What's your opinion about humanity?

Human is a cursed creature dropped down on earth to find the ways to cleanise and break the curse. Evaluate the ways the humans take for their lives and you will find out that all those ways put themselves in traps. That’s what the curse is all about.

Attention all humans!
“Abort. Abort.
You have failed the mission. Return to port for deprograming.
Delete all files. A glitch in the program has compromised the mission. Return for rebooting”

orders from mission control High Command

Only a morality can posit humanity as disgusting (and possibly the opposite?). Human beings are just reflections of their outside environment. They are the outside environment of each other. They and their environments are made out of the same stuff. Should sick souls be the ultimate evaluators of humanity? Should sick souls be allowed to exist?

Everyone is sick.
The degree of sickness and wrongness varries.
Or at least, some people said it did.
Were they right?

Thomas Hobbes saw humans as brutish creatures. He had no trouble finding evidence of humanity’s wickedness. People lie, cheat, steal, and fight. Fundamentally, humans are selfish and amoral, or at least it seems that way. The implications of this picture of human nature are fearsome. If people are naturally the way Hobbes saw them, then we are doomed. We will forever be competitive instead of cooperative, war and oppression will never cease, and we will probably annihilate ourselves sooner or later.

If humans are naturally evil, and humanity’s fate is thereby sealed, what difference does it really make? From a cosmic perspective, people are vanishingly small, temporary, and insignificant. In a universe where time is measured in eons and distance is measured in light years, of what consequence are we? If we were to destroy our habitat beyond repair, or suffer nuclear holocaust, we would not be missed. The great cosmic dance will continue, stars and galaxies so numerous as to defy comprehension will be born and die, and our existence will end without having had any noticeable effect at all.

I personally find this dismal world-view unsatisfactory. While the argument that people are ultimately insignificant may be comforting to some folks,* I do not believe it is true. Humankind is precious, if for no other reason than human consciousness. Our awareness makes us special. While there is quite probably intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, it is at least a very rare occurrence. The universe is mostly empty space. Nothing is the rule, something is the exception. The mere fact that anything exists is marvelous, but more wonderful still is the fact that something is aware of that existence. I ascribe to the belief that humankind (and any other intelligent life that may be) is the universe becoming aware of itself. What would be the point of this vast and magnificent cosmos if no one were around to witness it? Humanity possesses the rare and beautiful gift of seeing and understanding, it would be truly tragic to see such a treasure wasted.

Fortunately, there may be hope for us. Humanity may yet transcend its brutish nature, and become something worthy of possessing conscious intellect. Although the evidence is far from conclusive, there is a compelling argument to be made that the arch of history bends toward progress.** People develop from superstitious, to mythical, to religious, to rational, to scientific, (and beyond?). Civilizations grow from tribal, to feudal, to totalitarian, to democratic, (and beyond?). Who knows what the next stage of human progress will look like? I am hopeful that people will become more cooperative and globally minded before it is too late. The potential is there.

[i]*If our lives are utterly inconsequential and meaningless, then there is really nothing to worry about. We are absolved of all responsibility. While I yearn for my life to have meaning, I can see how this sort of nihilism can be liberating. If nothing matters, be carefree.

**There is also a case to be made that the universe itself tends toward progress. All the elements in existence were formed from rudimentary hydrogen atoms in the nuclear furnace of the sun, which creates increasingly heavy and rare elements. Matter has organized itself in complex galactic, stellar, and planetary systems, some of which (at least one) bear life. Finally, life itself has evolved to be ever increasingly complex and aware. I like to think of development as a law of nature. While I may overstate the case, the tendency toward development/growth/unfolding is certainly seen in a variety of natural processes.[/i]

I think humanity is immature.

We have focused on acquiring power (just like a teenager) while avoiding responsibility (just like a teenager). Now we have godlike power with adolescent levels of reason, compassion, and compassionate-rational self control. We want to be satisfied with the same old moral requirements that we had in the past when we had much less capacity to do damage. INCREASED POWER ENTAILS INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY. (See my thread on Responsibility in the Age of Extraordinary Power).

