Being human

Ahsan Mir
4 min readDec 14, 2019

It is hard. Perhaps I had too much coffee today. Not an outlier. I drink 6 to 7 cups of coffee by noon. Black, no sugar, the best way to get most out of those coffee beans. No shit, I am wide awake at 3:00 AM while I hear Allie, my dog, snore peacefully a few feet away.

I read all these Medium articles that fill up my feed, while on my way to work, on my way back. On the train, when everyone else is busy not paying attention to everyone else. Every one of them insightful, every one of them thoughtfully put together. These are fascinating times. Never before in human history, so many had this ability to share the most intimate of our thoughts. They collectively represent the human condition. Though it exists on a spectrum, it is not unique, what is, however, is the selection of those feelings and experiences that make us who we become. What we experience, someone else has experienced before, but those accumulative experiences, there is a fair chance are very different. Thus we are unique, like everyone else. We truly are.

What we feel, what we struggle with, our thoughts, how to live, how to be happy, find fulfilling careers, make more money(not very interesting), how to find love, lasting relationships, all these are fascinating and diverse topics. It is like a big self-help group. People share advice, thoughts, experiences of what makes us human. It is complex. What we feel is very much cultural, very much driven by language, as our words to some level outline, even if poorly what we experience. When we read something that resonates with us, we follow that writer. We have something in common, and we share that intangible that is so essential to our being, at some level that human, that writer knows how we feel. Intimacy develops between the writer and the reader. One has shared, the other has agreed. We tell ourselves, “oh, I felt that same thing.” But do we truly? I don’t believe any written language can fully express the range of human emotions. That is perhaps one of the reasons we find refuge in music. Music has this capacity to free us of our inhibitions, make us sad, make us happy, make us determined to push ourselves further. Music sometimes makes those hard emotions more comfortable to handle, and sometimes it makes it worse. We listen to the songs that remind us of things that are better off in the past. I have this habit of listening to the same song over and over again, 100s of times back to back. You cannot do that with written text, no matter how beautifully crafted.

It is not the fault of the language but instead that there aren’t enough words to express the uniqueness of our emotions. A language is a general-purpose tool and does poorly when we get into specifics. Almost all languages have these unique words that express some feeling so succinctly, Saudade, schadenfreude, arigata-meiwaku are some of my favorite ones, and here is a list for those who are interested in treasures that exist in other languages We all feel the same basic emotions of happiness, fear, anger, love, hate, and indifference, but all in very different ways. So what one feels, truly feels is perhaps cannot be expressed. They are unique, the baseline might be the same, but how it truly makes us who we are is very different.

So if you are reading all of these articles trying to find one that can express how you feel, to make sense of life, where it is hard to express yourself to people you know, afraid of being judged. To be connected with someone who shares the same emotions that you are experiencing, then you are in the right place. The best thing would be to share back. Only through expression, we can address what is inside of us, even if that expression is somewhat limited. There is an opportunity to connect with someone who has shared the same. Through that, you, the writer, will help that reader. So write on, all of this would be at some point be part of human history. Future generations will study this Post Modern era of free expression, wherein scores of people find that they are more alone than ever. Through these written words, we are connected instead of having those long conversations in person. So in some sense, all this search of finding someone who shares what we feel is our own doing.