Are we any more human today than in the past? If not, why not?
If so, what is the significance of that, if any?
As much of the past is bathed in the mists of history, it is not
easy to determine if we are more human today than in the past.
Slashing cruelty was common. Slavery was common. In fact,
the Code of Hammurabi included laws about slaves. Historians
maintain that much of the civilization of the ancient world
rested on the exploitation of one person by another.
Absolute rulers lived in incredibly beautiful palaces. The
Egyptian pharaohs were the only ones who allegedly went into the
Today, slavery is banned in all countries. Mauritania was
the last to outlaw it in 1981, but it is reported that between
10 – 20% of its people are still actually slaves. What was it in
our ancestors that led them to treat fellow human beings as
being less than human?
If we have recognized that there is something very wrong with
slavery, what is the significance of this enlightenment, and do
we still have a long journey to become fully human? Is there
still another form of slavery – one that does not necessarily
physically imprison another human being, but one that makes many
into economic slaves by not paying them a living wage? Are the
1% modern-day pharaohs? Are we being truly human when we
allow 16,000 children to die of starvation every day when we
have the resources and logistical capability to prevent it? Are
we being truly human when we allow almost 1 billion people to
live in extreme poverty – people who wake up in the morning not
knowing where there food is going to come from that day?
And if we are not being truly human to allow such things, what
does that say to us? How come we are on this beautiful planet in
the midst of a vast universe? Should we not try to live up
to the beauty of this planet by being beautiful within us? Will
we be truly human only when we fully respect all human beings
and preserve this planet in its pristine beauty?
By some grace, we may have another year to do all this. Yes, our
problems are massive. Cruelty and inhumanity run rampant.
We are far from the finish line, but let us not blow out the
candle of hope that burns deep within us. Otherwise, 2014
will be an end, not a chance to be more human. Hopefully,
people from other planets – if there be such – will not have to
wonder one day how we could have destroyed such a beautiful