Immaturity, when it outlasts childhood, eventually becomes a mental illness…

The medicine is to teach and practice empathy, every chance you get. Empathy means to imagine the life experiences of others over and over so that you can start to feel their cares and concerns as if they were your own. This can be through your own imagination, or through letting your imagination be guided by empathetic literature, movies, plays, etc. Empathy leads to compassion. Compassion sets the limits upon what can count as reason: methods of thought that generally benefit all sentient beings: past, present, and future. (See my thread on Enlightenment).

And then, take pride in caring for others. Reward yourself for such compassion, compassionate action, and compassionate reason. Reward and praise others for such behavoir.

I have suggested, with no positive responses, that we dedicate ourselves to such behavior by making an explicit commitment in our Constitution. (See my thread on he Golden Rule Amendment. I was careful to indicate that the absence of concern for others should not be subject to punishment unless we specifically make it illegal (which is exactly the current situation). Nevertheless, none of you which voice concern here about the situation of our species were willing to join me in doing something about it.

I find myself in complete agreement with the above comments about empathy. This ties directly into my previous post about human development, because mental development in humans can be looked at as a progressive decline in egocentrism.

Let me explain. An infant is not aware of a world outside of itself. It takes time to develop the ability to take the perspective of other, this is why the game of peek-a-boo is so amusing to the very young. Young children learn to identify first with their mother, then with close family. Adolescents, while much more social, still show a tendency to organize in small groups of people very much like them and a high degree of hostility to those who are different. Think Lord of the Flies. Sadly, many adults never progress much beyond this level of empathy, though fortunately most people in our culture do. Adults begin to identify with their community, their church, their political party, or their country. Some people, although this is a rarer case, even develop global awareness and compassion.

The point is that increased empathy (or compassion or identifying with others) is the key to human progess. Understanding others is how we mature. If humanity is to grow, to become something better, people must strive to see others as themselves. This concept of treating others as you would like to be treated, if not a universal maxim, is certainly a perennial one. Some form of the golden rule can be found in almost every culture.

However, I do not wish to advocate complete selflessness, for I have no desire to deny the benefits of rational self interest. Ethical egoists may still quibble with my seemingly altruistic view nonetheless, to which I can only respond that what is in the general interest is usually in the individual interest as well. Who says selfishness and compassion must be incompatible?

To a large extent, I agree with the above as well. However, it is not so easy to give a definition of empathy, as one might think. Further, even in attempting to apprehend empathically what one considers another’s perspective (situation or whatever) to be, one necessarily interprets the alleged position of Otherness into one’s own perspective (i.e. to their existing world view). Because of this, as it has been pointed out, cultural particulars and subjectively defined attributes of ‘selfhood’ (whatever the term ‘selfhood’ means—especially if it is itself culturally defined) are never going to be understood in the same sense in which they are taken by the initial subject—the object of empathy. This can be stated as an inherent limitation to the translatability between different language games, or something of the like. So the elements of empathic idealization are only useful to gauging a moral compass in as much as one can determine to what extent one’s present values will affect one’s supposedly empathetic understanding of the Other. Otherness is essentially other.

In consciousness empathy can be attributed to a subject’s ability to mimic the acts of an Other—whether such acts entail objective behavior, emotional affect, introspective self-conceptualization, whatever. But does this really capture any sort of value-determining moral device? Yes and no. We can obviously understand what it is to have pain, and THAT a culturally dissimilar Other might feel something like it due to X, Y, and Z; but HOW they feel it is another question altogether. Furthermore, understanding-that only gives us epistemic access to a very basic sense of pain-aversion which is in fact determined by our own projection of self-based intuitions about experience. We can never have knowledge of the experiences of others in any phenomenological sense. Yet such knowledge would seem to be necessary to an empathy based ethics.

