Wednesday, 16 March 2011

"I Hate People"

Today's title is a quote from a text message I received from a close friend last week.  She'd just finished being accosted at the mall by someone claiming to be an undercover security guard and basically trying to lure her into a dark corner in order to do unsavory things to her.  Just an average day for a young and pretty girl, it seems.  It didn't exactly inspire my friend with a great deal of love for her fellow human beings.

I was feeling particularly cynical that day as well.  I'd just had to call 911 on behalf of this old man who'd collapsed and was lying in the slush on the sidewalk.  He just lay there twitching, unable to get up.  My cynicism came from the fact that although I was probably the fourth person to arrive on scene where this guy was hurt, I was the only one who bothered to do anything to help.  Even worse, I almost just passed on by.  I glanced at the situation, thought "gee that's odd," and was about to continue on my way home when my humanity belatedly kicked in and I took charge of the situation.  So I'm jaded about all these people who couldn't be bothered to help at all, and disappointed in myself for only begrudgingly providing assistance.  

Both of these incidents  just make me wonder, why are we all such dicks to each other?  I mean, here we are, living in the lap of luxury in one of the best countries in the world, with as much freedom as one can get in this day and age and material wealth like mad, and yet all we can do is stomp all over each other trying to get more.  Our own self-interests rule the day.  The new Golden Rule seems to be "do unto others before they do unto you."  I don't know why but we've become a bunch of self-serving, over-entitled, spoiled idiots.  And yet surprise, surprise, no one is really all that happy.

Yeah, I hate people these days too.  I don't want to, and I'm trying hard to fight it, but it's an uphill battle.

Whatever happened to empathy and understanding?  Did we lose them in a trade for camera phones and 24-hour super stores?  Sometimes I think we did.  Great species.

Incidentally, aside from being creeped out, my friend from the mall is fine.  She clearly isn't an idiot and when her assailant failed to show proper I.D. and tried to manhandle her along with him anyway, she pulled away from him and got the hell out of there.  However she did feel badly because she didn't report the incident to anyone and saw this asshole trying the same thing on another girl as she was leaving the mall.  Don't feel too badly, darlin'.  From what I can see these days 99% of us are just as reluctant to get involved.  It's the world we live in now.  

So yeah, We hate people.


  1. I think you can replenish your faith in people when you look at something like the Japanese right now. The stories of the chaos and the basic goodness of people in that environment are really breathtaking.

    Ultimately I think we're spoilt, and we're brought up to be spoilt, and its going to take a big, devastating shock to change the way we deal with each other.

  2. yes we all need to take a really good look at how we are living out our lives and how what we do and the way we live can and does effect others. We are so spoiled, and it seems to always takes a crisis like an earthquake and tsunami and nuclear blowout to wake all us humans up to how we are destroying the world we live in. God have mercy on us all! im so glad to hear that you did the right thing and didnt pass him by, also that your friend got away, I am hoping as well that you still phone the mall and let them know whats going on.

  3. I hear ya man. I'm a big ol' misanthrope myself. That's why I've escaped to the country. Less people. I find that the more dense the population, the less likely people are to care about a stranger in need:

    I was recently in a car accident just outside of Stouffville and a lot of people stopped to inquire if I was okay, if they could drive me somewhere, if they could call someone for me etc... The police officer who came to take the accident report told me that I was lucky to have an accident up in the country, because had I been further south near Pickering people would have called the police saying: "Yeah, I just drove by someone who was in an accident. You might want to check that out..."

    It almost seems to me as if humans have a finite number of people they hold within their "circle of people to care about" and everyone else just gets shut out. And it's understandable: If you walk through the Eaton Centre or Union Station you just can't look each individual person in the eye, ponder what they are doing, what they are thinking, absorb their facial expressions and body language, etc... There are just too many people. But I think our minds want to do that when we are around other humans, so in effect we have to turn-off our perception of that stuff just to be able to complete the task of walking through that crowd to catch a train or buy a pair of shoes.

    And I think population density plays but one part. There's also the whole argument about how today's media and methods of communication are skewing our social interactions. I have been thinking a lot about empathy and mindfulness over the last few years and I plan to post my thoughts on it to my blog, one of these days... I think at least one person working towards a solution is Mary Gordon and Roots of Empathy program. I think there was a time when we used to get this education at home -- when we had larger families and lived in smaller, more closely-knit communities. But I think this type of education is necessary in present day society if we want to live in a world where people truly treat others as they would want to be treated.