7/20/2011
Misanthrope

A hater of humankind.

I expected the word misanthrope to have a slightly more convoluted - nay, slightly more academic - definition than that. A hater of humankind. It's to the point, but it's quite harsh, to quote the people who prefer to use the word dislike to express their, umm, hate of certain things.

It's one of those words I never encountered until I was forced to confront its meaning. Yes, I'm on the verge of going there, but I won't take that one last step.

Asia and I were having this conversation about weird, quiet people - there! - which led to our discussion of the word. I actually was the first one to throw the word into the pan.

"She's generally a misanthrope," I said. "I wouldn't know."

"Wow," she said. "Never thought I've encountered a misanthrope before."

"I write a lot, but I never even learned of the term 'misanthrope' until I met her."

"Ganun? Maybe we should stop talking about misanthropes. It's not healthy."

"Interestingly, she has friends."

Perhaps the dictionary definition is too harsh. A hater of humankind? Maybe it should be one who dislikes humankind. Maybe one who dislikes certain qualities of humankind. I'll admit, I latched on to the term when Icka introduced it to me because at the time it just sounded so appealing, but something just didn't feel right. You see, if you absolutely hate everyone with a passion, you should be spending your days sleeping, and your nights crawled up in your bed, in the dark, going existential on yourself. But everything wasn't consistent with my people-are-ganging-up-on-me mindset at the time.

Perhaps the right definition should be one with a deep distrust of humankind. You know, you can still deal with people, but you approach everything with an unhealthy dose of suspicion, a belief that everyone is out to screw with you.

With that in mind, well, perhaps I am a misanthrope myself.

Cue my stock response: I wasn't always that way. I was very friendly when I was a kid, and I still am friendly now. But along the way, people bullied me for no reason. Along the way, people decided that I wasn't worth being a friend. Along the way, people decided I was too weird for them. And all that made me become more suspicious - more guarded is a euphemism, but I'll say more suspicious instead - of people. Nobody is ever concerned about me; all they want is to see me dead.

I was really cranky last night. I was watching the news and found myself complaining more than usual. People complain about billboards and then set new ones up. People complain about the existence of zoos but they don't know what they're talking about, mostly because they're elitists with their heads up their asses. You get the idea. I was just complaining about everything being so wrong.

Maybe I am confused. Maybe I am not a misanthrope after all; maybe I'm just cynical, which is something I openly admit to, and something that isn't universally considered as terribly wrong... yet.

But I had that conversation with my mother again. I think my mother hates me. Or, at least, I think my mother hates the way I think. "Galit ka sa mundo?" she'd always ask me, and then she'd go, "ang bigat-bigat siguro ng dinadala mo," in a very sarcastic tone, like she just wants to get rid of you or something. Or maybe I feel that way because she never really listens to my complaints, because she always excuses herself from my rants by saying that I've said it over and over again, when in fact there's always something new for me to be annoyed at.

"Alam mo," she'd say, "magbago ka naman. Hindi lahat ng tao magbabago para sa'yo."

Palagi na lang ganyan, I'd think. Ako na lang dapat nagbabago.

When you get dealt with that way, pretty much every single time, you will have the urge to crawl back to whatever shell you came from and just stay there. What's the use? you'd ask. I tried my best and nothing ever happens. People go on about working hard to get what you want but, alas, some people are just very lucky, and some people are the complete opposite. Some people get a favorable response, and then there are people like me, who's traumatized enough to consider himself a misanthrope. One who has a deep mistrust of humankind, and the way they build relationships, and get ahead in life, and everything else in between.

And yet here I am, hoping to make friends, trying to make friends, despite this deep-seated suspicion that all that I do - all that I ever do - will end in nothing. Which happened many times before.

Perhaps I should just settle for cynical.

And your responses...

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