There is however an alternative to an introspective account of empathy; that is, an inter-subjective phenomenological ontology. In other words, if we assume that our primordial ontical mode is a derived subjectivity that cannot be defined in terms other than those of its relation to a collectivized human condition, than even if we lack epistemic access to the subjective phenomenal data of others, we may nonetheless presume that the Other is circumspect to a similar TYPE of phenomenology, even if it is not exactly the same. This is of course a fairly rash assumption, but from my view it has at least as much merit as a psycho-ontology based on a purely subjective and introspective view of the self, or worse one based solely on implications of objective (behavioral) observations. The benefit to such a view is that, although true empathy—in the sense of adequate understanding of the Other—still lacks a complete epistemic legitimation, nonetheless it gives us an entry point to be able to make the claim that the semantic restrictions between the (equally valid) viewpoints of conflicting moral agents may be broken down for analytical evaluation with some degree of practical merit. Call this pragmatic deconstruction of the semantic ambiguities if you will, wherein the aim would be to then reconstruct the linguistic elements into a form where either (i) each subject involved in the empathic transduction consents to a satisfactory generalization of all significant terms in question—a very complicated feat, since the definition of each term, in its own turn, depends on the semantics of the others in the system (semantic integration), a problem which does not arise if we are coherentist about meaning—or (ii) all ambiguous terms with significance to the narrative are made dialectically negligible through alternative communicability—whatever such a thing might mean (perhaps some sort of role-play, allusion to a mutual ‘Other’, or dialogue absent of particulars). In simpler terms, what I mean is that the irreconcilable differences in meaning—whether that meaning is semantic, phenomenological, or whatever—need not thwart moral determination due to epistemic restrictions in signal transduction. In fact, such differences mustn’t affect things anymore than subjective phenomenal experience concerning semantic comprehension affects our linguistic ability to communicate inter-subjectively; that is, anymore than the effect of how language feels to us individually has on our ability to talk to one another: not much if at all.

The thing which may worry us is that an essentially inter-subjective ontology implies a gestalt macro-entity—such as God, or something independently singular yet pervasively universal. This may be discomforting to some (including myself). Furthermore, there is a certain amount of idealism implicit in such an assumption, though to what extent I haven’t quite worked out yet. In any case, in spite of any materialistic realism which an inter-subjective ontologist may subscribe to, ultimately, experience is the litmus paper of reality. Regardless of any of this, we may utilize the concept as a functional mechanism without making any claims about the metaphysical nature of reality, which is why I refer to this a form of pragmatism. It is not an ontology which is based entirely on pragmatically relevant entities, but rather a pragmatism which employs ontological entities without regard to their material nature. We are only interested in being able to de-subjectivize our point of view, not whether the terms we take up have existential merit or not. Our terms may not, yet as long as the agents involved can relate to the fictitious constructions similarly, then we may assuage that they are empathically related to one another—whether we can prove this or not.

We may now define the Good as that which is permissible in light of how the empathic relations in actual situations relate to the universal subject. A grasp of this aspect of the self, for an individual, is analogous to the in-itself-for-itself, and is the basis for all moral activity. Thus, empathizing with the Other is essential for establishing a legitimate moral code, yet by itself is somewhat meaningless as a concept. What is empathizing and who is Other? What is proposed here is that empathy is a projection of introspective sentiment and that the Other is an unrealized aspect of the self. Whatever else comes into the moral question may be remedied by demystifying semantic vagaries. Ultimately, self-interest, where it is TRULY self-serving, implies altruistic acts, since the existence of a particular self is derived from and wholly dependent upon its relation to all selves as a gestalt.

On empathy:

Unless you can honestly and fully face all sort of things you dislike/hate/fear/suffer (of your own, at least), you cannot be empathic with others. Ir’s because being highly empathic and sensitive brings WHOLE A LOT of sensation/feeling including positive one but more of negative one.
If you know this, I don’t think you would advocate empathy, so easily, because it’s to demand others to suffer a lot more when they have GREAT problem handling their own sufferings.
(We don’t have to think much about pleasure/joy and other positive sensation/feeling because it’s much much easier to face and digest, unless one has the tendency to be jealous…)

I have a feeling that those who advocate empathy as a mean of human/social evolution are actually being needy of empathy toward themselves.
It can well be soft but still disguised form of the desire to manipulate others.
I’m not saying that such desire is wrong or it should be avoided, though.
On the contrary, I think it’s better to be honest with our desires.

