Being human is such a sloppy, unpredictable mess, isn’t it? Shame, fear, vulnerability, and uncertainty. Comparison and rejection. Pain and suffering. Humility. Needing to depend on others. And feelings? What the hell are those all about? Yuck. If only there was some way to sidestep the whole harrowing experience.
In today’s article, I’m going to identify some of the worst features of being human and offer some clever alternatives to make your stay on earth a bit more comfortable.
1) You Only Get One Self
Let me begin by pointing out this existential rip-off. At birth, you are issued one measly-ass self, and you’re stuck with that thing for the duration. There’s no trades, take-backsies, refunds, or warranties. Some people try to buck the system by developing multiple personalities or having schizophrenic breaks, but that usually doesn’t pan out well.
Could you imagine having to live with the same roommate for your entire life? It could be fun in the beginning, sharing sweaters and watching TV together. But after a while, you may find yourself asking, “Why is this asshole constitutionally incapable of putting new toilet paper on the roller?” Or, “Who snores that loud? Honestly, what are you a fucking grizzly bear?” Your roommate may be inexplicably frustrating in various ways that seem to magnify under the lens of unrelenting companionship.
Well, this is exactly your situation. All of us are inherently anchored to this human experience through our one self, no matter how bad it gets on our nerves.
Alternatives To Having A Relationship With Yourself
In a strangely accurate metaphor, here are a few ways that you can avoid your eternal roomie:
Working way too much. If you put in ninety-hour weeks with consistency, you can avoid having to deal with that weirdo in your apartment. Just stay away and blame it on work, you know? And when you do get home, you can always fall back on the old, “I’ve had a long day at work, I can’t deal with you right now.” Works like a charm.
Consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. Ok, so this method is obvious, but I’m not gonna rule out the low-hanging fruit. Getting shit-housed with regularity is a wonderful alternative to reconciling self-loathing because the diversion tactic practically perpetuates itself once you get a good running start. Better living through chemistry is what I always say.
Deception and lies. Tell your roommate that you’re the Queen of England or the Pope. Or at least a super important CEO or something. That should get you some goddamn respect around here. But for real, work every angle to lather your self-importance into a frothy head of unquestionable superiority. Maintaining the upper hand by any means necessary is a small price to pay for unshakeable self-esteem.
Unbridled hatred. If you bludgeon yourself with unyielding criticism and condemnation, you can build a strong case for the utter hopelessness and futility of trying. In which case, you can absolve yourself of any responsibility for that fleshy typo in the mirror. If you were dealt a shitty hand, you shouldn’t have to play, right? What’s great about this method is that it can be so invigorating! Anger and indignation are truly energizing, and they feel fantastic.
Uncertainty is the fucking worst. And not just subjectively, but as an empirical fact.
There was a study involving three groups of rhesus monkeys. One group lived in an environment with a bountiful food supply, another group had sparse provisions, and the third had a variable food supply – sometimes plentiful and sometimes scant. Researchers measured their stress hormones and found that monkeys in the first and second groups had comparable blood panels. It didn’t matter if they had a lot of food or a little. What mattered most was the predictability of their supply. The monkeys living with uncertainty had significantly elevated cortisol levels and other biomarkers for stress.
And you don’t have to go to med school to know that stress causes illness and disease. So, in a very tangible, biological way, our affinity for certainty is linked to our survival as a species.
How then should we deal with all this uncertainty, insecurity, risk, and fear of the unknown that is ingrained in the human experience?
Alternatives To Uncertainty
Settle for less. Settling gets a bad rap, I tell ya. All these new-age hippies are talking this “Follow your joy,” and “Live your best life” crap. But what does that even mean? Certainly doesn’t sound like a well-thought-out strategy for success to me. Maybe I don’t wanna “risk it for the biscuit,” bro. If I fail, I’m just gonna have to walk my loser-ass back to where I’m comfortably sitting right now. Might as well just stay put. Plus, I don’t even like biscuits like that.
Don’t rock the boat. If you just take what you’re given and don’t ask too many questions, you will have your certainty. It really just simplifies everything, too. No need for conflict, confrontation, setting boundaries, or possible rejection. You can avoid all that craziness by literally just not doing anything. This is such a simple and effective solution to uncertainty. Definitely give this one a shot.
Only do things you’re good at. Learning is a process of becoming momentarily incompetent. Or, if you prefer, a progressive discovery of your own ignorance. Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that? Look, just stick to what you know, even if it’s terribly unsatisfying and self-destructive. It’s way better than not knowing what you’re doing. Trust me.
