Schwindenhammer unmasked

Schwindenhammer unmasked


I am going to tell you a secret. Seriously! And not just any old secret. I am going to tell you THE secret! The secret why we are what we are, you, me, everyone. I am going to tell you what makes us, the human species, mankind (if you excuse this male term), what makes us all if not special than at least unique. Ready? Here we go:
We are trying to understand. All the time. Everything. Sometimes consciously. Most of the time unconsciously. We are always trying to make sense of what we experience. All the time. We are wired this way. And we are pretty good at it.
Why does the rain fall and when? We have come up with rather useful explanations. How do we reproduce? We always knew how to do it but did not leave it at that. We just had to find out just exactly how. And why. So we are always trying to understand and even when we do not understand, our need to know and make sense is so strong, that, often without realising it, we make up answers where none exist for us. Eyewitnesses do this all the time, they are convinced they saw something they never did see, for example.
No other animal does all this quite the way we do. And as we are pretty good at it, we progressed, or in other words: We climbed down the trees and invented supermarkets and the internet and stuff in general.
So now you know what makes you so special, which is I think, some great piece of knowledge. But do not start partying just yet, because there is another truth attached to that: Yes, we are pretty good at understanding stuff, but we are no way quite as good at it as we think we are. Ever wondered why this or that s**t always happens to you? Ever wondered why you keep falling in love with people you end up hurting you? Did you ever ask yourself why you can not just walk through life like an ignorant smiling idiot, instead of bearing the misery of the whole world upon your shoulder? We are pretty good at asking these questions, but man, very often we fail miserably answering them.
This aspect gets particularly inconvenient when dealing with other people, because amongst many other things, we are a social species. We want, we need to be with others. And we want to be loved and understood. Amongst the most common phrases in relationships are utterances like “you just don’t understand me”, “why did you just do that?”, „what are you thinking?“, „what were you thinking?“ or “Do you love me?” If we were quite as good at understanding the world as we think we are and as our physical setup tells us to be, we would never have to ask this kind of thing. Yet we do. All of the time. Because knowing who we are ourselves and knowing who someone else is, even if this someone else is the most important person in the world for us, that is a very very complicated thing; so complicated actually, that we always get it wrong to some degree.
Luckily, you might say, because otherwise there would be no love songs (“I’m just a guy who’s intentions are good, oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”) or films (“Love actually” – actually? If it was so obvious, there’d be no film).
So life is hard. Nobody knows us, not even ourselves.
So being the clever species we are, what do we do? We decide to make it even harder for us. Because this is just how f***ed up we are. Instead of making it easy for everybody else to know who we are, we start pretending, acting, taking on roles and putting on masks. And we even invent whole branches of science to not explain why we do it, but simply to give us an excuse to keep on doing this. We tell ourselves that our environment determines who we are and that we are different people in different environments. We slice ourselves up into multi-schizophrenic personae, calling ourselves reader, user, viewer, consumer, voter, lover, cheater and other things, depending on the situation. We analyse communities, believing that we end up who we are because of the community we are in. We represent ourselves online and in games and at private sex parties with an avatar, fake name, fake identity, fake capabilities, masks and costumes. And it’s all fun and games – until someone cries. And there is a hell lot of crying going on.
So why do we do it? Because it is fun? Yes. Because we can? Yes. Because we feel insecure about ourselves? Yes. Because we want to hide so not to get hurt? Yes. So does it make anything better? No.
Let me say that again: no.
It just makes things more complicated. And it makes things worse. People in anonymity tend to act more immorally than people who are known and recognised. And how can we ask someone to love us for who we are, when we are doing what we can to make it difficult to actually see us?
So this is what I say – knowing I will be alone acting accordingly: Let’s be who we are wherever and whenever we are.
Let us be honest and true, let us try. Let us simply try to make things a little easier for us.
Haters gonna hate, people will get us wrong, we will not change that, but let’s not play their game. If we hide because we are afraid, we are keeping the reasons that make us anxious alive, we end up being part of the problem. Let us be the solution.
If we as a species are built to try to understand, let us be true to ourselves, our nature, our structure, our raison d’être, let us be who we are.
Hiding behind masks is not making us free, but imprisoning ourselves voluntarily. Let’s be free.

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