Monday, March 26, 2012

Humanity

"Here's the real question," Ms BYU said to our humanities professor. "Which is worse: roadrunner or an R rated film?"

Living in Utah valley, I've come to notice that we really need a humanities course. Humanities is the study of what makes us human. I feel like LDS people seem to not understand this. Being human is not about happy butterflies and cotton candy all the time. Being human is about so much more.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God."

That is interpreted to mean we are born with natural tendencies to go against God and all God is, so LDS people (and other religions, but I'm talking about LDS just for now) strive to be like God. We believe we can, and someday will, be like God. God is merciful, loving, compassionate, perfect, etc. There is nothing wrong with believing that. LDS people also believe, however, that God was once a human like us. There is nothing wrong with that either.

Yes, I do believe we could all stand to be a bit more god-like, in that we are a kinder, more compassionate people, but I don't believe we need to give up our humanity to become god-like.

Humans have these weird things called emotions. I know some of you monkeys reading this don't fully understand what I mean, but that's alright. Emotions are what separate us from you. While you can feel anger, sadness, happiness, and contentedness, we can feel a lot more. We feel beaten down, or enlightened. We feel lost or successful. We feel frustration or pride. That is what humans are. That's what all of humanity is. We feel.

No one likes to feel sad or beaten-down. Sometimes it just happens, and it's not something we should shun. Realist painters painted as they saw, the good and the bad. There were other painters who painted as they wanted life to be. Realists painted the pain and dirt on faces. The others (whose title I forgot) painted pretty flowers with butterflies and picnics in the sun during war. Neither were wrong in what they chose to paint. Realists simply believed that shunning sadness was being dishonest about humanity, while the others (if you know who they are, let me know) simply wanted to create something that helped raise spirits. Both reality and dreams create humanity.

We live in a harsh world where people steal our longboards and children starve to death. We don't live in a world where the light of God shines down on us and keeps us from being hungry while we ride down the canyon. People cry themselves to sleep and pray that morning doesn't come because of this that and the other. People aren't out picnicking on the cliffs in petticoats and tuxedos. Some people struggle their whole lives. In fact, we all struggle.

Naturally, we are all going to have difficulties. Whether you believe they are God's tests, or simply random events and problems, we are all going to struggle. So why does it seem like the LDS of Utah County are trying to avoid it? If God was once human, He struggled, too. Then He gave us the chance to be human, so obviously it wasn't all bad. Or if you believe these are all His tests, shouldn't you be glad He is thinking about you enough to test you?

Becoming okay with struggling is only one side of the coin. We have to realize that the world struggles as individuals. People go through rough times. That doesn't make them bad people. It's natural to not want to surround ourselves with people who struggle, but we can't try to create a people without struggle to better our society. It doesn't work that way.

There will always be people who drop the F bomb, or who use the other form of dam. There will be people who struggle with eating disorders, who shoot other people, or who don't like candy. There's nothing wrong with that at all. There are a lot of people who believe in God differently, or who worship him differently. Just as there are people like that, there will be films like that.

People make films with their personal context, whether they try to or not. You don't have to go along with it. That's fine. No big deal. So you don't like movies with sex in them, then don't watch them. Or you don't like movies with blood (that's me), so what? Don't watch them. If you get offended by strong language, then watch it without sound or just don't watch it. It doesn't affect anybody but yourself.

Ms. BYU mentioned above (not like the official miss byu, just a girl who is obsessed with byu and their standards) isn't a bad person for not watching rated R films. She is, however, incredibly annoying. I genuinely think she believes humanity should be about butterflies and rainbows and sun-shiny days. She can think that, as the other painters did, but she, like the rest of this little society here, don't need to force their sun-shiny thoughts down everyone's throats.

Yes, I love happiness and sun and flowers and smiles. But I do realize that there is far more to life than this little bubble. Humanity isn't always glamorous and exciting. Most of the time it's rough and sickening, but without those times, we can't feel true happiness. One without the other does not make humanity. Humanity is being human. Not being God. (That would be Godity...)

The humanities course is there to help us understand the basic facets that make us human. What makes us tick. What makes our societies strong or weak. The course is not there to entertain you with cutesy films about happily ever afters and wingless birds that fly.

Another awesome part of humanity is how we all believe different things and that's what fuels us to keep moving forward. If we all believed the same thing, life would be...empty. It would be 2D. We would all be cardboard cut-outs. Ms. BYU can keep loudly shouting to the professor two feet away that she didn't watch the R rated film because she signed up for the alternative list (code for "rated G, kids flicks"), and I will keep trying to not throw something at her, but someday reality is going to slap her in the face, and she's going to realize life ain't all about sweetness and smiles.

Humanity is being human. It's feeling the pain, seeing the struggle, and deciding where to go from there, whether that is dreaming to escape, or hiding, or even eating. That is what humans do. We live day to day, and face our struggles. I've noticed a lot of LDS people like to skim over those less happy moments and create false smiles, or even simply pretend that there aren't dark moments. That is not humanity. That is really irritating. I don't think we need to be grumpy-guses all the time, but it certainly isn't bad to feel a bit of sadness here and there. I personally enjoy my occasional bad day, as long as a good one follows.

Due to short term memory issues, I don't think this post made much sense. Sorry about that. Anyway, here's something for you to enjoy:

 I got a kick out of it.

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