Human Beings

Seal’s third album, and the first single from that album, were both titled Human Beings.  The album ended up going gold, but it was definitely a step down in sales after the multi-platinum sales of the his first two eponymous albums, and the single was not a success, only hitting the top 40 in New Zealand and not charting in the United States at all.  The song, though, resonated with me with its melancholy lyrics and somewhat downbeat music.  One can hear in the song Seal [1] wrestling with the downsides of fame [2], especially in the aftermath of the massive success of “Kiss From A Rose.”  Perhaps, like so many people, Seal thought that being famous and successful would mean something, like a vindication of his struggles and difficulties and efforts, only to find that it brought him more difficulties than he had known before.  That seems, unfortunately, to be all too common of an experience, leading to a great deal of disillusionment from those who have become famous and have not found it to provide what they were looking for in terms of security and peace of mind.  It is not for no reason that another song from the album, a single from the “Entrapment” soundtrack, was called “Lost My Faith,” and was similarly downbeat and melancholy, and also a favorite of mine.

The song “Human Beings,” although it was not in any way a big hit, was large enough in my own memory at least to be brought to mind when I made an acquaintance of someone visiting Florida when I was a young adult.  This gentleman had been in a congregation of a fellow Church of God group where a shooting too place, and had received an injury in that particular incident.  I have long been an anxious observer of what drives people to violence, what it is that causes something to snap inside.  What elements of self-respect and respect for others helps us preserve the peace even in difficult times?  A great deal of self-restraint is required for us to get along with others, especially considering how easy it is for others to bother us and get on our nerves.  It is not a wonder that in the face of the pitiless demands of those around us that some people snap–it is more of a wonder that it happens far less often than it could.  Most of us, thankfully, find more productive ways to release the stress and tension and frustration of our lives before it is directed into desperate violence.

Although it is common to speak of other people as human beings, I must admit that in my own life I have never been respected as a human being.  Such respect as I have received in my life is not for who I am, but rather for what I have done or am doing.  Rather than a human being, I am most definitely a human doing, as I frequently humblebrag or lament about.  Most people that I have seen have been inclined to think poorly of me initially.  I am not the sort of person who has tended to make a good first impression in my life.  Where a bad impression has changed into a good one, it is the result of a lot of doing, of the relentless and determined effort to do good over and over again, to turn envy and hostility and enmity into friendship.  Given that I have lived my life, at least as an adult, without the sort of violence that I endured as a child, it appears that this attitude of human doing has at least allowed me to make myself heard and to demonstrate my good intent and feelings through my actions and behaviors.

This is probably not an uncommon problem.  It is one thing to say, as many do, that we are created in the image and likeness of God and are to be treated as such, but that is not the way of this world.  We value others as human doings, not as human beings, in the main.  I do not say that all of us do this or that we do this all of the time, but that is the general tendency of our day and age.  The evidence for it is all around us.  Where is the regard and respect and tenderness shown to those who are vulnerable and unproductive?  Are unborn children or the elderly and infirm treated with respect and concern in our society?  Not at all.  What about those who are disabled?  Where is the love shown to those whose bodies and minds and spirits are shattered by the difficulties of this life?  They are told to buck up, to put on a happy face, and to let no one see the struggles of life, lest we be considered as weak or pessimistic.  No, we all learn the lesson young and continue to have that lesson reinforced that in life we are valued as human doings, and when we can no longer do anything productive we may as well not exist at all.  How can security and peace of mind be built on such an unsteady foundation of sand as that?

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church of God, History, Music History, Musings, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Human Beings

  1. Pingback: Human After All | Edge Induced Cohesion

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