On Being Human


The Humans, by Matt Haig is a book I downloaded because oregana at As I See It  posted a lovely review.  That’s really all you need to read to be enticed, but I was never one for failing to add my two cents worth, so that’s what this is.

What a delightful summation of human life from an aliens point of view.  Well, sometimes not so delightful, since the blunt truth can give us a jolt.

I know these are long quotes, but seriously, I had to stop myself from quoting the entire book.  That’s how good it is.

“Humans were always doing things they didn’t like doing.  In fact, to my best estimate, at any one time only point three per cent of humans were actively doing something they liked doing, and even when they did so, they felt an intense amount of guilt about it and were fervently promising themselves they’d be back doing something horrendously unpleasant very shortly.”

“….they are born, they make some friends, eat a few meals, they get married, or they don’t get married, have a child or two, or not, drink a few thousand glasses of wine, have sexual intercourse a few times, discover a lump somewhere, feel a bit of regret, wonder where all the time went, know they should have done it differently, realise they would have done it the same, and then they die.  Into the great black nothing.  Out of space.  Out of time.  The most trivial of trivial zeroes.  And that’s it, the full caboodle.  All confined to the same mediocre planet.  But at ground level the humans don’t appear to spend their entire lives in a catatonic state.  No.  They do other things.  Things like: washing, listening, gardening, eating, driving, working, yearning, earning, sighing, reading, gaming, sunbathing, complaining, jogging, quibbling, caring, mingling, fantasizing, googling, parenting, renovating, loving, dancing, fucking, regretting, failing, striving, hoping, sleeping.  Oh, and sport.”

“Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.

Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass.”   ― Matt Haig, The Humans

It’s another one of those books that made me laugh out loud on one page and shed tears on the next.  Can’t give it any higher praise than that.