So, having arrived at this point in our humanity, can we humans learn to live together more harmoniously on this earth. Can we transcend the limitations of our current existence, the wars, the violence, the needless sufferings? Can we evolve our minds and our ways of being along with our science and knowledge?
Clearly, it’s not the nature of humanity to accept things as they are. Our minds both enable and impel us to find better ways to do things. To move towards a more mutually beneficial way of being, we first have to open ourselves up to the possibilty that we can live in a better way, that we can abandon many of the negativities of today’s world, like a snake shedding its skin.
To better access the full range of human possibilities, we need to develop a clearer sense that much of the human world is just a social construction, it is formed by human minds and perpetuated by human minds. We need to spread and deepen the understanding that the world is not an as-is, not an immutable given, but is rather a might-be, a to-be-made.
Technological advancement (especially in information technology) helps in this, because it continuously forces us to modify old ways of doing thing and opens up new possibilities for human action. In this process, it clarifies the constancy of change and invites us to explore new directions.
In fact, the tremendous increase in human knowledge over the last 200 years makes it seem necessary to formulate new worldviews. Our increased understandings can be seen as an invitation to re-imagine what it means to be human in this universe.
A thinking about what it means to be human involves thinking about how we humans are to be with each other, how we are to be human together. Our individual beings are utterly entangled in the web of humanity.
Considered historically, the thought of humans living together in cooperative co-existence might seem far fetched. Much of our previous human history revolves around the conflicts of human groups and of humans taking advantage of other humans, using them instrumentally for their perceived personal benefit.
But to just look at history as conflict, coercion and exploitation is a simplification. If it wasn’t there probably wouldn’t be a humanity left to bother about. Almost all people have some radius of caring and concern in their personal lives, starting with the nurturing needed by any infant. Even death-row inmates, many convicted of heinous crimes, are full of human qualities if you get to know them as in the book “A Dream of the Tattered Man: Stories from Georgia’s Death Row” by Randolph Loney (who also reveals what horrible childhoods they had; their unnurtured becomings).
The perpetuation of human society involves vast amounts of human cooperation, of mutual human regard and consideration. This is especially so in today’s complex, globalized technological world, spun together in a vast and intricate network of interconnected human acts.
We can shift to a more harmonious human co-existence because human conflict and human exploitation are based on bad ideas and produce bad results. The bad ideas are those focus on human differences rather than our common alikeness, our core humanness. The bad results go beyond just the manifestations of violence and suffereing they create but also their failure to produce true satisfaction and happiness for the supposed winners in the contest and for humanity in general.
If there is to be a more caring world, it will be because humans come to understand that it’s making is the true road to human satisfaction, that the happiness lies not in self-serving but in serving life, that the deepest fulfillment lies in contributing to the enhancement and enchantment of the world.
- A Human Way
- A World For Us All