess, we still act like dumb, brutal animals too much of the time. I hate the greed, violence and selfishness. I hate that it seems the only time we really come together is in a crisis, then we see the very best of many people and the worst in some others. I hate that we've come so far in technology and seem so unevolved emotionally but....having said all that, I see moments that give me hope as well.

Sometimes large moments, involving many people. Sometimes it's small kindnesses but both restore hope that someday we will become our better natures and overcome our lesser selves. I don't see it happening in the forseeable future but maybe one day. At least we've progressed enough to think about these things and to want and hope for more from ourselves. I doubt many other animals ponder self improvement.
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Posted 10 December 2006 - 01:07 AM

View PostSparkyCola, on Dec 9 2006, 06:27 PM, said:

Nature is truly beautiful, humanity is just...humanity.

Um-how can you separate nature from humanity? Humanity is part of nature, whether we like it or not. :eh:
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Posted 10 December 2006 - 08:34 AM

View PostHibblette, on Dec 9 2006, 11:55 PM, said:

We can strive beyond our instincts.  

I don't let the defective ones get to me in my strivance.  That's all a part of being human.

It's a noble sentiment. Unfortunately, there are others who share your POV, who's lives are disrupted by the "defective ones", therefore getting in the way of their strivance. That, too, is an unfortunate part of "being human."

Edited by Digital Man, 10 December 2006 - 08:37 AM.

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 10:37 AM

View PostLin731, on Dec 10 2006, 12:12 AM, said:

I don't hate being human (most of the time) but I hate the weakness and ugliness that goes with it. I hate the fact that for all the intelligence we possess, we still act like dumb, brutal animals too much of the time. I hate the greed, violence and selfishness. I hate that it seems the only time we really come together is in a crisis, then we see the very best of many people and the worst in some others. I hate that we've come so far in technology and seem so unevolved emotionally but....having said all that, I see moments that give me hope as well.

Sometimes large moments, involving many people. Sometimes it's small kindnesses but both restore hope that someday we will become our better natures and overcome our lesser selves. I don't see it happening in the forseeable future but maybe one day. At least we've progressed enough to think about these things and to want and hope for more from ourselves. I doubt many other animals ponder self improvement.

At best, I'm indifferent about being human-but as I've said before, I'm an intensely solitary, private person. There are times when the mere presence of other people irritates the hell out of me. :glare:

As I've grown older, I've found I prefer being alone. While I do have a few close friends, some going back 30 years, I don't have a need to be around people all the time.

Edited by Digital Man, 10 December 2006 - 10:41 AM.

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#16 SparkyCola

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 01:28 PM

Like I say, if I were to be 'proud' to be human, humanity would have to do something to make me 'proud'.

Perhaps if you were starving to death being a cat or dolphin or something doesn't seem so bad, perhaps if you're being tortured a rat has shown far more kindness to you than humans have. At least they have an excuse for why they are like they are - they have an excuse for why they don't work together and help each other and love each other. Even then - canadian geese never leave each other alone to die. That's a nobler sentiment than many humans have achieved in the past.

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I don't let the defective ones get to me in my strivance. That's all a part of being human.

Sometimes it's not about doing something bad, it's about not doing anything at all.

What Lin said, except that I don't think it really matters how animals behave. I've always been of the opinion that even with humans - it's a matter of 'it doesn't matter what THEY do, it's about what I do' - so if you rescue someone from being bullied and they hit you instead of being grateful - well, you did what was right no matter what everyone else does. Humans shouldn't look at a bacteria and think 'i'm better than that, wow I'm so amazing' - they should look at all they SHOULD be and COULD be and think 'Are we there yet?' - and the answer is no, and I suspect always will be.

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Um-how can you separate nature from humanity? Humanity is part of nature, whether we like it or not.

Fair point. :blush:

I'm quite private as well, DM. I am happy enough in my own company and don't have this urge to go out every night - I am the only one on my corridor who never leaves the door open when I'm in. I have friends though. But it's not that I hate other people, as I've said.

People as individuals always have something in them I can like - humanity as a whole even has some things I can like - on the other hand...it's this sense of doing nothing about things that really really matter-  it gets to me, what we could achieve there, but we do nothing and think it's ok to do nothing when it isn't. Don't know if that makes sense :unsure:

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#17 Cait

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 04:15 PM

View PostDigital Man, on Dec 10 2006, 07:37 AM, said:

At best, I'm indifferent about being human-but as I've said before, I'm an intensely solitary, private person. There are times when the mere presence of other people irritates the hell out of me. :glare:

As I've grown older, I've found I prefer being alone. While I do have a few close friends, some going back 30 years, I don't have a need to be around people all the time.

