I’ve been working as a cashier for about two months now, and I’ve been viewing it with the perspective of it being a very particular, but insightful perspective into the social reality of humans. Usually, this just means that whenever I go to work, I only interact with the people I meet insofar as I would naturally, but I reflect on my time at work and commuting consciously, not just to make sure that I’m doing and involving myself in the things that I sincerely want to, but also that I’m learning more about the world and what I can do in it. One of the things I have been focusing on recently is humanity itself, hence this series, but I have noticed in just this short time, while also comparing it to my own life experiences, that the depth of human personalities and emotions are not just relatable in dimensional ways, but the accompanying superficial patterns are also very easy to recognize once you become familiar with them.
Generally, people of a culture learn a certain kind of behavior to act in a certain, normal way. This is basically like coding certain actions and reactions to various emotional states in a standardized way, despite the fact that the conditions of each of our individual lives coincides with the differences in our emotional states related to certain facts, phenomena, and others’ states in reality. Society tries to enforce norms through standardizing a perspective, but our innate individuality resists that. This great complexity not only results in a great variety of personalities, but also a great depth of emotionality among people, especially considering the variety, complexity, and sheer number of cultures around the world.
What I mean to say is that we wear our emotions and our behaviors on our bodies like clothes. It is technically the art of theatrical acting that defines what “acting like someone else” is with a consciously manufactured personality, but this self-making is just what we normally do to some degree. We express core emotions ubiquitous in the human experience as superficial and specially personalized behaviors, designed and categorized by the groups of cultural societies we engage in and the influences of their philosophies. This is at least the social aspect of how we shape and are shaped by our environments, and learning the behaviors and patterns of emotional reactions in a culture can allow you to intimately understand it. The easiest way to do this is to become a functional and integrated part of the culture and live with it as if it were your own. This adapts your personality and mental framework to that of the culture you spend time with and gradually join.
If you want to really know and understand a person or people, putting in intimacy and time is the best way. Learning to adapt is as easy as letting go of past patterns for the sake of convenience. It’s easy for the current to carry you when you stop trying to go in your own direction, metaphorically speaking. Of course, this is not all we should do. Individuality would not exist without self-direction. And though we may not factually be a singular self among empty things, we do believe and act as if we are the center of our realities. In an odd way, it’s kind of the point to always be in conflict as it helps balance us. But learning how to understand the human expression is not just helpful for learning about humanity, it is also helpful in understanding individual humans.
In just the short time that I spent working part-time as a cashier, I have met so many people in even just one dimensional group that I have been developing another way of perceiving humanity itself. This was important enough to me to write about because what many people struggle with in life is perspective. We are not in as much control of our actions as we are of our perspectives, and most problems between people can be reduced or correlated to discrepancies in perspectives or beliefs, which are like foundational perspectives of reality. Learning how to view through the perspectives of others, see through their eyes by walking in their shoes, also develops our own perspectives and creates the great depths of meaning and significance that we are able to experience in life. Not all of this experience is good, but not all of it is bad either. And to me what makes life worth living is the great gems you find along the way and the gifts that come with them. If you sincerely involve yourself and engage with your life experiences, you can learn and develop in such dynamic ways that you may not have thought possible. Learning about others not only increases the complexity of your own soul and enhances the uniqueness of your life experience, but it also gives you and others opportunities to see that all humans are on some level the same.
Featured Photo is an illustration of mine titled Depth of Soul