The Human Race

The Human Race

The Human Race

The Human Race- A Distance Event.

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When I first sketched this image, I actually wrote the word “Distance” on the diagnol between the figures.
I felt as if these figures represented one the primary motivators of humans- the attempt to overcome the distance between us.

This sense of distance manifests everywhere.

Sometimes, we speak both ends of the topic.

We profess to want to “close gaps” and “seek understanding”, while in the mean time, media, images, and our vocabulary choices do everything in their power to further the perceived distance between us.

The distance between “us” and “them”; “have” and “have nots” is constantly exploited and encouraged.

Advertising and news images are especially adept at this. They work constantly off the sense of distance. Their images play to divide the audience.

It takes but a moment for your eyes and mind to register which part of the “us” you are fulfilling. And if you are an “us”, well then, you certainly would never want to be a “them”.

And for a “them”, the “us” is simply unattainable and it is meant to appear as that- unattainable.

And if you are lucky enough to be a “have”, well, then surely you could not be a “have not”.

A “have not” should equally get the message that he or she is not a “have”.

And so the divisions continue.

Then we are shocked, shocked, when someone acts in a way to reduce this distance that has been so carefully brought up, fostered, and foisted upon everyone.

It’s the human race. We simply are not aware enough to be winning it.

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9 thoughts on “The Human Race

  1. “We profess to want to “close gaps” and “seek understanding”, while in the mean time, media, images, and our vocabulary choices do everything in their power to further the perceived distance between us.”

    A little-known fact is that I really enjoy Jewel’s music and, with the exception of the holiday-themed records (since I just can’t stand those things), I have all of her albums. My favourite is Goodbye Alice in Wonderland and the first verse of the song ‘Good Day’ speaks to this bit here.

    It’s hard for people to close those gaps, part of this is us being hard-wired to pattern recognition and the importance of recognising things that ‘don’t belong’ and part of this is the societal conditioning that is so fucking hard to break for even the best of us. I don’t possess the hubris to think that I’m among ‘the best of us’ or even a very good one of us, but I do possess the capacity for self-analysis that recognises that we have to recognise how we create these gaps.

    It seems to me that there’s an ethical imperative to more or less be good and in a meaningful way: to not create needless problems that add misery to the lives of others, to offer relief to others as we can, to otherwise do our small part to make the world even just a bit better by keeping our side of the street clean even if we have a recycling bucket full of empty alcohol bottles on the curb.

    This is the only way I think we can really be good and better than other people. It’s not how much we are a part of the Zeitgeist or counter-culture, but how we function within the reality that we’re all in this together.

    • Great final sentence! that is what I was getting at.
      Like what you say about us being hard-wired to recognize differences. This is so true from a biological standpoint, yet, I feel it is often overlooked.
      The societal conditioning however is conditioning and is something that can be worked on .

  2. I agree Kim it is the societal conditioning. Look at the USA alone, how ‘society’ has changed, taken God out of the schools, a government that is ruining this country, abuse that is not addressed or talked about because of ‘societal shame’. This was a great post!

    • Here’s something worth considering.

      When Pretty and I go out to eat at Red Robin they project the tip at 20%. We can change it, of course, and we always do: we set it to zero and almost always do not offer a tip. The reason for this is incredibly simple and all but universally overlooked because of societal conditioning. Just what part of the wait staff’s job necessitates a tip, the part that is either just stand-out excellent or something that I could do myself but am better served by them taking care of it? Other service industry jobs like, especially, CSRs receive zero tips and have significant obligations/demands compared to wait staff. Other more important jobs don’t receive tips either, extraordinary effort in, say, the legal profession sees no expectation for a tip.

      In the United States we have all but universally phased out performance-tied bonuses while somehow de facto tying them into certain service industry jobs like wait staff. And to not tip is seen as anathema, as unAmerican, yet de facto tipping is further subsidising the paycheque of someone who’s cheque you are already, in some real way, paying by virtue of dining at that establishment -part of what you pay to go out to eat goes to each individual and various expenses, it’s not pure profit. To contend that wait staff are underpaid and the diners themselves should pay even more just to go out to eat is a disgusting thought, yet that’s the thought that most of the country has.

      Simply put, it’s social shaming and it does nothing but reinforce generally terrible and otherwise incoherent ideas. Reforming the tax code so that people pay more proportionately based on their income is, somehow, something we refuse to do and we refuse, somehow, to raise taxes sensibly in order to pay for things we need as a People…yet it’s entirely acceptable to build in tips with a dinner tab because that has become the cultural standard and to do otherwise is, somehow, again, unAmerican. It’s blanket incoherence.

      Our society as a whole needs to meaningfully change and from virtually if not literally every angle.

      • Interesting take on the societal conditioning. I had not thought of that example. I like the comment at the end of “meaningful change” – what is the purpose of the change? What are we aspiring to? Those questions haunt me some times.

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