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Humans are a Weird Species
Tracy Shawn -- Anxiety Fiction Novelist Tracy Shawn -- Anxiety Fiction Novelist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Santa Barbara , CA
Thursday, January 31, 2019



Tracy Shawn, M.A.

If aliens happened to land their spaceship in front of my house and then traipsed their lithe gray bodies out to get a glimpse of where the hell they were—and who the hell—we are, I’d have a hard time explaining all our idiosyncrasies like hypocrisy, dishonesty, and the overwhelming strangeness of our self-destructive nature.

Let’s face it: Humans are a very weird species. For one, take our fear of public speaking. A great many humans are more afraid to speak in front of an audience than the ultimate “good-by,." “see-you-never,." “adios-earth,." final demise. Why? Are we so afraid of the slight possibility of public humiliation that we’d rather die than speak? Come on, humans let’s admit that’s really peculiar!

And then let’s take a look at how we’re deadly afraid of death itself (understandably so, of course)—yet we still indulge in so many self-destructive behaviors that we often bring it on ourselves. Even though we know it’s bad for our health, we overeat, over drink, overdose on drugs and many Earthlings inhale the multitude of poisons in cigarettes, in what they jokingly refer to as “another nail in my coffin.." Not only that, we “forget." to put on our seat belts, drive too fast, and take other stupid physical risks that shorten our lifespans—as well as others. We don’t want to leave our loved ones, we don’t hurt others (well, most of us don’t, at least), and yet so many of us engage in self-destructive acts. Ah, what an odd concoction we humans are!

We are also the only species on our planet who lie (well, at least that we know of: I have a feeling that if we could decipher what our domestic felines are mewing about, we’d find out that they enjoy fibbing just for the fun of it). But I digress. How did we figure out how to lie in the first place? And more importantly, why do we do it? There’re as many reasons as there are lies. But mostly, we lie to get away with—or out of things. You know what I’m talking about: The husband who lies about how often he’s going to hot yoga (hint: it’s really about the curves ahead than his own body alignment); the teenager who lies about the real reason her grades have plummeted (hint: it’s really about getting high with her stoner boyfriend than it is about how unfair her teachers are); the friend who lies about why she didn’t show up at your birthday party (hint: it’s really about the fear of running into her ex-boyfriend than it was about her supposed migraine).

The odd thing about our species’ continuous lying habit is that humanoids often feel a sense of guilt—and with time, invariably get caught, anyway. And then the people they have lied to invariably have a hard time trusting them. Yet, the lies keep coming. So much so, than many people start to believe in their own “mistruths." and will adamantly defend them, even at the cost of a healthy relationship—or no relationship at all. In fact lying is so ingrained in our species that our politicians—the very people we elect to keep order and a sense of fairness in our society—bury us every day under barge-sized shovelfuls of bull. And…speaking of society, our very culture continually lies to us as well. We’re bombarded by ads that tell us we aren’t pretty, handsome, cool, successful enough and that if we only used their companies’ shampoos, guzzled down their beers, and even chomped on their greasy potato chips, we’d be that much better off.

This kind of lying leads to another weird trait that inflicts our species: greed. Yet another negative idiosyncrasy, greed often leads to a general sense of unhappiness and ultimate emptiness. And…yet again, the very people we elect, the most “successful." business executives, and even a great many individuals who are struggling to get ahead are often driven by greed and the false belief that the more money and material goods they accrue means the more happiness and sense of well-being they’ll feel. Yet study after study says that the somewhat rich—and even the outrageously wealthy—aren’t any happier than the rest of us. But just like the lying habit, gigantic swarms of humans are still making huge life decisions based on greed. Not to mention how the all-mighty dollar blinds so many individuals, governments, and businesses about the environmental cost to our only home called Earth.

Yes, we really are an odd, unstable species who are often ruled by fear—even if it’s irrational, enjoy sneaking around the truth—even if it hurts, and is driven by greed—even it disappoints. Yet…we are also benevolent, loving, and hopeful. Maybe what I’d say, then, to those hypothetical aliens is this: “You want to know what humans are like? Watch Star Trek; we’re a mixture of the war-mongering Romulans (who act upon raw emotion), the calm, clear-headed Vulcans (who act upon reason and logic), and…a contradictory species that you may call Neurotic.

Author and speaker Tracy Shawn lives and writes on the Central Coast of California. Her debut novel, The Grace of Crows (Cherokee McGhee, 2013), won awards for indie fiction, including the 2013 Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama and Second Place for General Fiction from Reader Views. Tracy’s short stories have appeared in Literary Brushstrokes and Psychology Tomorrow Magazine. She’s written numerous articles for print and online publications and is a frequent contributor to psychcentral.com. She has currently finished her second novel.

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