Charades

As domesticated apes we do strange things.

We have these cultural structures; clothing, hairstyle, societal norms, or “acceptable emotional outlets”. They’re all just memetic representations of basic animal behavior. Lust, companionship, dominance, nesting, hunger; our needs are quite simple. We express them in complex ways, which may be because we don’t want to be aware of the simplicity or if that behavior is a memetic structure itself. Option A means we have a collective denial issue, that we don’t want to accept our animal nature. Option B would be an example of Memetic Driving (to take a term from Blackmore), where a meme is pushing us towards prioritizing memetics over genetics.

I think I’d settle with a Discordian answer that both are true in some sense.

Taking this to the practical, individual level can be difficult. Do you just reject the collective facade? Do you feign ignorance? The social norms are required for normal human interaction. Ignoring that can be isolating. Seriously isolating, which from an animal perspective is intensely terrifying. Instead of rejecting it, you can instead accept it, while being aware of it. Understanding something gives you power over it, you’re able to appreciate the times it’s positive and the times it’s negative. You can see it’s limitations so you know the extent of the problems it can cause you.

I’m acting; putting on the agreed upon show, but it’s not the real me. No one is really that person, they’re always something different at heart. They change because of socializing. When you think that person and your True Self are the same, you’re going to get hurt. It’s inevitable.

So I get to play a role. I’m a fun person, I rant and drink and don’t give a shit. It’s like the play acting we did as kids.

I’ll admit, it sounds a little like being a sociopath. It’s not. I have emotions and empathy, I’d even like to engage them more than society traditionally allows. But people don’t want that. Stark honesty is scary, it’s jarring, even insulting at times. When someone says “How’s your day?”, they don’t want to hear about your sick cat or your struggles with depression. They’re being polite.

Silence is bad, it’s forbidden. It could lead to self reflection and awareness. Instead, we’ll chat about the weather or trivial aspects of our days. Trivial because serious topic require honesty. And I don’t trust you yet, you’re some scary Other animal in this chaotic Savannah of concrete.

We might as well have fun while we continue this 10,000 year old charade.

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