The world seems beautiful if you think about it but all you need to do is check out the latest news to become incredibly depressed.
Humanity – Letting us down everywhere we look. Haven’t we heard enough about the massacres in Syria; concentration camps in North Korea; school shooters, terrorism attack. No wonder that the posts, videos and websites related with such incidents have been gaining so much traction.
We want believe that humanity is good so badly, that people want to do the right thing, and believe that any evil out there is just an illusion – just people whose parents didn’t hug them enough at night.
Does humanity really deserve to be redeemed? Is it really a good idea to restore our faith in the people around us?
Didn’t everyone believe that Adolf Hitler was really capable of committing genocide of an entire people, of having a deep desire to take over the world, or that Germany would be okay with going along for the ride?
But Hitler’s too easy, too obvious. If you just point out Hitler, then people assume he’s the only evil person to exist. They think that it was just a hiccup of history and that in general everyone else is OK.
So let’s look at school shootings. In 2013, a 16-year-old student, entered a science classroom with a shotgun and opened fire, critically wounding another 16-year-old student. The classroom teacher tried to convince to drop his weapon. Later on, he was charged with two counts of attempted murder and assault with a firearm. He was convicted and accepted a plea deal with a sentence of 27 years and 4 months.
No one wanted to admit that this was a person capable of doing something really bad, no matter how many warning signs there were.
It could be argued that in certain circumstances we have entirely too much faith in humanity. And many times, that faith results in horrible consequences.
You can look at it the other way round as well. There are plenty of good people who are accused of being bad. But that just goes to show the true nature of humanity: we’re complicated. A person who seems sweet on the outside may be a killer within. And a person who seems nasty and angry all the time might just be hiding a world of pain inside.
But this whole “faith in humanity” thing creates the opposite reality. It paints a world where everyone is good, and all we need is a hug and a pat on the back to stop all the problems of the world.
Obviously it breaks my heart to share pictures on Facebook/ Twitter of those kids who deserve future and a normal life. Is it that hard to live and let live? I go through the news of school shooting and wonder what was he thinking ? Why do we feel so helpless about the situation and we talk about restoring faith in humanity just by sharing pics which are floating on internet ? Plenty of internet posts try to tell us that humanity is good. But what we really need is to evaluate our own actions and decisions.
Then we also share posts of how kind a stranger can be. We have seen the videos where actors/ celebrities dresses up in a different manner and acts on the subway to see how people react. Sometimes, those people don’t give a flying fuck about what’s happening around them.
I keep thinking to myself when someone shares them with a statement “Faith in humanity restored” because “that’s not the point”. Because when we frame it that way, we are framing beautiful things that people do for others as some sort of proof that people are good, then we are, as a consequence, not thinking about ourselves. We’re more worried about how good other people are rather than how good we are.
Most of us aren’t Mother Teresa and most of us aren’t Hitler either. We are the people in the middle, the people who could be good or bad, all depending on how we choose to live our lives.
Being good or bad, for most of us, is a constant choice. And when we keep trying to restore our faith in others, we miss the whole point of life: that we should actually be restoring our faith in ourselves that we can change the world for the better; that each of us has the power to create a chain reaction of good; that every act we do can transform our reality into a better one.
When we have too much faith in humanity, then we can fall into the trap of believing that “humanity” will save the world. We assume that humanity will naturally work out all its massacres, revolutions and school shootings.
But the truth is that it might not. And the only way it will is if we each individually take stock of our own lives and devote ourselves to changing things for the better, by committing our lives to doing good. We need to have less faith in humanity and more faith in ourselves.