Species-Wide Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever had that moment where you’re walking from one meeting to another and something clumsy happens – like you trip over a chair corner, you realize your shirt is undone, or you sneeze inelegantly.

And then the entire facade of civilization comes crashing down. We’re barely different from the apes messing around hanging out in trees and throwing their own poop at each other as a form of culture. We just happened to decide to live closer together, organize on an industrial scale to enable that density, wear clothes that represent our personality, have ‘work hours’ and in the morning meet for ‘stand ups’ to present our ‘project updates’. The standups are important to push our distinct bipedalism features.

All these systems and rituals we’ve built to make up our civilization are just things we made up!? And we keep them around because they kind of work? The audacity! Why haven’t we bothered to stroll down to the local Intergalactic Library to pick up a book on being a civilization? We expect new parents to read a couple books about parenthood. Yet here we are just fucking around, eating fruit that’s gone bad and deciding we liked it so much we’ll build an entire industrial complex controlling it.

If you’ve ever experienced imposter syndrome as an individual, it eventually goes away, or it becomes less frequent as you get better at managing it. If you’re lucky to have received external validation from other beings of your personal value, you can look at these lil bits to keep your imposter syndrome at bay, as a shrine of treats.

Humanity isn’t going to get any meaningful external validation. Maybe never, maybe not for a while. In fact, any other civilization we run into might turn out to be manipulative dicks about it. On Earth, the history of first contact between societies has not been super-smooth. If either member of first contact felt validated after the experience, it wasn’t for good reasons.

So we’re just stuck with this permanent species-wide imposter syndrome. And the terrifying responsibility that nobody is going to step in and rescue us from our shitty choices, so we actually need to think them through? That sucks.

Anyway – sorry I have to go just now, I need to prepare a Gantt chart for something.


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