Patchouli

Patchouli

What does it mean to be human? Patchouli, a poem written by Hannah serves as a good opening work to our pilot issue of Dehumanisation as we explore what is truly human.

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I live in a world of reason, a world in which I think logically and talk sensibly.
A world I reflect upon, and form conclusions about. A world I judge.
Surrounded by history and future, by rationality, I have an urge for purpose, a compulsion to achieve, a need for rules, restrictions and boundaries.
I create ideas of difference that separate us from one another.

Race.
Gender.
Origin.
Size.
Colour.
Wealth.
Worth.
Importance.

I classify, I define everything and everyone in order to understand, to grasp what and who I am, who I was and who I will be.

But there’s a place that is neither up nor down, neither in front nor behind and also not in the middle. Or you could say it is a state that is simultaneously up and down, in front, behind and in the middle, all at once. In this state nothing is black or white, male or female, big or small, precious or worthless, good or bad. Everything just is.

So what does it mean to be human?

The ability to become aware, to be fully conscious and to focus this consciousness on the beauty, light, wisdom, love (whatever you want to call it) that is unconditional, timeless and shapeless, ever changing but eternally unchanged.
This is where an answer can be found.

To be human gives me the possibility to experience the indifference of being human. Calling myself human and something else nonhuman is another boundary, another classification, another idea that separates.

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Hannah Brazil is a second-year student at SOAS studying Social Anthropology and South Asian Studies. She really enjoys travelling, no matter how far. She loves discovering the beauty of her surroundings, of nature and of the people she meets, and the surprising ways in which travelling broadens her horizons and transforms her view of the world she lives in, every single day.