I am not just human
When did we start using "being human" as an excuse to being lazy and stupid? Was there a point in history when some guy, probably a Neanderthal, shrugged his shoulders after witnessing the harmful consequences of his stupid actions and then looked at the guy next to him and said, "Hey, what can I do? I am only human."?
Yes, I am quite positive it was in those early stages of human evolution that this phrase was coined. Although probably in less syllables and sounding more grunted than articulated _ but still, the sentiment was there.
"Hey, she was there, I was there, what can I do? I am only human." "Yeah, I know I am 40kg overweight and need to exercise or I will die ... What? This cream cake? Yes, I did eat it. But, you know ... what can I do? I am only human." "Of course I can do fair trade and have an honest business in theory, but hey, what can I do? I am only human."
When did simply being human become an umbrella for every weakness, for every selfish act and impulse based on stupid-by-definition life decisions? When did being human give people a get-out-of-(moral)-jail card?
When I think about being human, the word "just" or "only" doesn't come to mind. The human species is responsible for so many great accomplishments, albeit some hidden under the rubble and filth of what's going on in the false name of progress these days. Nevertheless, the accomplishments are still there.
Humans have built the most elaborate feats of engineering imaginable, including hanging bridges that go for miles and skyscrapers with hundreds of floors that put us up among the clouds. We are able to fly around the world in big metal objects at speeds no one could ever have imagined three generations ago. We can manipulate genes and microbes, invent medicine and life-saving drugs, as well as high-tech appliances as we march forward into the future.
Yes, we are human. We do things. Big things. But did we become this sophisticated simply because "we are only human"? Do we now live a healthier and more fulfilled life as a result of saying, "We are just human"?
When did we lose the sense of pride of being human? Of being alive? Of being part of the world we all live in?
I can definitely understand why one could say that the human race is a disgusting by-product of evolution, a mutation of what we could have been after looking around the world. But my guess is that most of the damage comes from people who repeatedly say, "Hey, I am just human".
When was the last time you said it?
Some people tell me I am too judgemental, that I really should give people some more slack and understand that they make mistakes because 'they are just human".
Some people tell me I should be more gentle with people who are knowingly lazy and weak, bringing damage and destruction to their surroundings and to the society at large because they can get away with almost every sleazy deed since they are "only human".
The immortal bard once said that to err is human but to forgive is divine. I completely agree. And that is why I will keep on kicking the behinds of people who justify their actions with "I am just human". And you know what? If you think I am wrong and I should not be so judgemental and more unforgiving ... Well, what can I say ... I am only human!
Boaz Zippor is an artist, photographer and poet living in Bangkok.