I recently finished reading “The Humans” by Matt Haig. In the beginning.. I didn’t like it.. I read what the book was about, I got an idea in my head of what I wanted the book to be like, and out of its 294 pages, the first 270 odd never done it for me. I continued to read in the hope the book would pick up.
The plot is based around a man named Prof Andrew Martin, whom after an incident one evening, finds himself no longer enjoying and accepting basic human life, but instead struggling to comprehend how and why we live. Therefore he starts to view our world as if as an alien, having never experienced our world first hand..
I felt at times as if I had picked up a book that had been incorrectly placed in the adults section of Waterstones book shop.
However, around page 271, near the end of the book, Prof Martin lists, all the things he has learned about human life since that peculiar night and it is at this point the book finally started to meet my expectation. I finally found some food for thought.
He questions everything – and advised we should too, in point number 6.
“Be curious, question everything. A present fact is a future fiction”. He then goes on to do so..
At one stage in the book he considers the mathematical probability of human existence, before the big bang (or any other possible theory of our existence). This is one of my favourite lines in the book, point 13 –
“You shouldn’t have been born, Your existence is close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.”
Its something to think about. The odds of us existing are near impossible, so why do we so easily dismiss other things because we have been told they are also near impossible.
Another point the Prof raised is point 14.
On Average ” your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.”
Think quickly now, of the days you have lived so far, how many can you remember and for what reason. Eliminate the bad ones, and the reasons you have for remembering these days, is how you want to try and live moving forward. The more days you can remember the better your life may have been.
Another suggestion, that is relevant to so many people I meet on a daily basis is that in point 15.
“The road to snobbery is the road to misery, and Vice Versa”.. This one is self explanatory.
One of my favourites is point 29.
“If there is a sunset, stop and look at it. Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.”
Remember to live, and don’t mis the opportunity to experience real life. This leads to point 46.
” Things you don’t need to live – books, art, wine, cinema and so on – are the things you need to live“.
Things that truly have the ability to make us happy are a key theme of this list, and this is put quite bluntly in point 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.”
I think this one is important, because I think its human nature, to take on heavy workload, to get caught up in things like our work, in which we forget that thats all they are. They are not our entire life, they are but a small part of a very, very long lifetime, they should only be treated as such. Remember whats most important, and give your time to it.
I think point 77 appears random, but when you think about it, its important in current times, and links with the points above
“When you watch the news and see members of your species in turmoil, do not think there is nothing you can do. But know that it is not done by watching the news.” Again, this one explains itself.
In the end I was relieved that I made the decision to finish this book. Matt Haig brings about some philosophical thoughts come the end of the novel, which is exactly what I had been looking for. There are 97 in the list, most relating to an experience from the story itself. It wasn’t until I got until the end, I realised what I had been reading. The books is kind of like an outsiders guide to basic human life and existence. Not to complex and in most parts not over simplified. Just enough to get you thinking, and to start valuing the things that matter…
In the end .. I kind of loved it.