Sample from Humanity for Dummies

The Dummies series of books has been very popular in recent years. There is a “Dummies” book for nearly every subject: Dating for Dummies, Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies, Divorce for Dummies. You name it; but I searched and I couldn’t find one for “Human Beings for Dummies.”

There seems to be a gap. There isn’t a book on the most important subject of all - Understanding how to be a human being. How did we learn what it means to be human? Have we internalized the concepts? We get tested everyday in our human interactions but have we learned what we really need to know?

When I say understanding how to be a human being, I really mean understanding the second word being. We know we are humans but what does it mean to be? What is the meaning of the word being? Being is a little like existing. What does it mean to exist on this planet as a human being? What does it mean to wake up everyday and live through a whole day and go back to sleep. Even though we wake up and go to bed each and everyday, do we understand the nature of this experience?

What should the quality of that experience be? And here I don’t mean to explore why we should be here on this planet and get into philosophical debate about that. My assumption is that we are here already so what is it supposed to be like everyday while we are here?
I ask this question, because no one really formally taught us what it means to be a human being. We have all learned through trial and error, through the accident of our births, through the parents we were “assigned,” through the teachers we had in school, but it hasn’t been a comprehensive education, and we were never given a formal curriculum. Can you imagine looking at the syllabus for the course entitled Human Being 101? What would be on this syllabus? I know I would have liked to have had that class.

So given that we haven’t attended the class Human Beings 101, it brings up some serious questions such as: Do we understand and accept the basic nature of our humanity? Do we recognize, accept and acknowledge the fundamental characteristics or truths of what it means to be human? Do we embrace all the parts of being human or do we run and hide? Do we linger in denial and blindness? Do we justify certain characteristics and reject others? Do we seek to control certain aspects of the human experience in unreasonable ways? Do we believe in false myths about what it means to be human?

This article aims to explore some of the fundamental principles about being human so we can move from Human Being 101 to Human Being 202; so we can live with more ease and comfort inside our human skins, so we can relate to all other humans and our world more effectively. I assert that a great many of our human conflicts result from our inability to accept our nature as humans and our desire to believe in and preserve the myths we have created about ourselves.