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Edition Nº11 HumanOS
A collection of stories, reflections and transformations of people and brands
Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:Reader]
quote before you are mosotho
This I believe to be true.

Prior to assuming any role, title, description — you are human first. A fact that often (sadly) gets lost in the thick of thin things, especially in those moments when we forget that we are consumers some of the time and are human all of the time. These insights are coupled with the rich understanding that we are called human being for a reason — to focus on our being. I suspect if the Force (however you address it) intended for us to be the busy bees and chasers we’ve been socially programmed to become — we would have been called human doings.

I offer these provocations as an entry point into my key thought for this missive.
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What does it take to be a good human?
  • What makes us good and what makes us not-so-good?
In my estimation, it is our consciousness and imagination that separate us from other life forms — yet to see how we at times use these to cause harm and damage to fellow beings, can make you wonder whether we are truly the smarter versions in the kingdom or the privileged ones who’ve squandered our goodwill. When we are at our best, we donate our data to help the over 60’s register for our country’s Covid vaccine program, we dial into radio stations and offer donations to a distressed caller who may need financial and/or psychological support, we make eye-contact with the mother and child begging on our street corner, even when we have no money to offer, we offer them the highest and most priceless gift, dignity - for, in our exchange, we relay that they are ‘seen’ and they ‘matter’.
In our good moments we support fund-raising causes that are aimed at uplifting communities and filling the cracks left by our increasingly corrupt government (such as these good folks), we create circles of safety such as happened on June 5 on a cold winter’s morning, in which we can cradle each other’s hearts, sharing from our most pained spaces — not as a public display of woundedness but rather as an offering — an acceptance of a shared recovery.

In those spaces we exchange coping mechanisms, restorative practices and offer that most important balm at this troubling time — kinship — the reminder that ‘you are not alone.
sizakele
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When we gather in this way — when we connect in this way — when we co-create in this way — with positive intentionality — we advance not only humanity but also nurture ourselves. Such practices and soul-resetting behaviours informed my concept of the HUMANos - the Human Operating System.

Computers and cars have operating systems, which when entangled or over-worked can be rebooted to restore factory settings. How do we reboot and/or restore the HUMANos to factory settings? And what are those factory settings? I offer here, suggestions, not based on empirical data, but informed by one’s lived and observed experience. I offer that our factory-setting is fixed on a dial of love and as we grow and evolve, are hurt, disappointed, cheated out of fair pay, excluded, robbed in our homes or driveways, judged, overlooked in favour of the privileged, deprived of fair access to opportunity, discriminated against, shamed for being different (e.g. childfree), are ‘othered" ( as per Judith Butler), we gradually learn the opposite of love. We put on a robe of self-protection, we learn to anticipate and expect harm from others, sometimes we even cause harm to ourselves (addiction, self-loathing, self-sabotage). In this modality, we assume the boxer’s stance, jaws clenched, hands furled into fists at eye level, shoulders hunched, we focus on defense of the self, we build walls to protect our hearts (we think) little knowing that there comes a point where the boundary becomes your own bondage. When such ugliness stains our purity — then we learn FEAR and embrace it as a North Star. A great pity yet a fully understandable reaction.

How then do you reboot the HUMANos?

I suggest first, just like with the computer, we must format the human device (I learned the hard way that formatting in computer-speak meant ‘deleting’ not ‘keeping data in neat files!). So yeah, we wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Each day upon waking we have the opportunity to set our hearts to LOVE - not the mooshy, greetings card, insta-friendly claim uttered at everything including the turmeric latte. I mean truly set our hearts to LOVE - to an unyielding intentionality to be good and radiate goodness towards all beings. Guess what? this also extends to the young lad who flips you the bird when you encourage him to wear his mask on his face not as a chin-guard, to the ‘rotten apple’ police officer who pulls you over and demands a bribe, to the aggressive driver of a fast German car who zig-zags in the traffic and causes havoc for all, to the teenager who grunts instead of speak, with nose deep into her mobile device seeking ‘false’ friends in the ethernet, to the 30-year old who disses older folks — out of sheer ignorance — forgetting that she too will grow older one day (if she be so lucky), to the racist lady who assumes that your blackness means you are uncouth, to the client who disrespects your value by suggesting ‘you are expensive’, the relative who sees you as the family ATM not a family member, the boss who throws you under the bus each time his/her superiors pummel her for non-delivery, the list is endless. I am certain you have things peculiar to you. The point is made.
Writing in Humankind - A hopeful history, Rutger Bregman suggests that “it's when crisis hits — when the bombs fall or the floodwaters rise — that we humans become our best selves.” The COVID pandemic is a new crisis so we could use it to re-set, as we have missed plenty opportunity to rise to our best selves in past moments. Despite the avalanche of negativity, we should not give up believing in our goodness and the goodness of all humankind. That we each keep our interior lighthouses on, as a beacon to others who are also rebooting their way back to what makes us whole. We have the opportunity each waking day to self-correct. Aiming for a higher version of the self, is by definition an acceptance that we are moving from one horizon to the next, and what gets you from here to there is not only deliberate, it is also fuelled by an internal fire that refuses to be doused by discouraging externalities.

Point is, the human form is an operating system with intricate neural pathways, veins, vessels and all sorts that work to keep the machine going. It is an ecosystem premised upon intersectionality, interconnectedness and constant motion.

So, when you service the HUMANos and format it — essentially you are writing a new code, a new foundation that can support the software of your heart and the hardware of your mind.

When was the last time you had an update? you know, like a software update?
When was the last time you had a re-boot? a proper log-out?

As you ponder this, I wish you (as always) clarity in understanding what must be re-booted and reformatted and the courage to carry through.
Kind Regards,
Dr. Sizakele Marutlulle

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