Should We Be Ashamed to be Human?
There are a lot of differing opinions about the value and inherent worth of humanity. Are we essentially good? Are we essentially evil?
Sometimes when I think of our worth and the path we’re on, I wonder if the internet was created at a time when we’d begin writing our own eulogy, humankind’s last will and testament? Will we, as has been predicted for thousands of years, finally destroy ourselves and perhaps our home planet as well? It seems silly to think of, as I imagine humans years and years ago fearing the end of the world, but I would assume that if any end was to come it would be in our future as we’re getting closer now than ever before. We’re passing historic landmarks. Weapons that can destroy us, global economies and global travel leading perhaps to global epidemic. Mass species extinction, global warming, booming population, pollution and more.
I think we could point to a lot of ways in which humanity is “good.” But it seems to me that every way in which we are good is a self-serving way. Do we treat others with respect? Yes, certainly some of us do, however it seems to be relatively limited to our own species. Have we treated the earth kindly? No, we have not. Have we treated other species kindly? No we have not. Have we preserved their environment and habitat (which by the way is also our habitat)? No, our needs/desires/wants always come first. Why do we feel we are so deserving? Because we made up a story that the earth is ours? Like a birthday present we can do with as we wish, including destroying it for our own pleasure like a spoiled child. Or perhaps we destroy it for our own gain or simply because we cannot control ourselves once we reach population overload? I often imagine us as a swarming horde intent on destruction.
I tend to believe that we’re not all that great. But I feel badly that I don’t support the home team. Does this mean I want to see horrible things happen to us? Does it mean I don’t support human rights? No, it doesn’t mean that. I do. I want us to be happy and successful, but I also want us to be conscious of the damage we’re inflicting. I want us to be aware, eyes open about what is happening in this world, our home. And through all this wanting, I realize that it won’t matter, I cannot control the actions of others or the masses. My words are but dust in the wind, dust under our feet.
Those that care, care, but what can we possibly do about those that are not conscious? Those that don’t see the truth of the matter? Those that do not value life or our planet or other species? Is the answer war? I don’t know. Part of me resists the idea of conflict and part of me feels that one group’s aggression and murder of another will not stand and is completely unacceptable. Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek, is that the answer? To allow atrocities of all kinds? I really can’t feel that this is right either.
Of course we can’t go around every day feeling sorry about ourselves and our situation. We do, after all, have to live our lives. Sometimes I do, however, get so depressed about our predicament that I wish I could escape the earth. I imagine that if I could see an aerial view of where I live, I would be horrified because in my mind I imagine it as a sanctuary from the world at large, when in fact I’m really in the midst of everyone. Just a drive around my rural area makes me realize how many of us there really are.
Sometimes I imagine getting away, escaping, not being part of this collective. To live somewhere else where all these problems wouldn’t exist. Wishing there was a better way, wishing we weren’t doomed, wishing that I could stop this runaway train we’re living on. Wishing I wasn’t dependent on this place for survival because I see how many people treat this place as a free handout and not as a gift of value.
There have been a lot of times in recent memory when I have felt ashamed and disappointed to be human. I’ve seen how we’ve decimated the environment, I’ve seen how we treat each other (I don’t believe we’ll ever learn how to get along). In fact, if you really think about it, most species on this planet have a predator-prey relationship, but who are our natural predators? That’s right, our only natural predator is ourselves. Human against human. In any other species if we were to see this kind of behavior we would think it barbaric, killing their own species, killing the young, killing the elderly, killing everyone because of perceived differences. It’s really a sad state of affairs.
And not only are we killing each other, our other prey is the earth. We prey on the earth all the time. We don’t seem to realize that it is necessary for our survival. All we care about our human rights. What about the rights of the earth? The earth who has no natural advocate? The earth who cannot seem to stop our unceasing advance. It’s terrifying to think that one day we’ll be the end of this beautiful place.
The real question, as I see it, rests on whether or not the earth, our home, would be a better place if we weren’t here, if we had never existed at all. Would there be symbiosis? Would there be peace? What do you think?