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Human Beingness
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The phrase “being human” is one more example of the dumbing down of our culture. It makes my blood boil, which I suppose is an indication that I am only being human. Did we only recently invent humanity that everyone talks about it so much? Were people inhuman in the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s or even centuries before?
We do not deal with the enormity of human (good god, that word!) feelings at all, but must categorize them in one lump. I cry over a photo (which is itself a lie; I do not cry over photos): I am only “being human.” I smile nostalgically over a photo (which I do even less): again, I’m only being human. I laugh out loud at . . . well, I won’t bore you. The fact that I fear to bore you, that I trouble myself about you and perhaps apologize unnecessarily, is because. . . .well, you can fill in the blank.
Mostly I think the tiresome tedious phrase is used to explain not achievements but mistakes.
Is a successful novelist successful because he is more human than others? What determines one’s level of humanity? If I trip over a stone in my yard, and let out a curse word that offends the neighbor, who criticizes me and slams her door, which of us is more human than the other?
An Amber alert buzzed alarmingly on my cell phone this morning, waking me. Is the police force or whoever is sending out those jarring alerts (to people in bed who cannot do anything about a father who absconds in a car with his two children) acting “human?”
Oh, I forget! It’s not “acting,” it’s “being.” I assume there is a difference.
Why, if I donate several hundred dollars to a radio station. Why am I not lauded as “being human?”
“Jackie Davis Martin gave $500 to KQED in an example of really Being Human. Thank you, Jackie.” Maybe they will add “in these unprecedented times.”
What else would a human being be but be human? Good lord, but it drives me crazy.
Workshops tout: “We’ll discuss what it means to be human.”
Indeed. Tell me. How is it different from what I am being, inadvertently, if I do not take the workshop?
Is it the era of high technology—of inability of young people to write sentences, to think in complete thoughts, in an era of stubborn, unreasonable resistance, that such a phrase is born?
Is Mitch McConnell only “being human?” Is Trump?
Do we have measurements of which human is more human than other humans? Which being has more “beingness?”
I absolutely hate the phrase – and the reader knows how I’m going to end this rant, which will no doubt be excused by some soul of ersatz sympathy who nods her head in my direction and say, Well, she has a right to her opinion. She’s only human.

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