I was wondering about how often we make friends in work, on college and university courses, through other friends and sometimes even briefly at bus stops or at the supermarket and so on, and it got me thinking that we often make good friends this way and then we move on and never see them again. In thinking about this, it got me thinking that so many parts of our lives are undiscovered, in the fact that we don’t give much thought to what can seem passing or irrelevant; I feel that much of our complex human nature can be found in such ruminations, if we only stopped and paused now and again, just to think about whatever is on our minds.
What is this human nature, why do we think so profoundly, why do we have the urge to create, or ponder deep issues, what is it in us that makes us yearn for things we can’t even express adequately? I think that it is pondering and coming to terms with our extremely complex nature, the thought and emotions we sometimes have and the yearnings for understanding and to make sense of who we are and what makes us tick, that we begin to see there is more to us than meets the eye. Human beings to some extent are motivated by their emotions, can be thrilled by emotions, or caged by them and often all kinds of people make decisions when they are in what can be described as an emotional state. We can’t escape our emotions to a certain extent, and sometimes they can blind us to greater truths. Some people are good at controlling them or masking them, whilst others are a slave to them and will act how they feel. In some cases, it is good to conquer emotions and in other cases it is sometimes good to be guided by them too.
We were made for variety of all kinds; to eat a variety of foods, to experience a variety of emotions, to do a variety of different things. Our imaginations can build whole worlds, even if those worlds are only in our head. An animal can go through its whole life eating the same things, doing the same things, and perhaps thinking the same things; but humans were definitely created for variety and to be more than the sum of our parts. It would be a boring world if we all looked the same and talked the same and ate the same food. We can all learn so much from each other after all.
Sometimes, for no particular reason, I can be thinking about things that move me in some way, for no particular reason at all and I can be carried off as it were on flights of fancy. I think all humans drift off like this and get caught up in daydreams of one kind or another. Much of what passes for reality for us as individuals could be part of an emotional state; what we love, who we love, what and who we hate, what we find beautiful, what we find worthy, what we dismiss as beneath our contempt and what we find that is of value. I sometimes think we ascribe great importance to what isn’t that relevant at all and dismiss or play down what is vital to us as human beings.
When we go on holiday or planning to go on a holiday, we can even as adults get feelings of anticipation and excitement; I certainly do anyway. The feelings when we’re walking alone on a beach in some remote place, or a forest somewhere or even when we are in a beautiful town looking at people and the shops and restaurants; it is hard to describe but I think all people need to value these moments, the moments of introspection and the moments of abstract thought and simple pleasures; it’s part of being human.
In understanding that we are often a web of complex emotions, feelings and abstract thoughts, we can begin to understand our wonderful complexity, the marvellous complexity of it all, the wonder that is a human being. How can anyone think that the marvellous complexity of a human being is just an accident, a glorious accident no less, but an accident with no purpose? When people ask for the existence of God, I could tell them to do no more than look in the mirror; you are the evidence for God! No need for theology or preaching there.
Do you sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? I know I do; sometimes anyway. For whatever reason, sometimes I feel that everything gets on top of me and even interacting with other people, even my good mates, becomes a chore that I don’t want to face. And like most people in life, I have things that I need to do and things that I want to do too. I wonder whether other people think and feel like I do, or am I completely unique. What is this human thing we are, these sad and solitary feelings, this urge to create, this urge to express our innermost being, this desire to communicate the deepest feelings we have? In these yearnings, that I think all humans have, we can understand the complexity of ourselves and begin to comprehend the nature of God too.
At the end of the 1960’s there was a sense of questioning everything, questioning the validity of western culture and questioning the very nature of humanity. The early 60’s was Beatles-inspired, poppy and black and white, and the late 60’s was a time when everything was in flux, a kind of transitional state; nothing was certain any more. Pop music and pop culture began to be more in tune with what many people were going through and what people were thinking. For a time, there was questioning, a sense of excitement and the idea that anything and everything was possible; there was a real sense of hope. Of course, today we tend to view the naïve assumptions of the hippie culture as lacking substance and real depth, and we tend with hindsight to see it as transitory and part of its time and place. All human created things pass eventually, however deeply held they may be or how lasting they may appear.
What if Jesus came in a suit and tie, and short cropped hair, looking more like a businessman; would we respect Him more? Do we often judge people by the way they dress or speak or by how they present themselves? I think we all do, even people who might consider themselves believers in equality and people not particularly prejudiced. If a person finds someone else attractive and the person next to them not attractive, they are making a kind of judgement, the kind that if we are honest we all make or we have all made at one time or the other. We all have people we like and we all have people we like less; in the same way we make judgements. I don’t know God’s answer to questions like this but I am interested in finding out. It seems to me that we should in all matters and as much as is humanly possible, treat everyone with the same respect and consideration that we would hope others would treat us with, regardless of whether we first like them or not.
In exploring our emotions and our deepest feelings, we might just come to some valuable conclusions. For me this might be to understand that human beings are whole worlds of knowledge, of discovery, of love even. Whatever, we are far more than we often think we are, that’s for certain.