I made an important discovery about human nature yesterday. I discovered something profound and fundamental about our personalities. Everyone else has probably know about this for ages, but it has only just occurred to me. We all need our own personal epiphany, after all. And the truth of even the most commonplace experience is never so valid as when it happens to us. And this ‘Eureka’ moment has just happened to me.
So what is this discovery, I hear you ask? What is this revolutionary insight?
It is this.
The world divides into just two types of people. Not introvert/extrovert; forget passive/aggressive; don’t think intuitive/impulsive. Fundamentally, people can be separated according to one straightforward characteristic – they’re either makers or breakers; creators or destroyers; builders or wreckers.
I suppose even I have known this, deep down, for some time. After all, there were always those bigger boys on the beach who – after you’d spent all day crafting your best-ever sandcastle creation – would amuse themselves by trampling over it. Well they’ve all grown up now and are probably trampling all over people’s dreams.
Like me you probably had certain friends whose toys were always broken, kids who took more pleasure in smashing things to bits than putting them together. They’re now almost certainly taking similar pleasure in breaking promises or else dismantling relationships or old cars or television sets or the economy or something.
It’s true, isn’t it? You either make things or you break them. The undoubted truth of this psychological insight occurred to me yesterday whilst building a snowman. Here he is. He’s called Bernard. (The snowman, that is). Nice, isn’t he?
Thankfully, Bernard survives in the safety of our back garden. I was tempted to put him in the front for all the world to see (especially as the boulder of snow had grown so big I wasn’t sure I could roll it round to the back of the house). But I opted for safety. And I’m glad I did.
Because we weren’t the only ones building snowmen yesterday. All morning people filled the park opposite making ever more elaborate snow creations. By lunchtime there must have been a dozen or more, some over seven feet tall (I saw one woman sitting on her partner’s shoulders placing the head atop their joint creation). Then the makers went home for a well-earned Sunday lunch. And the breakers emerged from their flea-infested pits. And by the end of the day there wasn’t a single snowman left intact.
Which I think is rather sad. Yes, I know the snow is melting and the tide will always wash away our sandcastles. Ultimately, all our earthly creations are ephemeral. But I wonder whether being an instinctive maker or breaker influences your outlook on life in general, your attitude to other people, your respect both for yourself and the planet?
Or is smashing snowmen up just damned good fun?
Are you a snowman maker or a snowman breaker?