Monday, October 24, 2011

Why People are Wrong... Again.

I know that the majority of my posts happen to be slightly funny vamped up rants about why so-and-so is wrong about this thing or that thing or this other thing and why I'm annoyed at them.

So, it really should come as no surprise that today is going to be another (hopefully) slightly funny rant. (If I'm not funny at all, guys, please tell me. As it is, I'm going on the assumption that I make you chuckle/smile/laugh at least once in every five posts. If not, tell me, and I'll get really disappointed and go buy a llama or something equally impossible. kay?)

One of the subjects that most people take for granted is the, "if everyone was the exact same, what would life be like?" subject. If you ask someone, chances are very good (think 80%) that they'll say "boring!" or "Awful!" or "It would be horrible!" or "What the heck you crazy woman get away from me!"

If you ask me, though, this is generally my reply:
"I think life would be really cool. Because no one would fight, because no one would have a different opinion. Think about jelly beans. If everyone only liked red ones, they'd only make red ones, so no one would get jealous about who had red jelly beans when they only had green ones! And if you didn't know that people could be different, it would be normal. So you wouldn't care. So I think life would be awesome."

In response, I usually get someone going...
"You crazy, Angela. You a crazy woman."
(In which case I go, "are. It's 'you are crazy, Angela. Not you crazy." which is also when we start fighting about whether or not I can correct someone's speech. Which obviously I can, since I just did. But I digress.)

But seriously.
Think about it.

I know that the stereotypical response to "what would life be like if we were all the same" is the one people usually give. "Boring"
"Not fun."

But I really want you guys to think about it. What if everyone really was like everyone else? Of course, it would all depend on who the person was like. If it was a serial killer with a bad habit of killing ten people on Tuesdays, then obviously the human race wouldn't last very long. (Why? Because everyone would be out having a killing spree on Tuesdays, and if everyone managed to kill ten people before they died, that's a lot of people.) And the same goes if it was a horribly selfish, suicidal person who doesn't care about anyone else. (For the record, though, the nicest people I know are depressed/slightly suicidal. It's weird. The people with the most issues seem to be the ones most open to hearing what someone else has to say. Huh.)
But let's take a normal person.
(Normal meaning "well balanced, with no huge issues".)

Let's create this person.
(We'll call it "Jamie" because that can be a girl or a boy.)

Jamie is a regular human. They enjoy watching TV and eating popcorn. They really enjoy science, and even though they don't like math they know that it's important anyway so they do it. They prefer geometry over algebra, and they play the flute. They're pro-life, but are liberal on most other subjects. They really want world peace, and even though they aren't extreme environmentalists they still recycle what they can and have water-saving showerheads in their houses.

Now, let's assume that everyone on earth has the exact same personality. (Not that they look the same. As far as I'm concerned, we already have that in the general population of teenagers. You know how it is- long hair on the girls, medium/short hair on the guys. They're thin or obese, but nowhere inbetween, they generally wear the same clothing from the same stores and listen to the same music. Bleh. We don't need more of that. As a friend said, "everyone from (insert high school here) looks the same! They're orange, with platinum blond hair, and pink pants!")
Back on topic.

So, now everyone has the same personality. No one knows what it was like when people were different. When someone was pro-choice and someone else was pro-life and some other people don't even care they just want to watch Glee, and when there were some people who believed that the best thing to do was to go shoot everyone and some people who thought that guns were probably the worst invention in the world, and there were some people who didn't like guns but used them anyway because they were in the military and some people who liked pens and some people who liked pencils and some people who liked no writing instrument because they were sourpusses who didn't appreciate the written word...
All they know is that they're the same.

But do they know that? If you blind, born into a society of blind people who had never known someone who could see, who had never heard of sight... Would you know you were blind?
So, I don't think they'd know they're the same.

They would just know that they never fight about anything. They all have the same opinions. Advances in science are easy... but how far would they advance?
If we're taking Jamie's personality as our example, would anyone actually dedicate their life to math? Would anyone make any major discoveries?
Now, I'm sure they would. But I also don't think it would happen very fast. You can discover something by accident, but it's much more likely you'll discover the same thing when you're looking for it.

