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SuperMouse's avatar

When you've lost your faith in humanity what restores it?

Asked by SuperMouse (30798points) September 3rd, 2012

It is official, I have lost my faith in humanity. My cynicism of officially ruling and I have lost all faith in people. Things aren’t horrible, life isn’t closing in; I just look around at the choices people make that impact others in a negative way, shake my head, wonder, and proceed to get more and more jaded. So when your optimism runs out and you lose your faith in humanity, what do you do to get it back?

Disclaimer: I am not looking for a “cheer up the mouse” thread, just interested to hear what others do when they find themselves in this place.

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41 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That deserved more. Humanity has to show you something to restore your faith.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t worry about humanity, I just revel in what I can do to make a small difference every day.
When I am sick and tired of people in general I retreat to nature on my property and hang out with the critters. I enjoy knowing that I make a difference in another living things life and that MY existence matters to other living things.

yankeetooter's avatar

There are people out there who will restore your faith; it’s just a question of running into them. Just remember that nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes…

zenvelo's avatar

I go to public places and look at the smiles on children, the hugs the give and receive, the way they share with other children. Not all kids do that, but even the worst kid is finding joy just playing.

Or, I give a homeless guy a dollar and wish him a good day. Just look at the smile you can put on another’s face. Working on your own humanity will help you find more. People all around you are doing their best.

creative1's avatar

I watch the innocents of my children and know what they are taught is so important and know that its how the person is raised.

janbb's avatar

I wouldn’t call myself cynical; I’m just really down on life right now. I guess the support and comfort of my close women friends are what keeps me going.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I lost my faith in humanity years ago. The only thing that restored it for me was seeing the way people can live a natural life down in Central America. They didnt need all this technology and media to be happy. Just living in peace with nature. Then I returned back to the good ol US of A and lost of faith in humanity again.

josie's avatar

I guess this really does not answer your question but it is an answer never the less.

Human beings have a specific nature. History and observations in the present make human nature pretty easy to understand, and thus make it reasonably predictable.

So the idea of having “faith” just doesn’t seem to fit. Faith is a sort of hope that the unknown will be what you wish it to be when it becomes known. We already know the nature of Man. So there really should not be any surprises.

The only problem as I see it is when people think that mankind can or should be different. This is sort of like saying that gravity or the speed of light should be different. You can wish all you want, but it isn’t going to happen.

So, if you have lost faith, it is only because you had an expectation that could never be met in the first place. It isn’t humanity that is the problem in that case. It is your misunderstanding of the nature of humanity and a misplaced expectation that put yourself in such an unhappy position.

That being said, it is simply a matter of never expecting more of Man than Man is inclined to choose or to do.

BBawlight's avatar

I look around me and ask myself, “Are these people happy? Do these people over analyze everything like me?”
If they are happy, I am happy. Because I don’t feel obligated to fix anything and I don’t feel like they think like I do. And that’s what makes me happy.
The answer is most likely no. And that makes me happy.

CWOTUS's avatar

On the one hand, I never lose my faith in humanity. That is, I have an ‘ultimate’ faith that most people, most times will tend to do (or try to do, or at least want to do) ‘the right thing’ to foster long-term survival of themselves, their families, their groups, mankind as a whole, ‘life in general’, etc. As human civilization has advanced, our tendency to make war on each other has (generally) diminished (yeah, even as our capacity for it has increased exponentially), our homicidal tendencies are generally curbed (and generally prosecuted) more than most times in the past, and our standards of living are generally (sometimes fitfully) advancing. This is borne out by broad measures and statistics of human history through thousands of years.

But aberrations happen: The Crusades; the Inquistion; the World Wars of the past century; totalitarian governments; communism in general and government-supported famines. These are part of human history, too, even though they go against the general flow of “more civilization”.

So even though one’s faith – my faith, too – can be shaken, damaged or shocked, it’s never ‘lost’. (I admit that sometimes I have to get far away from people to reconcile some of my observations with my longer-term thoughts and ideas, and to get away from over-reacting to immediate injustice and other wrongs.) Perhaps if I had lived in Germany during the lead-in to World War II and during its prosecution, my faith could have been lost. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to endure that.

On the other hand, however, I’m always conscious of what wrong, irrational and vicious things people can do in large and small groups – and some people all by themselves, obviously – that can cause our faith to be shaken, damaged or lost from time to time. And I never fall into the trap of thinking “It can’t happen here.”

I like to be surprised by how well some people can act sometimes, and not so much surprised by as “at least somewhat prepared” for how badly they can act, too.

Coloma's avatar

A party restores my faith, NOW..everybody come to @creative1 ‘s 10k party in the meta mansion. Git, stop yer bellyaching and come to a party!

Sunny2's avatar

2 year old children. Just watching them move and explore their surroundings makes me smile.
What I do is try to be particularly kind; the way I wish others would be. You can only make a change in your immediate environment. The rest of the world may go to hell, but you don’t have to let it take you down too.

mazingerz88's avatar


wonderingwhy's avatar

Who said it’s been restored.

Pandora's avatar

I try to remember how resilient people can be when they need to be. There are some people in the world who really have awful lives and somehow always seem to retain their faith in mankind and manage to march through horrors stronger and better than before.
I call them the beautiful people. They refresh my belief in mankind when I do bother to remember.
I just hate that I never seem to live near any other them. LOL But then my life may be just as miserable.

zensky's avatar

My kids.

ninja_man's avatar

I hate to fall back on a google answer, but here.

