Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

My Photo
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is it Foolhardy to Tenaciously Try to Reach a Goal?

I was digging an 8-inch hole in my yard the other day, so I could plant a new climbing vine, when one of those big, black beetles crawled up. I don’t know what kind they are, but I often see them tipped upside-down on the sidewalk, legs waving madly, as they try to upend themselves. Usually I take a stick and gently try to turn them right-side up, not because I like them (ugh!), but because I feel sorry for them. I do get them on their feet, but as soon as I move the stick, they flop over again. Then I have to gently push them into the grass—but even there they’re quite ungainly.

This beetle was getting too close to where I was digging, so I shoved it away. It came back. I lifted it up on the end of my scooper and placed it by some leaves further away. Then I went inside to get some water. When I returned, I didn’t see it, so I dug some more. Then I stuck a ruler in the hole to see if I had dug deep enough, peeked in, and lo and behold, there was my beetle, at the very bottom!

Reaching in with my digger, I gently tried to scoop up the beetle—no luck. I got it on the tip of the digger and painstakingly edged it up while rubbing the tip against the side of the hole, and the beetle helped by trying to scramble up. Success! I got the beetle out; again put it aside. The beetle chugged away, so I resumed digging. No sooner did I look away than, sure enough, it was back in the hole, on the very bottom. I did the same thing over again, but this time I put the beetle on the other side of the yard. Then, admittedly a bit paranoid, I kept glancing up to make sure it wasn’t trying to return.

What I can’t understand is the tenaciousness of that beetle. Why did it keep coming back to where I was digging? And after I got it out of the hole the first time, it had to have seen my digger going in and out, so why did it go inside?

In some ways, the roots of plants are just as tenaciously foolhardy. They grow freely, blindly groping their way through the soil and sending out offshoots, until they come up against a barrier and have no more room to spread. But they keep trying, until they entangle each other so thoroughly, they and the plant they’re attached to die.

I sometimes wonder if mankind is just as foolish, although we’ve learned from experience that persistence can pay off. We can, at times, if we try hard enough, overcome the barriers we hit and reach our goals, but we also usually realize when being tenacious can be foolhardy. Perhaps it’s a matter of human nature vs. instinct.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Preoccupation, Rudeness, or Just Don’t Care?/LIFE IS PRECIOUS!

The temperature is frigid, with a plummeting wind chill factor. Outside the grocery store, many shoppers are abandoning their grocery carts in the middle of the lot, instead of putting them in the outdoor storage racks. A store employee is forced to brave the cold and forge throughout the lot so he can gather all the stray carts, line them up, and push them back to the store. The moment his back is turned—his fingers numb and face red from the chill—more shoppers are leaving their carts strewn all around.

Someone is roaring along the freeway in a car with a loose muffler; it’s actually bouncing up and down. One thunk and the muffler could drop off—not necessarily a danger to the driver, but what about the cars going at 55 mph and faster right behind and alongside him?

We order food from a cashier, a waitress, anyone whose job is to “serve” us so they can make a living. We regard them as a fixture instead of another human being. In a stern voice, we demandingly say “give me” or “I need” so-and-so, without even a smile, instead of saying, “I’d like” or “could I have.”

LIFE IS PRECIOUS; the only one we’ll ever have, at least in this form, unless you’re one of those who believe in reincarnation, which I don’t. Perhaps I’m a cynicist, but I’ve lost far too many people, and pets, throughout my lifetime that I loved or cared about. I’ve had mind-boggling dreams in which I’ve reconnected with them, in some cases even found absolution, but their presence during my waking hours is definitely gone.

My point is that we should treasure the life we have on earth now, and the lives of those we care about, instead of taking them for granted. For me, this means we should at least say goodbye every time someone we care about leaves our home. This means, if you see someone and like how they look, whether it be their hair, the clothes they're wearing, or whatever, don’t be too shy to tell them, whether it’s a loved one or friend—or even if that person is a stranger you’re passing on the street. (Besides, it’ll make both of you feel good.) If you’re at a restaurant and like how attentive certain waitresses are, tell them. If you appreciate a fellow blogger for whatever reason, tell them. And for others in general--especially those who are worthy--follow the Golden Rule and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Life is truly short, and nobody is invulnerable.