The Great Self-Depreciating Lie

“I’m only human.”

I hate that phrase. Really, genuinely, despise it. Of course, it isn’t a blind and unreasoning hatred. No, I know exactly why I don’t like that phrase, and the point of this post is to make you hate it to. Or, at least, to make you understand why I might hate it. My distaste for those particular words, in that foul combination, stems from a simple truth… I’ve never met a single person that caused me to believe that humans are “only” anything.

Now this is going to sound odd coming from a self-proclaimed misanthrope, at least at first brush, but humans are amazing. In point of fact, the entire reason I’m a misanthrope at all is because I acknowledge and believe this. I see humans as having amazing capacity and I watch the vast majority of them squander it, or worse, never try at all. The idea that we are “only human” is nothing more than an excuse to feel okay when we do less than we are able. To dismiss our mistakes, not as a learning experience, but as merely the byproduct of being less than perfect.

The simple truth is that no one is “only” human. Not you, not your doctor, not even the clerk bagging your food at the grocery store. Every single one of us is exceptional in our own ways, even if those ways aren’t obvious to us or the society in which we live. The phrases “I am only human” or “he/she is only human” are nothing more than disparaging twaddle that dismisses the person it is used about as just another faceless average, a statistic in a sea of people with only numbers and no names. Instead of “only human” it ought to be “holy shit I’m human!” I can do anything, be anything. I can go faster today than I did yesterday, I can be smarter tomorrow if I choose to put in the effort today, I can bloody well stop looking at Facebook and do something cool if I throw my computer out the window. (Please don’t do the last one. At least not without making sure there isn’t anyone below your window).

I dislike the phrase “I’m only human” because it sets one up to be less than they ought to be. It gives comfort to the masses who are content to be nothing special. It feeds the societal drive towards the generation of ever greater numbers of cubicle zombies. It and ideas like it, not just the words but the concepts behind them, prey on the hopes and dreams of the ocean of humanity, devouring identities and uniqueness to replace the infected with nothing more than another drone. Another cubicle zombie that spends eight hours a day mindlessly toiling at a job they hate, devouring cups of coffee with the rabidness a garden variety zombie reserves for brains.

We are more than that, and it is not just misplaced idealism that makes me claim it. For it is only in this modern age of supposed luxury and convenience that we have become such a shallow and sad mockery of human kind. Pick up your pens and pencils, your crayons and paints, your books of philosophy and your dissertations on the nature of reality. Arm yourself with dreams and delusions alike. And most of all, never, ever, content yourself to be “Only Human.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *