Advice for a Human

1. Shame is a shackle. Free yourself.

2. Don’t worry about your inabilities. You have the ability to love. That is enough.

3. Be nice to other people. At the universal level, they are you.

4. Technology won’t save humankind. Humans will.

5. Laugh. It suits you.

6. Be curious. Question everything. A present fact is just a future fiction.

7. Irony is fine, but not as fine as feeling.

8. Peanut butter sandwiches go perfectly well with a glass of white win. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

9. Sometimes, to be yourself you will have to forget yourself and become something else. Your character is not a fixed thing. You will sometimes have to move to keep up with it.

10. History is a branch of mathematics. So is literature. Economics is a branch of religion.

11. Sex can damage love but love can’t damage sex.

12. The news should start with mathematics, then poetry, and move down from there.

13. You shouldn’t have been born. Your existence is as close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.

14. Your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.

15. The road to snobbery is the road to misery. And vise versa.

16. Tragedy is just comedy that hasn’t come to fruition. One day we will laugh at this. We will laugh at everything.

17. Wear clothes, by all means, but remember they are clothes.

18. One life form’s gold is another life form’s tin can.

19. Read poetry. Especially poetry by Emily Dickinson. It might save you. Anne Sexton knows the mind, Walt Whitman knows grass, but Emily Dickinson knows everything.

20. If you become an architect, remember this: the square is nice. So is the rectangle. But you can overdo it.

21. Don’t bother going into space until you can leave the solar system. Then go to Zabii.

22. Don’t worry about being angry. Worry when being angry becomes impossible. Because then you have been consumed.

23. Happiness is not out here. It is in there.

24. New technology, on Earth, just means something you will laugh at in five years. Value the stuff you won’t laugh at in five years. Like love. Or a good poem. Or a song. Or the sky.

25. There is only one genre of fiction. The genre is called a ‘book’.

26. ever be too far away from the radio. A radio can save your life.

27. Dogs are geniuses of loyalty. And that is a good kind of genius to have.

28. Your mother should write a novel. Encourage her.

29. If there is a sunset, stop and look at is. Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.

30. Don’t aim for perfection. Evolution, and life, only happen through mistakes.

31. Failure is a trick of the light.

32. You are human. You will care about money. But realize it can’t make you happy because happiness is not for sale.

33. You are not the most intelligent creature in the universe. You are not even the most intelligent creature on your planet. The tonal language of the song of a humpback wale displays more complexity than the entire works of Shakespeare. It is not a competition. Well, it is. But don’t worry about it.

34. David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ tells you nothing about space, but its musical patterns are very pleasing to the ears.

35. When you look up at the sky, on a clear night, and see thousands of stars and planets, realize that very little is happening on most of them. The important stuff is further away.

36. One day humans will live on Mars. But nothing there will be more exciting than a single overcast morning on Earth.

37. Don’t always try to be cool. The whole universe is cool. It’s the warm bits that matter.

38. Walt Whitman was right about at least one thing. You will contradict yourself. You are large. You contain multitudes.

39. No one is ever completely right about anything. Anywhere.

40. Everyone is a comedy. If people are laughing at you they just don’t quite understand the joke that is themselves.

41. Your brain is open. Never let it be closed.

42. In a thousand years, if humans survive that long, everything you know will have been disproved. And replaced by even bigger myths.

43. Everything matters.

44. You have the power to stop time. You do it by kissing. Or listening to music. Music, by the way, is how you see things you can’t otherwise see. It is the most advanced thing you have. It is a superpower. Keep up with the bass guitar. You are good at it. Join a band.

45. My friend Ari was one of the wisest humans who ever lived. Read him.

46. A paradox. The things you don’t need to live- books, art, cinema, wine and son on – are the things you need to live.

47. A cow is a cow even if you call it beef.

48. No two moralities match. Accept different shapes, so long as they aren’t sharp enough to hurt.

49. Don’t be scared of anyone. You killed an alien assassin sent from the other side of the universe with a bread knife. Also, you have a very hard punch.

50. At some point, bad things are going to happen. Have someone to hold on to.

51. Alcohol in the evening is very enjoyable. Hangovers in the morning are very unpleasant. At some point you have to choose: evenings, or mornings.

52. If you are laughing, check that you don’t really want to cry. And vice versa.

53. Don’t ever be afraid of telling someone you love them. There are things wrong with your world, but an excess of love is not one.

54. That girl you are on the phone to. There will be others. But I hope she is nice.

55. You are not the only species on Earth with technology. Look at ants. Really. Look. What they do with twigs and leaves is amazing.

56. Your mother loved your father. Even is she pretends she didn’t.

57. There are a lot of idiots in your species. Lots and lots. You are not one of them. Hold your ground.

58. It is not the length of life that matters. It’s the depth. But while burrowing, keep the sun above ou.

59. Numbers are pretty. Prime numbers are beautiful. Understand that.

60. Obey your head. Obey your heart. Obey your gut. In fact, obey everything except commands.

61. One day, i fyou get into a position of power, tell people this: just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. There is a power and a beauty in unproved conjectures, unkissed lips and unpicked flowers.

62. Start fires. But only metaphorically. Unless you are cold and it’s a safe setting. In which case: start fires.

63. It’s not the technique, it’s the method. It’s not the words, it’s the melody.

64. Be alive. That is your supreme duty to the world.

65. Don’t think you know. Know you think.

66. As a black hole forms it creates an immense gamma-ray burst, blinding whole galaxies with light and destroying millions of worlds. You could disappear at any second. This one. Or this one. Or this one. Make sure, as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.

67. War is the answer. To the wrong question.

68. Physical attraction is, primarily, glandular.

69. Ari believed we are all a simulation. Matter is an illusion. Everything is silicon. He could be right. But your emotions? They’re solid.

70. It’s not you. It’s them. (No, really. It is.)

71. Walk Newton whenever you can. He likes to get out of the house. And he is a lovely dog.

72. Most humans don’t think about things very much. They survive by thinking about needs and wants alone. But you are not one of them. Be careful.

73. No one will understand you. It is not, ultimately, that important. What is important is that you understand you.

74. A quark is no the smallest thing. The wish you have on your death bead – to have worked harder – that is the smallest thing. Because it won’t be there.

75. Politeness is often fear. Kindness is always courage. But caring is what makes you human. Care more, become more human.

76. IN your mind, change the name of every day to Saturday. And change the name of work to play.

77. When you watch the news and see members of your species in turmoil, do not think there is nothing you can do. But know it is not done by watching the news.

78. You get up. You put on your clothes. And then you put on your personality. Choose wisely.

79. Leonardo da Vinci was not one of you. He was one of us.

80. Language is euphemism. Love is truth.

81. You can’t find happiness looking for the meaning of life. Meaning is only the third most important thing. It comes after loving and being.

82. If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.

83. If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.

83. A watched pot never boils. That is all you need to know about quantum physics.

84. You are more than the sum of your particles. And that is quite a sum.

85. The Dark Ages never ended.

86. To like something is to insult it. Love it or hate it. Be passionate. As civilization advances, so does indifference. It is a disease. Immunize yourself with art. And love.

87. Dark matter is needed to hold galaxies together. Your mind is a galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile.

88. Which is to say: don’t kill yourself. Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars.

89. At the sub-atomic level, everything is complex. But you do not live at the sub-atomic level. You have the right to simplify. If you don’t, you will go insane.

90. But know this. Men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus. Do not fall for categories. Everyone is everything. Every ingredient inside a star is inside you, and every personality that ever existed competes in the theatre of your mind for the main role.

91. You are lucky to be alive. Inhale and take in life’s wonders. Never take so much as a single petal of a single flower for granted.

92. If you have children and love one more than another, work at it. They will know, even if it’s by a single atom less. A single atom is all you need to make a very big explosion.

93. School is a joke. But go along with it, because you are very near to the punchline.

94. You don’t have to be an academic. You don’t have to be anything. Don’t force it. Feel your way, and don’t stop feeling your way until something fits. Maybe nothing will. Maybe you are a road, not a destination. That is fine. Be a road. But make sure it’s one with something to look at out of the window.

95. Be kind to your mother. And try and make her happy.

96. You are a good human.

97. I love you. Remember that.

– Matt Haig, The Humans


One Comment Add yours

  1. TruLovExists says:

    And if I might add.
    98. Anything that you desire, you already have, so don’t worry that you’ll never get it. Instead, focus entirely on the path towards it.
    99. You attract the people, the relationships, the things, and the money that’s in your life. Whether these things are good or bad, whether they have a positive or negative affect in your life, you attracted it. So either change how you feel, or keep feeling how you are.
    100. You don’t have to read thousands of books or listen to hours of speeches at seminars in order to find truth. The real truth, the real forbidden knowledge, lies within you.

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