Well, now that you know the First Law of Humans and you’ve had a little time to let it sink in. Or you’ve literally been reevaluating every interaction you’ve ever had with humans. Clearly, results may vary. Anyway, put your thoughts on the First Law on hold for just a little bit and let’s discuss the Second Law.
The Second Law of Humans: Humans never change.
The Second Law comes with a warning. Never, ever, under any circumstance, even under threat of death, should you ever say the Second Law in front of human beings. In fact, this is the point in this handbook where the intelligent humans get separated from the regular humans. Intelligent humans will at the very least entertain the idea and keep reading to find out more. Regular humans will refuse to accept the law in any form or fashion. Then, they will call this handbook trash and give it to a friend they don’t like very much or donate it to Goodwill.
This handbook is rubbish!
Humans like to think they are dynamic and changing creatures. And on the exterior, that is a correct observation. But that is on the exterior. On the interior, humans never change. The core programming and behaviors a human has remain in place. And those core behaviors and programming are usually in place by the age of 15 or 16. Sometimes a little sooner, sometimes a little later. But it is relatively early on in a human’s life cycle.
Now regular humans like to argue. They like to argue a lot. And they love to argue their beliefs, regardless of facts. It’s exactly why religion has such a long shelf life. The regular humans I referenced above, even though they’ve given their copy of this handbook to a friend they don’t really like¹ thinking the whole time they are gift wrapping it, “[Friend I don’t like] will probably love this book. They think all kinds of crazy stuff like this. And now I don’t have to get them a birthday present.” But that seed is planted. And like a tiny little acorn, there is a small idea that will start to grow into a mighty oak. The regular humans will never ever believe the Second Law, but they will think of it often. They will make little lists of how much they change just to prove the Second Law wrong. Some may even go out of their way to change their hair color, or get a tattoo, or buy new furniture from IKEA in an attempt to show that they change all the time.
ARRGGGH! The thought of me not changing is as ludicrous as these instructions for this set of shelves.
But intelligent humans…they are letting the idea roll around in their brain pan. They want to know more. How is change defined in this situation? And is there any proof to back up this Second Law?
The answers to those questions are keep reading and yes, in that order.
In order to define change, we must define human behavior as a specific first. Now there are whole books written on human behavior. But rather than making you read a whole other book, I’m just going to sum it up for you for the purposes of this handbook. So, human behavior is what a particular human is most likely to do in a particular situation. If we go to an ice cream store with a human², that human is likely to order the same ice cream each time. Perhaps this particular human’s favorite flavor is chocolate. Then we can expect this human is most likely to order chocolate ice cream. Now sometimes the human might order vanilla ice cream or strawberry ice cream or boysenberry ice cream. But for a betting man, if you had to choose, chocolate would be a pretty sure bet.
That means change would be defined as a continued divergence in what a particular human is most likely to do in a particular situation so severe as to establish a new expectation of behavior. If the ice cream eating human were to start ordering vanilla ice cream enough that vanilla became a more sure bet than chocolate, that would qualify as change.
Now a favorite flavor of ice cream is just an example. It’s a preference, not a piece of core human behavior or programming. Human preferences change a lot. In fact, with some humans, their preferences can change from one second to another. And that may seem like a lot of change. However, with that amount of change being the case all the time, the quality of said human’s preferences changing so drastically then becomes a predictable human behavior in and of itself.
Preferences and core behaviors are different. Preferences are just that, what a human prefers at the time. Core behaviors are often a little more deeper and complex on the surface, but far easier to identify when you really stop to look at them. Survival is a core behavior in most creatures. Humans are no different. There are a lot of other core behaviors in humans that will be discussed throughout this handbook. But as an example of the Second Law, I am going to use one particular core behavior of humans: addiction.
Alcoholism is one of the common forms of addiction with humans. Humans love to drink alcohol to the point of excess. Something about the apathy that is associated with inebriation is appealing to humans. And most humans handle alcohol pretty well, relatively speaking. But some humans, do not. Some humans become dependent on alcohol. Because of their personalities, or upbringing, or whatever reason, they become alcoholics. And they begin a path, a downward spiral, until they arrive at a place called rock bottom.³ Once at rock bottom, they usually lose a bunch of their stuff, and then end up having to go to a meeting with other alcoholics to get better. This is, of course, a shortened and romanticized version of that process. The actual process of withdrawal is physically painful and mentally exhausting. And it is a trip that most alcoholics, if they make it out, only want to make once. And every recovered alcoholic you meet, once they’ve made it out, they never drink again. They never touch alcohol because they know how true the Second Law of Humans is. They know they haven’t changed. They know they are still an alcoholic. They are just an alcoholic that doesn’t drink anymore. And they are correct. They haven’t changed. That core behavior of being abusive when it comes to drinking alcohol will always be there. So as a result, they have altered their environment so that piece of core behavior is repressed.
Behavior successfully repressed!
And there are lots of humans who do this. They take steps to effectively repress core behaviors and programming. And on the surface, it may seem like change, but that’s not true change. Because with humans, true change never happens.
I mentioned briefly about core programming. Core programming is a little different that a core behavior. But that will all be discussed in a later chapter.
¹ Probably a non-human
² Humans love ice cream, cake, and pie. Actually, desserts in general. But according to humans social rituals they can only be eaten at the end of a meal. Unless it’s a birthday party. Or a house warming. Or some type of meeting. Or any number of other events where it is okay to eat dessert without a meal. Actually, eating desserts is okay any time as long as there are enough desserts for all the humans present.
³ Rock bottom is an Earth term meaning that you can’t go any further. This is because if you dig into their planet deep enough with a shovel instead of a laser, you will eventually hit a rock layer of their planet before getting to the creamy core. I’ve always thought the metaphor was short sighted, as there are any number of things (the aforementioned laser or a simple pick axe both come to mind) you could bring to continue digging through rock.