Is Humanity Worth Saving?

As a child, I would watch end-of-the-world movies and become concerned about catastrophic events that might destroy the entire human race. Somehow I thought it was important to save humanity. Today, as I watch the unfolding of world events, I’m not so sure.
Sure, it’s easy to find human flaws. Extremist religious groups murder innocent civilians. Government officials accept bribes and, in so doing, often put the needs and safety of the general population in jeopardy. Rogue nations build nuclear and biological weapons, putting their pride above their people. All of these behaviours have been with us for some time.
So what has changed recently? I think my change of heart has come from the steady movement of Western society toward materialism and individual selfishness. Witness, in particular, the changes in the United States. Donald Trump was elected on a platform of hate, distrust and bigotry. That the country which has thrived on immigration, diversity, cosmopolitanism and individual rights should have moved to such backward and hateful philosophy is disappointing. But it’s not just the United States.
Britain has become much more materialistic, though certainly not more so than the US. Yet the financial sector in London has clearly diminished the more egalitarian version of Britain that existed in the last century.
Asia too has become more selfish, especially with respect to its individual citizens. China is a case in point. With the opening up of trade, China has done a remarkable job of pulling hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And yet inequality has skyrocketed. I spent many years travelling to China just after 2000 and I found the disregard for the poor to be disheartening. Disgusting even. The value of a human life in China seems to hover around $0, unless that person has financial or political heft.
Even in Canada, which has consistently been rated as one of the best countries to live in, I find that the social quality of the individual has degraded over time. It’s hard to define what I mean by social quality but consider the following. Parents prioritize money over children by taking two full-time jobs to buy a bigger house, instead allowing one parent to remain home when the children are young. I am not talking about low income parents; these are households with at least one professional and which could live very well on a single income for the first ten years of their children’s lives.
So, taken all together, I see our society moving in exactly the wrong way. We’re moving backwards, towards the time when the concepts of right and wrong were vague and where no one looked out for his neighbour. If life is only about pride or material wealth or a career then we’re really no different from the animals. It’s all instinct and no thoughtfulness.
It’s a shame. And, until we turn ourselves around and start moving towards a more enlightened society, we simply aren’t worth saving.

2 thoughts on “Is Humanity Worth Saving?

  1. I agree. What can we do? As an American I agree with your previous post, too. I look around, talk with people when I can, when it’s not too awkward. But what to do?

    Or, maybe it’s not “what to do”, maybe it’s “what to see”, first. And I don’t know what or how to communicate anything that will help there, either.

    I’m 70 and retired and so have some time (for awhile at least). But clueless how to use it for my good or the good of others. “Good works” alone won’t change the kind of systemic issues that you have raised. And I have no confidence in any political party or current social or political “movement”, either.

    I got to this website after seeing your book (“Why the World Sucks. . .) on Amazon. Seems like you’ve certainly tried to “raise consciousness”, as they used to say in the 1960’s. But no, the general consciousness seems stuck in our primitive selfish instinctive visceral awareness. With our material technology and ambition — which seem so “good” and are, in their way, not too extreme — we have left community and family and . . .values and motivations which come out of that. . .behind.

    Seems like there’s lots of us feeling this way — but we’re not organized in any “community” way — political or spiritual or something else entirely. Hmm. . .anything the internet could do about that? Anyway the internet can bring people together? I don’t have the inspiration or motivation any more to try to start anything like that myself, don’t have the talent or the vision, maybe, but I’m certainly interested if/when anybody else may have a clue.

  2. Melanie, you are clearly a kindred spirit. So far, I really only had one idea to fix the problem, and it was an idea that would be incredibly difficult to implement. I have suggested that we need to create a new country, one created to enshrine key human values and to provide a minimal level of dignity for all.
    Short of creating that new country, I think the only way to combat rampant selfishness, materialism and mediocrity is to create a Community as you suggested, one that would work to create a global Movement for Humanity. This movement could well be international and, with enough support, would eventually be able to create new political parties in each country. It’s a lofty goal and, not doubt, a difficult one to achieve. But change cannot really come from within the system, meaning within the current political parties. The system itself is too corrupt. Something has to happen external to the system until it’s strong enough to become a force in its own right.
    As for what you, or any of us, can do? Talk to people. Get your friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues to question the legitimacy of what our leaders are doing. Get them to think outside of the box and to read new ideas. As an American, you should discourage people from listening to nonsense that in unsupported by facts. Eventually, if enough kind, concerned, sensible people begin to realize the enormity of the problem, perhaps the Community will come together.

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