Humanity's Challenge for 2014







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 after-life.


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 planet.