Unlike my previous shows, I'm bringing in a little bit of help in the second half - I will be joined on stage by the monk and neuroscientist who contributed to the book. I plucked them from obscurity and am now throwing them into the lime light. Since we’ve started rehearsing the show, they’ve become impossible. Both are brilliant but now it’s gone to their heads. The monk is completely out of control, he will only fly business class and is now the face of Lufthansa (I’m not kidding.) The neuroscientist has become very vain and started using my mascara. I found it in his dressing room. The monk and neuroscientist keep asking why do I have more lines? Why am I out here first? I told them I’m their warm up. Don’t ever work with dogs, children, monks or neuroscientists is the lesson I’ve learnt.
In the first half of the show I discuss what it is to be human. Many have tried to come up with the answer, but no one has - until me. Descartes attempted it with his theory, “I think therefore I am”, and everyone wore the t-shirt for a few years, but then it was found out he was wrong. We aren’t our thoughts. Thank god because, if that was true, I’d be a shopping list: “Buy cat food, find car keys, exchange candle from White Company for a cheaper one…" Endless, garbage ticker-taping through our minds.
The good news is that we humans are way, way more than our thoughts. Our thoughts aren’t even the tip of the iceberg because our brain is busy all the time, keeping us alive. It deals with around 11 million bits of information every second. In our lifetimes, we grow about 5 and a half miles of hair, 6 miles of toenails, make 463 tons of urine and every other day, we replace about a trillion cells, which, if you lined them all up in single file, would be able to go back and forth to Jupiter 17 times. I may not be exact with these figures. But my point is that if you had to think about all these jobs, you’d never get out of the house.
If we are not our thoughts and we are not our emotions, what are we? I will, of course, explain it all to you in the show, but I don’t want to give it away now, otherwise why would you come and see us?
I will share, however, that the main lesson of the show is that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Where did we get the idea that we’re supposed to be perfect? The internet is the culprit for jacking up our envy and making us feel like losers compared to the rest of the world who are lying about how gorgeous and happy they are. Everyone, everywhere is flawed - it’s the human condition and we should rejoice in our fuck ups because we’re still a work in progress. Just remember that we share 98% of our DNA with great apes, we share 27 % of our DNA with yeast, and 17% with a banana. Get over yourself.
Something else that will make you feel better about being human is to embrace the fact that part of our brain is a leftover from the stone age. That part doesn’t realize the wallpaper of the world has changed and time has moved on. It remains dirt primitive so when we don’t get what we want, we go straight back to the old killer instincts. Basically, we’re part savage, part superior, and the sooner we accept that, the happier we’ll be. We need to learn to forgive ourselves; to hug our inner ape.
When we make peace with ourselves than we can make peace in the world. If we change, the world changes.
Tickets for the new show are now on sale - book quick. The book, How To Be Human: The Manual, is available online and from all good bookshops.
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