People Watching

If you want to learn about yourself (which really, you should), learn about other humans. Not from a textbook but from first hand observation of your peers. Go to your local watering hole; the bar, the coffee shop, the diner, or the park, but go by yourself. Bring a notebook, watch people and write. Don’t be a creep or anything, you don’t need to stare at people. Just be around it all. Immerse yourself in the thick soup of humanity around you. Hear the snippets of conversation and try to guess what is going on with people. Not in some crazy fantasy way, but in a legitimate, ‘what could their story be’ way.

Once you’ve done this for a while, try to take in the totality of it. All those people have their own stories, stretching back and forward in time. They have family and friends, hopes and fears. The same internal monologue bouncing around their skull. Everyone of them was a vulnerable, impressionable child once. The world was scary and alien and they had no agency to control it. The world acted upon them and they couldn’t protect themselves. That shaped them, for better or for worse.

Really feeling the magnitude of this, the complexity of so many human lives; it’s awe inspiring. They may focus on trivialities at times, but the mere fact of their existence is a testament to human achievement. Human society hasn’t been around very long, yet we’re somehow convinced it’s a given, that it’s always been this way and always will.

See how far these Apes in clothes have come in a sliver of cosmic time.

Become a people watcher.


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