Have we become human doings rather than human beings?

First. Let me share with you a trick that makes the world a better place.

Whenever I see the word ‘doing’ I try to pronounce it phonetically, to rhyme with ‘boing’ (the onomatopoeic word for a bouncy noise). In just the right circumstances, reading ‘doing’ as ‘doing’ will bring immense laughter. I recommend it.

Anyway, it doesn’t make the question any more absurd, so we may as well do it here as well.

You can’t stop being. You just can’t. Until you die. At which point you do definitely stop doing. But really, although you might not be there to see it, there’s definitely a part of you (possibly the whole) left behind, still being.

I guess on a conceptual level the idea of the question is that we as a species have stopped taking the time to stop and think. Stopped spending time focussing on the pure pleasures of existence, instead spending all of our time with busywork.

At first glance, I’d agree with that. There isn’t enough time spent sitting and contemplating the beauty of the universe (and the way the world keeps spinning) and instead we get ourselves wrapped up in pointless things to do, like chase after currency so we can keep ourselves decadent.

But at the same time, I’ve already spent a chunk of this morning debating the fact that my life feels pointless. I’m spending my whole life busy, but I’m not really doing anything. My life has no impact, no meaning, and no point.

Because I’m going nowhere. Spending a lot of time being me, without really deciding what I should be doing. It’s actually quite easy to just be yourself into irrelevance. Have no part in anything greater. Constantly be pursuing things that even you know have no meaning. Because. Well… there’s a need to maintain even personal status quos. There’s expecations to be a certain way.

So I guess it depends which way round you put being and doing. How to you decide which means what. They are meaningless, just like life, just like the universe.

We come from nowhere, we go nowhere, and when we die, we’re even more nowhere.

So what’s the point.

The universe is iterative. Each moment is built on the previous one. It isn’t aiming anywhere. It isn’t really doing anything. It’s just being.

We’re a part of that universe, and it means that actually, despite the difficulty of feeling like anything is meaningless. It kind of isn’t.

The moment we are part of now, builds a future, and that future will go on for quite a while.

We can only make the tiniest impacts. But we are in an odd position where it appears we can decide what those tiny impacts are.

Learning to be human, and what that can mean, is what we are here for. Not even human. Just learning to be something.

It’s up to us to decide what we are, and to be, and do that.

Either way. We’re here.

Illustration by Rosie‘s Adam (not our regular Adam)


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Questions by Helen, Special Guest Illustrations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Have we become human doings rather than human beings?

  1. Pingback: Which is more significant, being or doing? | Unstruck

  2. Anonymous says:

    Trying to find meaning and purpose is useless.
    Does anyone ask electrons what purpose they serve? Or quarks, leptons, elephants, or manatees? Nothing in the universe (that we know of so far) questions “why” and elevates itself to the point of needing “to be” rather than simply exist. Yet in order to simply exist, or even survive, we must play this abhorrent and unnatural game of “doing”. I am certain it will eventually drive us all insane, if we’re not there already.

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