Outwardly humans look quite different from each other. We have different interests, clothing, cultures, ethnicities, and physical features. Yet, peel back the layers and it doesn’t seem to be true. I mean literally peel back the layers of skin on every human. Expose the muscle and tissue that lays underneath us all. We are just lumps of meat. If we were to look around and people were differently proportioned meat sacks, we’d feel far less like an individual.
I started thinking about this after reading about an insight someone got while travelling. The insight being, “We’re all kind of the same”. This connected a string of neurons in my mind that produced a thought about paradoxes. We are all fundamentally the same, but we are all unique 1.
We already gruesomely physically peeled back the human organism. But, let’s more figuratively peel back the psychological layers. Millions of years of evolution developed the Homosapien brain 2. Our brain requires a few things to keep the host organism well maintained(defined as mentally and physically healthy). We need to meet physiological needs, food, water, shelter, sleep, and sex. We have safety-related needs, employment, good health, and resources. We have needs for love, friends, family, and belonging. Lastly, we need respect and recognition 3.
No matter where you are in the world. Wherever your identity is rooted. You will try to satisfy those needs. This is the by-product of sharing the same archaically developed brain. We are the same. But, not quite. Let’s explore the opposite side of the paradox equation. The -1 to the 1.
Our differences display themselves in how we go about satisfying our psychological needs. Let’s take a look at clothing. Most of us enjoy being well dressed. Being dressed nicely signals confidence to ourselves making us feel better. Which positively changes how we interact with the world. The underlying need is confidence, yet the satisfying of the need is subjective since we have different tastes in clothing. For some people, it can be a dress shirt and trousers. For others, it could be a nice t-shirt, skinny jeans, and exclusive shoes(Yeezys, Off-White Nikes, Rick Owens). And for stranger individuals, it might be a hoodie with dangling straps and chain pants.
The underlying motivation is the same across individuals. The means of expression is where the difference lies. This applies across all domains of life. Take for example work. The motivation behind work for humans is usually to provide, to express ourselves, and/or to make the world a better place. People find all kinds of ways to fulfill their needs. In expressing ourselves through work, some may choose painting, music, fashion, technology, writing, etc. etc. there are countless ways we try to express ourselves.
The subjectivity in the fulfillment of our natural needs is the distinguishing aspect between humans. But, can they really be called differences when the motivations are the same between us all? Enjoy each other’s differences. Internally we are all the same.
- Huh? Ya, paradoxes are confusing
- I just thought of a cool experiment. I wonder if a brain model can be made[in the far future(I hope earlier tho)] and exposed to a fake environment and then fast forward it hundreds of thousands of years to see how it develops. Cuz I’d like to see how our tech today is going to warp our brains. I’m sure it already has very mildly. But I want to see how to fundamental structures shift. Even a smart guy like Eric Weinstein claimed he has trouble reading a big book due to shortened attention span.
- Maslows Hierarchy of Needs