“humanity not included”

What would happen if companies got rid of the policy, “batteries not included,” and actually put the batteries in with the device?

At this point, I don’t know if people would get excited. After all, we’re used to starting at a deficit. We’re used to not getting the best. We’re used to not having what we need, to make it work.

Funny, how we accept less.

We’re used to opening a box, handling the cool device,
and then  putting it away until we get to the store to buy what’s missing, to make it work.

We’re used to getting the batteries separately, spending extra money and
adding a “by the way” package at the bottom of the present’s bag or box.

We’re used to the company giving a product that’s lacking completeness,
of expecting the consumer to be happy with deficit. And we are happy.

How is that?

As a consumer — and as people who give a product to others (whether it be a physical product or our work of art) — why do we settle for deficit?

And the “batteries not included” mentality follows us into all areas of our life.

Maybe I’m too much of an idealist, but this business of organizations having “batteries not included” policies gets to me. Except it’s not the batteries we’re talking about. It’s humanity.

Humanity is the part of caring. It’s the part that recognizes individuality, steers clear of a “one size fits all” mentality, and deals authentically with people as people, not entities to use for the organization’s end result.

We function on a deficit of humanity: of caring, of giving, of being complete in our connection as individuals and not as cogs. All the time. And we’re okay with it.

I can’t stop asking myself: How is that?

Without batteries, the device doesn’t work.
Without humanity, the organization stands a hollow shell.

When humanity is not included, the entire usefulness of an organization is brought into question. What good is the end result, if humanity is lost in the process?

And writers, there’s a lesson for us here. We can’t leave out humanity.

We can’t leave out the languid longings, the sallow struggles, and the most bitter pain. Story needs shredded hope, pounded disappointment, and flayed effort. Life is not dry of the blood of humanity — positive or negative. And neither is story.

We can’t leave out the earthy passions, the scintillating satisfactions, and the sweetest drips of humanity savored on the tip of the tongue. Story needs the blood-red bricks of loyalty, the  love-stained satin of self-sacrifice, and the fingers entwined in the richest greens and blues of liquid humanness at its finest.

To see the humanity in another, to respond as one human to another in authentic connection and with gentle understanding, takes going beyond the norm to include the batteries. To be used to deficit, to accept that deficit as normal, is to deny ourselves of humanity.

To leave out the sharpest edge or the opulent fullness of story, to stay with the safe, the bland, the expected, is to deny our readers and viewers of humanity.

The trick is to add humanity to story with taste. To let imagination have full sway. To have the mind fill in the gaps. You see, our minds can create much more than blatant explicitness ever could.

For effective organizations — and for meaningful art — “humanity not included” isn’t an option.

* Thup



  1. Erin, I couldn’t agree with you more, and although there’s good reason companies don’t include batteries (not just expense), occasionally they do! lol Great analogy, and it is oh, so sadly true about the lack of humanity—not just in organizations, but in much of society : / But it is the humanity in writing that makes it shine, makes it purposeful, gives it heart. Wonderful post, Emily 🙂 Glad I discovered you!

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