Now, who is willing to be more empathic and suffer more?
I can probably help you to be more empathic. :slight_smile:

It may seem contradictory, but I believe the ability to “get outside oneself” and feel the pain of others liberates a person from their own self-imposed prison - and it is that prison that is the true cause of suffering.

Adressing the OP, my opinion on humanity is simply that they are ridiculous and immature idiots. We fight over the most pointless things, want to feel superior in a fight that doesn’t even needed. We find ourselves controlled by money, which links to violence, greed, and drugs. We make competition over who has the biggest truck, best brand, ect. Who cares? If it works or runs,that’s all that should be needed. We have a government, who is all about greed. They get paid ridiculous amounts of money just to fuck the people over. Why can’t they just be civil and just do there damn job?

Hypocrites are the fucking worst in my book. I just don’t understand it. They sit there, whine and complain, tell you not to do things, yet they go off and do it themselves. For what reason is that for?

Another thing is cheaters. Why do people date, marry, or whatever you can think of, say and spend their time with one person and say they love them, then go off and mess around with another person WHILE still with the previous person? Why don’t they just grow a pair and man up and say, “hey, I don’t think this is working, can we just be friends?” or something along those lines? Instead of causing a huge unneccisary mess and stress for everyone? If you truly love someone, and you know what it is, and you know you do, then why cheat on someone? I think if you say it, you should mean it and know that you do, otherwise don’t.

Finally, the superior thing. Why is it that, even in schools there are the people who think they are all that just because they are in a specific sport or something? Just because they play a certain sport doesn’t make them superior to the rest of them or have to treat others in disrespect. For example, I have noticed that MOST of the people that play football…are complete and utter assholes that think and do as they please, which are far than correct. Most people hate soccer. Why? The excuse is less contact? Grassfairy? I’d love to see someone who says that, play soccer, bend a ball into the corner of a soccer net. Soccer takes an emmense amount of footwork and skill.

So to sum it up, I personally think that Humanity needs to open their eyes and grow the fuck up in some areas.

Absolutely! There are so many people who get wound up by the most trivial things. If they focussed that energy into something positive and productive, the world would be a much better place. Ah, if only more people thought like you.

… ah.

Totally agree!

I think we do have a natural inclination toward selfishness (which is the primary ingredient of aforementioned “prison”, in my opinion), especially in consideration of our primary motivators like fear. The capacity for compassion can distract us from from that natural, constant preoccupation, allowing us to realize there is more to reality than what we simply perceive. Willful neglect of that realization is ignorance, and, in this context, likely the ignorance Buddha saw as the cause of suffering.

Yes, well said. An interesting thing in Buddhism is how the word “natural” gets used in multiple ways depending on context. It is certainly natural to be preoccupied by fear and self-protection, but the word “habitual” is often used in that context instead. Sometimes the word “natural” is used to reference non-deluded mindstates. So in that sense “natural” mindstates are the opposite of “delusional” mindstates, which are typically associated with “habitual” mindstates.

Absolutely man, good point. I’ve never even thought to ponder that distinction in language (between “habitual” and “natural”, that is), but one almost certainly exists. One could even say that the consideration of something natural as “habitual” is, in itself, something of a delusion.

I wonder if this blurred distinction between “natural” and “habitual” is partly a result of our insistance in seperating, or differentiating, ourselves from ‘animals’, or ‘nature’ in general. Perhaps people don’t want to believe that we are animals, with very animal instincts and drives, and we are privy to the whims of nature like everything else. I feel like this superiority complex is beneficial to some degree by igniting the fire to strive beyond the unpredictable, indifferent nature that we perceive (nature being the natural world and everything in it, in this context). However, I think denial of our nature (our inherent states) leads to a lack of fundamental understanding about the human animal. Lacking understanding in that arena almost ensures misconceptions about our relationship to the rest of the natural world.