I can wholeheartedly agree here.  I am a extremely solitary person.  I work for myself and from my home.  I find it more peaceful that way, and I seek peace as I grow older.

I wanted to make an additional comment to DM in particular.  This has been a fascinating thread to watch evolve.  I tend to agree with you, but I know that I'm still a wee bit more idealistic than you are.  It's hard to admit that humankind has not evolved past the instincts and emotions of our caveman brothers and sisters, but intellectually have been able to create mass forms of comfort, entertainment and destruction that appear to allow us hide our human shortcomings.

We are predatory by nature.  All you have to do is read the news on any given day top verify our baser instincts.  We are narcissistic and single minded by nature.  Despite our illusions and ideals, we are killers for the most part.

That's not to discount the ideals of peace and harmony.  It's a laudable notion.  It's just not the current state of humanity.

We sell human beings for a price.  We kill them for national interests or just for fun.  We torture them for information, blackmail them, extort, steal, manipulate, etc.  We kill women and children to safeguard our own comfort and allow millions to starve and die in foreign lands while we post on a BBS.  We preach tolerance as a philosophy, but in practice we are racist, sexist, and age-ist.  We lock our elderly in homes so we don't have to deal with them.  

We are barbaric with expensive and technologically advanced toys.

That said, all of that makes me appreciate the few close friends I do have and the love we have shared and do share.  It is a rare thing, despite the advertising in the industrialized nations.  True peace and harmony with our fellowman is rare, not the norm.  I have grave doubts that it will *ever* be the norm.

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 05:03 PM

Cait,

My repulsion towards humanity was exacerbated to a great degree when I witnessed 9/11. I don't care how many times people have seen this disaster in the papers, in magazines, or on television-NONE of that compares to seeing that happen live. The smells, the sights-and knowing that I could have been among the 2,825 dead at the World Trade Center. The attacks happened 9 days after my dad died.

9/11 changed me-and not in a good way. It's only made me view humanity with further suspicion and mistrust. It's solidified many of the negative feelings I've had towards humanity that have been building over the years.

I stopped being idealistic years ago. I've been through too much, and I've seen and heard too many horrible things.

And to be frank, there are some folks I find to be too idealistic, and I have little patience for people like that. Some folks may be turned off by this attitude-but frankly, I don't care. As I've said before-I'm not looking to win popularity contests.

Edited by Digital Man, 10 December 2006 - 05:04 PM.

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#19 Cait

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 05:18 PM

View PostDigital Man, on Dec 10 2006, 02:03 PM, said:

Cait,

My repulsion towards humanity was exacerbated to a great degree when I witnessed 9/11. I don't care how many times people have seen this disaster in the papers, in magazines, or on television-NONE of that compares to seeing that happen live. The smells, the sights-and knowing that I could have been among the 2,825 dead at the World Trade Center. The attacks happened 9 days after my dad died.

9/11 changed me-and not in a good way. It's only made me view humanity with further suspicion and mistrust. It's solidified many of the negative feelings I've had towards humanity that have been building over the years.

I stopped being idealistic years ago. I've been through too much, and I've seen and heard too many horrible things.

My idealism came to an end before 9/11, when my son was shot and killed in a drive by as he was leaving a party around the corner to walk home.  Some kids were tagging the nearby high school and decided to take a shot as they made a left turn to go home.  Just for fun.  No politics.  No deep gang meaning [if there is such a thing].  Just "hey, 2000 points if you can hit that guy walking".

My idealism ended as I sat there and watched doctors unhook my only child from a respirator.

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And to be frank, there are some folks I find to be too idealistic, and I have little patience for people like that. Some folks may be turned off by this attitude-but frankly, I don't care. As I've said before-I'm not looking to win popularity contests.

LOL, neither am I [as many people can attest].

A pleasure talking with you.   As I said, this has been an interesting thread to watch evolve.  I appreciate your directness quite a bit.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#20 Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

    In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 05:26 PM

:(

I rarely do this, but-

{{{{{{{{{Cait}}}}}}}}}

I'm terribly, terribly sorry.

:( :(
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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait



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