So, advances are going really slow, but I don't think anyone cares. Or do they? Even if someone has the same personality, that doesn't mean that they're going to be the same person. What if someone got cancer? Some of the others are going to want to help them. I bet that's where the discoveries would come in. Maybe? Maybe not. But there would certainly be more people to work on things like that, since no one has to be a lawyer, or a judge, or have to work in the government, because everyone has the same opinions on everything. And if everyone thinks the same thing, doesn't that get rid of the point of laws?
So, we have more people to work in other things. Like science, like math, like art. Life would be peaceful. No one would care that they were all the same, because it's nice that way, and they don't know what it's like without it that way.

After thinking about that another interesting thing to ponder is how alike we all are. I don't mean the orange skin blond hair pink pants way, but in the ways that we are universally the same.
Think about the "human condition". If you don't know what that is, search it.
To quote this site here,
"Humans, to an apparently superlative degree amongst all living things, are aware of the passage of time, can remember the past and imagine the future, and are intimately aware of their own mortality. Only human beings are known to ask themselves questions relating to the purpose of life beyond the base need for survival, or the nature of existence beyond that which is empirically apparent: What is the meaning of existence? Why was I born? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die? The human struggle to find answers to these questions — and the very fact that we can conceive them and ask them — is what defines the human condition in this sense of the term."
So, if we're all the same in that way, is life now all so different from the life we've imagined up in the body of my extensively long and boring post? Are we really that different from Jamie-Angela-Made-Me-Up-In-30-Seconds?
Would life be all so different?

As far as I can see, even if we aren't as similar as the Jamie-Somewhat-Clones would be, in most things we're alike. Maybe we could do to be more similar. Personally, I detest violence and war, and if everyone just decided that it's a good idea to stop fighting and hurting people and opressing people and abusing fellow human beans, I would be ecstatic.
(Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.)
But as it is, I think w'ere more similiar than we think we are. How many times do you find yourself thinking, "wow, they just don't understand"? How about, "they're out of touch with my life." or "She's insane!" or "What in the world.... That's not me! I'm not at all like that person! I can't relate!"?
Probably pretty often.

So, I'm going to actually ask now... What do you think? Would life be better if we were the same? Why or why not? If we were all the same, do you think we'd need laws? Rules? Regulations? Lollipops? Curfews? Prisons? Blogs? The internet? Would we all know the same things? Or would we still have to go to school? If everyone procrastinates as much as I do, do you think we would get anything done? Or do you think the human race would die out?
I'm not going to get mad if you have a different opinion as I do. I just really would like to know. And if you want, you can email me about it, because I'm always happy to have another excuse to procrastinate, especially if it has to do with a blog post that took me about half an hour to write up due to the rambling, unending, too extended sentences with love affairs with commas and due to the fact that I usually don't go this deep into... well... anything on my blog, so I wasn't really sure how anyone is going to take it and the fact that I spent 20 minutes before this analyzing documents.
That's the end of this post.


Gabi said...

Interesting post!
I really liked that.
I think that it would be good in the way that you outlined, but no so good in other ways.
I feel like humans need some amount of adversity, something to work for, and if they're 100% the same, it would be tough for people to find any sort of purpose.
Then again, it would be cool to see what nature vs. nurture does. Because if everyone is the same but grow up in different places, there would still be some differences at least in opportunity.
Did those last two sentences even make sense? Oh, well.
Whoa. Long comment.

Phill said...

Awesome post. You really go deep with your post :)
It's also a very interesting thought exercise.

Seeing as I was blessed (in my eyes) with a certain mental "condition", I find it hard to agree with the premise that we are not so different from each other and that everyone should have the same personality.

It is widely accepted that opposition is necessary: "opposites attract", "no good without evil", etc... in your supposedly (hehe)utopian world, there would be, as you say, no need for laws, but also little in the way of psychology, and moral philosophy/ethics. Which would be a shame. I also think that some areas of science (or the humanities) would not progress at all. What if this Jamie had no interest in Astronomy, or Medicine, or no talent for music? Imagine if the only literature was in the style of, say, Mark Twain? The world would be a lot duller place. For example: all art would be the same (as it was in Ancient Egyptian).

It's also worth considering whether one's childhood has an effect on one's personality? or would everyone be raised in the same way too?

Phill said...

oh and feel free to pm me to fully and more effectively express your (dis)agreement with my comment :p