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Being out of touch with humanity

June 12, 2010

In a conversation I was having with someone on another site, someone told me, “I think you’re way too out of touch with humanity to talk about anything.”

What bothered me most about this declaration was not a sense of vehement disagreement and displeasure with such an insult…but rather my wondering if such a thing could be true and, if so, what the implications of it are. In short, what bothered me was that a part of me considered agreeing.

I have experienced it often.

I hate trying to talk to someone about something that is really important to me, something that is foundational to how I think, and that I think is completely natural and reasonable, and receiving blank stares in return.

I hate when I try to argue for something, thinking, “Well, of course, if I explain things like this, then of course they will understand,” where the other person says, “No, that’s not how things are like at all,” or “No, that’s not how I’m like at all.”

And worst of all, I hate when people say, “You’re crazy” or “You’re irrational” as the concluding judgment.

But more than that, I hate wondering that they may be right. I hate that it certainly seems that I am way too out of touch with humanity to talk about anything, and yet over and over and over again, I smash my head into that brick wall, knowing that it will bleed and bruise again without anything getting through the brick.

I know one thing for certain. I don’t want to sell out. I don’t want to “reform.” I don’t want to become something completely else if that’s what is necessary to be “normal,” “sane,” “smart,” or “rational.” I understand deeply that anything else is a suicide, a self-betrayal, a self-annihilation.

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15 Comments
  1. You’re crazy. 😉

  2. nyoro~n Σ:3

  3. Chris permalink

    I don’t think you’re out of touch. Sounds like you just need to associate more with people that are on the same level intellectually as you.

    It’s all relative.

  4. maybe. But that’s like saying, “Maybe you just need to go to the asylum”

  5. Heh… Well, I think it’s somewhat of an unrealistic expectation to ‘be in touch with all of humanity.’ That desire will go unfulfilled more often than not. So you could look for ways to fulfill the desire (like I suggested)… or transform it into a preference where it’s not such a bad thing if it goes unfulfilled.

  6. Well, that’s the thing. I *know* it’s an unrealistic expectation. I *know* it will go unfulfilled more often than not.

    But that’s the issue. The difference between *thinking* and *knowing* and *feeling*. If I were a machine, it would be easily to say, “OK, let’s forcequit this zombie desire”

    …but that’s not how things really work.

  7. Chris permalink

    It’s not enough to just be against something. You have to be for something else. I don’t think dropping an expectation will work without trying to replace it with a more manageable desire.

    Wanting to be in touch with humanity seems like a complex desire. There could be some underlying desires for which it is built upon (or somehow connected). In my experience, I have been able to replace (or transform) simplistic expectations with just preferences.

    • Chris permalink

      And I would add that it might take time. Impatience (which stems from a series of unrealistic expectations again) isn’t replaced with patience overnight. Perhaps that desire to be in tough with humanity can be better understood by identifying underlying desires like: desire to be accepted by certain types of people; desire to be understood; etc. Again the fulfillment of these desires are completely dependent on somebody else fulfilling them. It might be a good thing to narrow down each one and see why you are holding on to them. Why do you feel a need to be in touch with humanity (or certain types of humans)?

  8. To try to play with what you’ve said, I’ll take a different example.

    “It’s not enough to just be against something like your sexuality. You have to be for something else. I don’t think dropping same sex attraction will work without trying to replace it with a more manageable heterosexuality.

    Wanting companionship with someone of the same sex seems like a complex desire. There could be some underlying desires for which it is built upon (or somehow connected). In my experience, I have been able to replace (or transform) simplistic expectations with preferences.”

    ^see the problem up there?

  9. Chris permalink

    Sure, I see the problem with sexual desire. And I fully understand that. I’m not sure you understand what I’m trying to say though… maybe it’s because I can’t quite articulate it.

    Many people have desires that can only be fulfilled via another person or thing – I call these expectations. This is a terrible desire to have because you can’t fulfill it yourself and this will inevitably lead to unfulfillment which will lead to a non-positive emotion. A simple example: you have the expectation that somebody would say ‘thank you’ when you open the door for them. Some people won’t say thank you. Desire goes unfulfilled. Thus you call them a jerk.

    In general, I propose that one should turn an expectation into a preference. It’s not a big deal if a preference isn’t met. Sure you prefer people to say thank you, but don’t expect it.

    Why do you feel a need to be in touch with humanity (or certain types of humans)?

    • Chris permalink

      Do you think that sexual desire is on the same level as the need to be in touch with humanity?

      I would think some desire are replaceable (or modify-able) while others aren’t.

  10. I’ll answer your second comment first:

    Do you think that sexual desire is on the same level as the need to be in touch with humanity?

    Absolutely. Or at least, in a sense. I believe that these things can be on a continuum, where people can have less intensity or less frequency for a particular desire or need (and in fact, for however much I write, I’d say I’m on a “less intense” or “less frequent” side of such continuums. Introversion, generally.) However, it seems absurd to say, “Just turn this into a preference.”

    However, I would say in another sense that I don’t think they are on the same level. If I had to use Maslow’s hierarchy, sex itself was on the lowest “rung,” on along with other mechanical “needs” as food, sleep, and excretion. However, isn’t it interesting that the third “rung” focuses on things like family, friendship, and then adds sexual intimacy to the loop?

    And I think it’s further interesting that Maslow’s fourth rung deals with esteem…respect by others, respect of others, confidence, achievement.

    Now, some have argued for the ethnocentric “ranking” or placement of these needs, or of the selection of these ones, but I don’t think that this kinda of theory is totally off-base.

    So, getting to your first comment:

    As I alluded to in the first part, I don’t think I can understand what you want to say because you’re trying to posit such an extremely different idea about the level of certain expectations and the level of certain preferences. I am flabbergasted that you intimate “desire to connect” or an “expectation to connect” with “expectation to that someone says thank you” RATHER THAN “desire for and direction of sexual attraction and intimacy.”

    This makes a huge stumbling block for everything else. You say, “Make these things into preferences, so it’s not a big deal to you if unmet.” What I’m saying is: how can you consider this possible (especially in this instance), and, even if this were possible, why would you dare consider it? Wouldn’t it something dehumanizing?

    Your final question is: “Why do you feel a need to be in touch with humanity (or certain types of humans)?”

    why the teleological inquiry?

  11. Chris permalink

    Ah ok. I do think that the desire to connect with humanity is complex but I wouldn’t put it in the same category as a sexual desire. So I suppose this is where the disagreement is.

    I believe we can change the way we think. I believe we can drop unrealistic expectations and replace them with more manageable desires. I know that I have done this myself. And as a result I have experienced less emotional pain.

    There are needs, desires and expectations that we can’t change like sex, hunger, etc…. but as far as much much simpler desires go, those are the ones I think we can tweak. The desire to connect is complex… and I understand it probably is not possible to change. But perhaps it stems from some other simpler desires. Or maybe there are some other underlying simpler desires that you’ve created unknowingly that can be changed.

    • Chris permalink

      And I think I might have been mentally qualifying what it means to be in touch with humanity. I might have been defining (without spelling it out) that this desire is a desire to have a meaningful connection with all of humanity. I pick and choose the person and at what level of a connection I want with them. Perhaps in this manner, it is possible to modify the expectation. It’s important for me (ie expectation) to have a meaningful connection with my wife…. as far as everyone else… I would modify the degree to which I desire or expect.

  12. The desire to belong is good if it does not cause us unhappiness.

    The desire to critique is good if it does not harm us.

    Balance of involvement, love and discernment — all the while nourishing the delicate soul you are balancing on.

    (feeling poetic)

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