Social Animal

It’s a common thing to point out, that human beings are herd animals, that we’re social creatures who need a tribe. Everyone’s had to have heard it said a few times. Like most truths the first reaction to hearing it is probably, “Duh” or “No shit” but I think it’s something worth thinking about, because what does one do without a group? I guess they do what I do, since I’m a guy without a group, and what I do is nothing.

We need a social circle not just to be happy, but to motivate us into doing the things that would make us happy. I think the companionship is just a small part of it, but the pressure to perform actions which will raise one’s standing is what really keeps a person invested in the game of life. Without that investment, what is there to do? Survive, I suppose. But you can eat food, drink water, and sleep eight hours a day without even scratching the surface of your waking hours. So you just sort of flounder around without a group, performing the bare minimum of tasks required to keep breathing.

“But what about the solitary artist or the hermit philosopher? They’re not doing nothing, are they?” One might ask, and it’s a good question, and they aren’t doing nothing. But I don’t think most of those types are actually without a group. Artists are in a constant conversation with other artists, even if those other artists are dead or on the other side of the world, their work connects them. And philosophers are in communication with existence itself, which might give them the biggest group of all. The only people who are truly without company are the layabouts, the do nothings, and the only reason they’re layabouts and do nothings is because they’re without a group. It’s the chicken and the egg scenario, what came first? I’m really not sure, but I do know one thing, and that is that I can’t be blamed for being a bum. I simply lack the peer pressure required to stop being a bum, and I can’t exactly create a couple clones of myself to start hanging out with, nor can I materialize a friend group through any other methods. I am simply a blameless victim of circumstance who can do nothing to change his fate. One could even argue that I’m a tragic hero of sorts, I think that fits.

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