What Does It Mean To Be Human?

I returned to being atheist on Jan 2014 after having been Christian for a bit more than 3 years from 2010 Nov – 2014 Jan. I’d probably write about why the conversion in another article, but the question that dawned upon me when I made the decision to become atheist again was, how do you want to play the game of life?

For the next few months since becoming atheist again, the thing I wanted to do most with the rest of my life, was to be more human. Solving this would be a huge hurdle in finding sustainable satisfaction in life.

Many self reflections into the past has always bothered me on how much I’ve de-humanized over the years.

To provide context on who I was before – My grandmother always kept saying that out of all her grandchildren I was the one who had the most “人情味”, which roughly translates as was the most human (eg. thoughtful, authentic, empathetic). My mother always said that I just loved being in the company of crowds. My sister once remarked how the brother she used to know was a warm human being that really cared. I had a high school friend who I met up with after not seeing for a long time who said he remembered me as someone who really had a passion in life, being interested in many things.

I’ve always wanted to be like a fairy in a sense that I’d just fly around crowds and light the whole room up with joy, laughter and love. It’s just who I am. And I think I let myself not be a fairy over the years for fear of how others would view me (eg. questions about my masculinity) or hurt me.

And I’ve always been interested in many things. This is also something I’ve let myself not do over the years for fear of being seen as wishy washy, and also for fear that a shotgun spread of time, energy and effort on multiple interests simultaneously wouldn’t get me anywhere in life.

And the anywhere in life I want to get myself into, is freedom. Freedom to be a fairy and free to pursue many interests in life without fear of any repercussions that would threaten my survival. This fear is very strong because before I can be financially free and really not give a crap about losing opportunities just because people’s biased views deem me not worthy of opportunities after revealing who I am, not revealing who I am is essential to getting opportunities to get myself financially free as soon as possible.

Which is ironic, because the pursuit to be who I am without fear of any repercussions is exactly the thing that’s been suppressing who I really am. Thus the strong need to really come up with an answer to what does it mean to be human, because ultimately, being human is how I want to play the game of life. If I don’t know the answer, my current pursuit to financial freedom really has no meaning.

So what does it mean to be human?

I’ve given glimpses of what I think it means in the previous few paragraphs, but it really surrounds the Taoist mentality that all should return to the state of a child.

Returning to the state of a child is to return to the state where everyone was most human. For me that means (in no particular order) being authentic, being spontaneous*, being curious, being funny, being empathetic.

I’m not saying who I am now is bad, since acquiring the skills to being smooth, being structured*, being efficient, being mature and being logical has helped me immensely in achieving things in life so far. It’s just important to remember who I really am and who I really want to be like everyday. Being 100% human doesn’t have to start after achieving financial freedom, I can be as human as non-opportunity threatening as possible before I get there.

*I would note that I am inherently more structured than spontaneous (I’m an INFJ in MBTI personality test), but I found out that I really do love to spontaneously send warm messages to people around me, which is why I want to be more spontaneous as it is part of what makes me more human


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