People like to believe that human nature is essentially good. That on the whole humans look out for one another. Perform more good deeds than they do bad and generally choose to operate in a way that promotes goodness and kindness.
For most of us, during our lifetimes, we will indeed see evidence of this goodness and kindness.
But we will also see evidence of human attributes that are other as well.
We will see greed and corruption.
We will see cruelty and discrimination.
We will see unkind actions and hear unkind words.
We will witness acts of violence and be shown on our TV sets evidence of human atrocities.
We will come face to face with other’s who will disagree with our opinions, beliefs or values and treat us badly because of these differences.
So how, given all of these things, can we choose to believe that goodness and kindness are the predominant virtues of the human condition?
If goodness and kindness are supposed to form the base line for the human condition then why is it that we need policies and laws to try and ensure that all humans are treated fairly?
Why is it that when push comes to shove, few people these days feel able to stand up and do what’s right instead of what’s safest, easiest, or more profitable for them?
Are we to believe that goodness and kindness can only prevail amongst humans if there are sanctioned consequences for not being good or kind?
Or that kindness and goodness can only manifest in circumstances in which it is safe, easy and profitable for humans to engage in such ways?
Yet history tells us that neither safety, ease nor profitability are required for kindness to occur.
There have been many examples to show that in times of great persecution acts of great kindness can and do occur.
Often at the personal risk of those engaging in such acts.
Stories such as those as Schindler’s List give us hope and reinforce the belief that deep down we are all good people who will stand up for what’s right.
Yet the truth of the matter, especially in stories such as Schindler’s List, is that the vast majority of people at that time, did not stand up for what was right.
They did not put themselves out to help those who were being persecuted.
Instead many engaged in that very persecution.
Some actively, others silently.
And yet, even when faced with this evidence of overwhelming contradiction, we still choose to believe that the human condition is one of ultimate goodness.
Just how is it that we come to such a erroneously delusional and short-sighted conclusion?
Why is it that even today, when we know full well that there are corporations out there who routinely value profits above human life, we still choose to walk blindly up the path of ‘progress’ while ignoring the growing list of casualties strewn along the way?
Perhaps the human condition is not one of goodness but one of delusional fortitude?
- The Human Condition (theunfoldingheart.net)
- The Human Condition~~ Revisited (Excerpt from March Newsletter) (drkatherinetkelly.wordpress.com)
- The Human Condition (jeromeyers.wordpress.com)
- What Happened in Boston? (atomicbuddhist.wordpress.com)
- More Than Dependency (nationalreview.com)