Monday, April 30, 2012

Something is wrong with this species

The more I think about interpersonal relationships amongst people, the more I realize there's something wrong with human beings, especially when it comes to matters of love and affection. How often to we hear the mantra, "You have to love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you?" By contrast, how often to we question the utter foolishness of this concept?

In essence, we don't want to give love or affection to anyone who needs it, and the more desperately they need it, the more we deny it to them. Conversely, we can't wait to give love or affection to someone that doesn't need it, or even want it. It's why there is such a thing as a bad boy/naughty girl appeal. So many of us can't resist someone who blatantly shows us that they don't want or need us, our love, our affection, our company, etc., and that if we give them these things, they take them for granted. However, we can't possibly run faster or farther from those that obviously need, desire, and crave our affections.

We run back immediately to the lover that betrayed our trust, slept with someone else, abused our hearts, and left us for dead. We ignore the lover who calls every day, brings gifts once a week, visits as often as possible, and compliments us at every turn. It's a straight up endorsement for becoming a sociopath. We adore sociopaths, apparently.

It's especially strange because we're always so eager to help "those in need" if they want for food, water, shelter, safety, etc. We have thousands of national and international charities, non profit organizations, and educational programs specifically designed to help those in need, as long as they aren't in need of love. If it's love they want, they best look elsewhere.

We don't do this to members of other species either. If we see a hungry, abused, abandoned puppy, our hearts sink with sympathy and by nature, we want to help that vulnerable being. We want to scoop it up, cuddle it, feed it, give it water, give it love, find it a home and help it live happily ever after. Yet, when it comes to our fellow human, we shy away. Worse, we justify our cruelty and neglect toward others because, "It's just best not to get involved."

Of course, deep down we're all aware that the reason it's "best not to get involved" is not because we might put ourselves in harm's way. It's because we might have to face ourselves and would therefore have to internalize how neglectful and horrible we are to each other. After all, most of us do have to be able to stomach looking in the mirror now and then.

The one exception is children. We do seem to have a sensibility about protecting and aiding children, though some of us care more deeply than others. Overall, we despise seeing children neglected. We can look into the disastrous treatment they've received, absolve them of blame for their misguided behavior which results from it, and do our best to help them be healthy and well balanced again. Alas, if it's a woman in her 40s in the exact same condition, somehow our compassion reserves have been completely tapped out. 

At what point does a human being go from being worthy of this aide and protection to being unworthy? 18? 21? 16? 10? 35? Does a person go to bed one night as an innocent child worthy of love and help and wake up on a curb the next morning because nobody wants to be around someone who "has to learn to love herself before anyone else can?" Is it because we see children as vulnerable and adults "aren't supposed to" be vulnerable? Once again, at what point is it no longer permissible to be vulnerable?

The whole concept truly makes no sense, but we all accept it as an inevitability of human nature. If it's in our nature, there should be an explicable reason, but there isn't one. Why would we do this? What possible evolutionary advantage could this give us for it to be so hard wired in our collective conscience? In all seriousness, I beg for a logical answer to the basic question:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

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