In a conversation with a friend yesterday he said that one thing that makes all people similar is their need for attention. Old, young, good or bad it really doesn’t matter but everyone just wants to be attended to. We might go about it through different means and channels but the bigger goal is always identical, every single time. The way our brains are wired, our feelings, the actions we take, the reactions we respond with to situations are always similar, because we are all just the same people.
It starts at an early age, before we can even walk or talk actually. For instance, when a baby cries when the mother puts him down, and smiles when she picks him up to stroke him. Childhood is where our emotions, feelings and thoughts are the clearest, because this is before we develop defensive “coping mechanisms” to help us survive in this supposedly cold world. Babies want to be attended to and they play certain mind games to go about achieving such, so it’s impossible to ignore your kid when he’s crying and rolling on the floor. Babies are generally happy, because they have a positive outlook on the world. Again, this is before you discover you cannot always have your way with everyone and everything. This is before you discover actions have consequences, so you do anything recklessly and you’re know you’ll get away with it because you’re just a “baby”.
The years before teenage years are when young people start to get bitter at the world a bit. That is when you start learning about responsibility. You learn that you cannot talk to your elders in a certain way, you may not eat this and that, you must do the dishes and keep your room tidy at all times, you must do your homework before watching your favorite cartoons and you’re not to stay up at night until certain time. This is introduction to a harsh reality, especially for someone who is used to getting their way. And the problem about all these rules and responsibilities is that you have to comply or there will be consequences. Consequence is always punishment. They differ from one family to the next, on another family they might ground you, others deprive you of your favorite possessions and some just do it the old school way, straight up kick your butt (obviously not in that harsh manner).
By the time you get to the teenage years you are already fed-up. That is when the rebellion commences. You no longer do your chores thoroughly or in time, and now you no longer comply with family rules you lived by your whole primary school life. You are overwhelmed by the world. You have given up on the idea of getting the stroking and the attention you need from home that you start looking for it elsewhere. At this stage, influences on the streets start to be more powerful in your life than those at home. You have this delusion that you are experiencing unique circumstances in life and you cannot talk to your parents about them because “they would not understand”. Now all of the sudden your friends become so resourceful, so understanding, and so supportive that spending time with them is more meaningful than spending time at home. The changes in your body make it all worse; the curiosity to experiment with sex and drugs doesn’t help it either. Long story short, at this point you commit so many mistakes that you don’t even recognize as mistakes. All your life you have recognized mistakes with consequences, and now it becomes harder to recognize them since there is no one taking your cellphone from you or hitting you with a belt, because as kids get to a certain age, parents lose the will and power to apply the belt method to reinforce the sense of responsibility in their children.
The adult life is all about responsibility as well. And it gets more complex at this stage because it’s one thing to be responsible for doing the dishes, and a complete different story to have to be responsible for providing something to put on the dishes so they can be there to be washed. Responsibility is at its peak at this stage because now you’re not just responsible for certain responsibilities, but you’re now responsible for people as well. You have to work so you can provide food; have a home and the works not just for you, but for other people as well. At this point you cannot just quit your job and start traveling because if that venture fails, you’re not the only person who will be affected. The quality of your adult life is often determined by how well you did as a teenager. You can never compare a person who took extra classes, was the ambassador of the swimming team at high school, played chess on Saturdays and went to church every Sunday as a teenager, with a person who hosted all the neighborhood parties, skipped school and dated every cheerleader as a teenager. So let’s backtrack a bit, the times that went unpunished as a teenager were actually preparing you for this. It didn’t slide, it simply got banked. So being hit with a belt is nothing compared to being an unqualified barber who lives in informal settlements whilst the people you grew up with are corporate giants who drive German cars, wear Tom Ford suits and have mansions by three in every state.
The quality of your life also leads to certain feelings. No idea is original. These are feeling every one of us experiences at some point or another. We never really talk about them so we never really know that we’re not the only ones who go through such and such.
Let’s talk about love. How pure, original and unique the feeling is that no matter how hard you try to describe it you just feel that people do not really “get you”. And at that time you forget that every one of us goes through love at one point or another, and even if you remembered, you would still feel that yours is different than others, so they still do not really “get you”. And all of us, like all of us, have felt that at some point or another. We have looked at a lady with a big butt, desired her and started to fantasize about what we would do to that butt given a chance. The idea is really fascinating until you remember you’re in public and how other people might be watching and as you look around to the check the coast you realize that that other guy looking out he’s car’s window is looking at the same woman and probably thinking the same damn thing as well.
We all have hated certain people or certain situations, and the feeling was so powerful that every time you saw them you just wanted to scream ‘I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!”. The feeling of hatred is the only feeling that is almost as powerful as love. If you hate someone, they can go to Africa and cure Ebola, build schools and libraries and drop off Christmas goodies for homeless people you would still find some angle to look at it as a bad thing. Another thing about hatred is that there is a very thin line between it and jealousy. As the matter of fact, any hatred that cannot be justified using common sense is jealousy. Jealousy is cousins with pride and shame. Sometimes we are just too proud to humble ourselves and be grateful to someone for the good that they are doing, and sometimes we’re just too ashamed to admit that some people are doing better than us since we always thought that we would be the ones who do better. And everyone at some point has reacted with these responses, nothing is new. And if you think that you have never, it would not be strange at all as you would just be reacting with yet another completely normal human response everybody has, it’s being in denial. We all have it. Nothing is new.
Is being young so fulfilling that we spend the rest of our adult life trying to recapture the power we believe we once possessed as kids? We may never really know. But nonetheless we had the greatest possessions of this world as kids, love and attention. In the quest to reacquire these two people do crazy things. Some people murder people in a series, in a certain pattern and leave certain traces so that someone would be able to piece it all together someday and catch them. Why? So that somebody can notice them. Even your normal everyday crimes there are people who do not steal because they are poor, but who do it so people can know they are criminals and they’re dangerous. Why though? So that they can be given certain attention, love and respect.
Attention seeking is really that vast that it consists of every being in this world. No idea is original. A friend of mine once said he has always wished to get sick so that he can be noticed, cared for and catered to. And he expressed it so explicitly that I learned that it was not the sickness he longed for, but rather the attention that came with it. Poor people use the very same method, they do not enjoy being poor but they do enjoy being noticed, felt sorry for and provided food parcels to that they feel entitled to them, and hell would break lose if the privileged were to neglect them in that way.
The rich seek the same attention as well, as in some cases delivering food parcels is about stroking their egos than caring for the needy. Rich people feel entitled to certain things as well, that people of lesser social status are obliged to treat them in a certain way, it is your duty to know who they are, you are not to say no to them and you are not to correct them, even when they are really being out of line. The previously disadvantaged are even worse, they believe they possess special powers and that is why they were able to turn their circumstances around, everyone else must praise their capacity and they have earned the right to look down on other people because nobody else possesses what they do.
I guess we would go all day if we were to talk about certain behavioral patterns that we all possess, but for some reason everyone thinks they are the only ones. Any idea you might think of, no matter how crazy, creative or stupid, just know that they is somebody who has thought of it before, or even implemented it in some instances.
“No idea is original; there is nothing new under the sun. it is not what you do, but how it was done”.