Codependency. Mothering, managing, martyring, or manipulating. Whatever brand of codependency you prefer, hone your craft and control the shit out of your life and everyone in it. People talk a wealth of trash on codependent folks, but they get the job done. Fixers, helpers, people-pleasers, and peace-keepers. What kind of disorderly and chaotic world would it be without these emotional vigilantes riding horseback through the wild and uncharted territories of human experience? Codependency, like any other trauma response, is a veritable slayer of uncertainty.
3) Having Feelings
You wanna know the driving force behind literally every substance abuse and process addiction on earth? I’ll give you a hint – it’s the same thing that causes road rage, school shootings, domestic violence, and possibly all deplorable human behavior. Yup, you guessed it. Fucking feelings.
You may already be asking yourself, How can I eradicate these shitty little emotional gremlins from my life entirely?
Well, many of the above suggestions will do the trick with an added emphasis on heroin as a cheap and highly effective tool for combating unwanted sensations of being human.
In addition to those strategies already detailed, there are a few more worth mentioning.
Alternatives To Having Feelings
Intellectualizing. Determinism. Solipsism. Nihilism. From the greatest philosophers of antiquity to the highest schools of contemporary thought, humanity has been working diligently to explain away the need for human emotion. There is no shortage of mainstream, academically endorsed, and socially acceptable methods of sociopathic emotional suppression. Get your Ph.D. in some technical field, make people call you doctor, stack a bunch of money up, and realize once and for good that you don’t actually need feelings.
Emotional walls. Don’t let anyone into your life. Keep yourself plenty busy and steer clear of commitment, authenticity, humility, and any form of vulnerability whatsoever. When you are safely isolated behind a fortified blockade of emotional indifference, your feelings will be completely unnecessary, and with time may atrophy and fall off all on their own. Obviously, it’s good to keep up appearances by interacting with people – friends, family, colleagues, even the physical act of dating. But keep it light. Feelings could ruin your peaceful existence.
Get someone else to feel for you. I know, this sounds crazy, but it works! If you’d rather not bother with all that touchy-feely crap, marry an empath or someone who’s highly sensitive or emotionally volatile. If you choose wisely, your partner will pick up on all the things you’re supposed to be feeling and deal with the whole process for you. It’s a brilliant solution if you’re brave enough to fake the emotional investment that’ll get someone down the aisle.
4) Needing Others
Uncertainty and feelings honestly wouldn’t be that much of a problem if we didn’t need to rely on others to get our needs met. Others could be dangerous, untrustworthy, unreliable, or malicious. What a terrifying prospect. And even worse, what if they want something in return from us? What if it’s something we can’t give?
This whole being human thing becomes infinitely more complicated when you introduce other people into the equation. I wonder what we could do about this dilemma.
Alternatives To Needing Others
Self-reliance. The first obvious solution is to just do everything yourself. Yes, it’s a bit of a strong-arm solution, and it can be difficult. But just think of all the time and energy you’ll save by not expecting anything from anyone.
Self-deprivation. Way easier to pull off in my opinion, simply denying your wants and needs is a great way to avoid needing to interact and rely on others. Both of these options introduce a very comfortable level of safety and certainty.
Become indispensable. One way to not need people is to make them need you. It’s called one-way vulnerability and it’s widely recognized and implemented as a robust strategy for evading the precariousness of the human condition. Become a drug dealer, a doctor, a lawyer, a billionaire. Be somebody that others constantly run to for things and you’ll never have to experience needing someone ever again.
Pets. Dog, cat, bird, snake, ferret, whatever. All animals are emotional support animals. And people are so damn erratic, making your primary relationship with an animal is really your safest bet. A pet can meet so many of your needs, it’s truly remarkable. And here we see the last strategy implemented as well – pets need you. It’s a win-win!
… And So Much More
You know, I didn’t even get to pain and suffering, fear, shame, rejection, imposter syndrome, pride and ego, or the helpful supports of denial, delusion, perfectionism, echo-chambers, projection, fake it til you make it, or blowing things out of proportion. There are so many unsavory aspects of the human condition and just as many ways to stave them off. But if I don’t wrap this article up soon it’s gonna drone on forever.
Being human is harder than it looks, I assure you. It can be a lot of fun but also a tremendous pain in the ass at times. Consider the possibility that maybe life could be better if you weren’t human. Social media, image filters, plastic surgery, Google, Siri, Alexa, algorithms, and artificial intelligence are making this increasingly possible.
Or, you could fully embrace this whole sloppy-ass human experience for everything it is and everything it isn’t, have faith in the wisdom of the universe, and rest assured that we are all in this together.
Either way, it’s nice to have options.