Coloma's avatar

I just restored an Alligators faith in humanity by rescuing it from my living room where it has been scurrying about for the last 2 days. I AM the lizard goddess and my legend lives on in lizard tales told under rocks in the night.
” and then, just when the cats were closing in on me and I ditched my tail, this beautiful woman gently untangled my claws from the curtains and put me out in her lovely garden.” lololol

cookieman's avatar

• my daughter
• my wife
• my dog
• avoiding humanity

janbb's avatar

@cprevite And cookie baking friends?

Berserker's avatar

Seeing people do good things for others. It really isn’t that uncommon.

flutherother's avatar

Your faith in humanity doesn’t come from humanity but from yourself. All you can see in that dark mass are reflections of who you are yourself. When you see someone carrying a gun it is your own gun. When you see someone with a book it is a book you have read. When you see a child it is the child you once were.

El_Cadejo's avatar

That makes no sense at all…

serenade's avatar

For me it’s a bit Wizard of Oz/Through the Looking Glass, and I’m still very much learning to make this habitual, but it’s about coming to a realization that the pain you are feeling (which is being masked or muffled or anesthetized by your cynicism) is evidence of your connectivity to phenomena, such as humanity and tha further probing reveals that connectivity is fluid and works both ways. Allowing yourself to surface those feeling and thoughts that are behind the cynicism both surfaces that pain and also creates movement to surface healthier or more loving responses that don’t require you to “turn that frown upside down” simply because it’s socially expedient to do so.

I am one cynical and traumatized mofo, and I wouldn’t try to argue that feeling away from anyone, but my answer is that there’s possibility for a deeper, more life affirming response that can evolve from the same material that cynicism grows from and that doesn’t require that you give up your cynicism for no good reason.

Kardamom's avatar

I can’t say that I’ve ever lost my faith in all humanity, but there are a number of people in this world that have made me or wary and suspicious, people who have created havoc in my life in which I have no control over (with regards to repairing the damage). I do my best not to interact with those particular people and I try even harder not to think about them very often. As far as the bad people in the world, like terrorists and other evil people, I try to avoid getting too caught up in the news. I want to get the facts about what is going on and act accordingly (whether it’s by voting or being more aware of my surroundings), but lately I’ve avoided getting too emotionally caught up in bad stuff. Just thinking about terrorists and tyrants all over the world all day long can take a toll on you. I try not to think about it all day long.

In the meantime, I try to be a good person, spend time with people I like and love. Engage myself in fun and humorous activities and I try to Pay It Forward. You often can’t change the damage that other people have done to you, but you can make other people’s lives a little brighter or easier. I know those are 2 separate things, because paying it foward to someone else, who has nothing to do with the douchiness of the people who have wronged us, doesn’t fix the initial problem, but it keeps my mind occupied and if I can help someone else in a small way, then the world is a slightly better place. At least I hope so.

cookieman's avatar

@janbb: Yes, and cookie baking friends.

@flutherother: Huhbuwha?! Could you explain please?

tinyfaery's avatar

For me, I lost that faith decades ago; I have yet to regain it.

I try to look at it like racism. I tell myself that each person is an individual and just because they are human does not mean they are total ass-faces.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ninja_man I checked out that video and it made me tear up. I’d better lay off the soy products.

Coloma's avatar


flutherother's avatar

@cprevite I don’t know if I can but I’ll try. What I mean is that I can’t have faith in humanity unless I first have faith in myself. I can see so many things that are wrong with the way we live that I sometimes tend to despair of humanity but I never have because I realise that humanity is made up of people like me. I have faults and virtues I can recognise and so do others. When I believe that I can do better then I begin to believe the same of humanity. This was a personal question, what do I do to get back my faith, and this is my answer.

Fyrius's avatar

I don’t think I ever have lost faith in humanity as a whole. Which is quite probably because I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by mostly nice people.

But objectively speaking… Well, there are a lot of people who want to do good. And there are bastards who don’t care if they do a lot of damage. And I think there are a lot of people who have no choice but to do bad things.
And there are some people who genuinely want as many other people as possible to have better lives, and who know where their proverbial towels are about it, rather than just doing all the “good person” things that make people feel good about themselves without ever thinking about their actual effectiveness.
The unsentimental, detached, pragmatic, calculating altruist heroes. The ones who want to see statistics before they donate, not just pictures of starving orphans. They’re my greatest hope.

It would be nice if there were only well-meaning people – and it they were more competent at making the world a better place. But oh well. I think we’ve always been like this, or worse, and we’re still here.
Meanwhile science and technology keep improving our conditions. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll eliminate poverty, and more lucid ways of thinking will make the world a less confusing place, and then everyone will get a chance to be a good person.

cookieman's avatar

@flutherother: Okay, that makes sense. Thank you for the clarification.

glacial's avatar

To some extent, my answer to your question depends on the scale of your disappointment. Can you really mean that all of humanity is letting you down? Even Laplanders and Singaporeans? Is this a national politics disappointment? Or did you see someone kick a cat?

The smaller the scale of the problem, the more likely it is that you can do something to contribute to a solution. The larger it is, the more likely that you’re going to have to find a way to lower your expectations of others and guard your heart a little more.

wundayatta's avatar

I like what @CWOTUS has to say a lot. But I guess it’s hard for me to lose faith in people when I don’t see people as something to have faith in in the first place. Perhaps that is why my views often seem a bit strange to others.

I believe I understand why humans do a lot of crazy and sometimes really malevolent shit. And while it bothers me on a personal level, it does not bother me on the collective level, because (and perhaps this is where faith comes in), it seems to me that humans are clever creatures with a lot of imagination who are capable of solving some incredibly big problems.

Yes, there will be cases where a lot of people die. There will be times when humans kill a lot of other humans. But I don’t think we will kill each other off to the point where our species can’t survive.

Since I see things at that global level, it’s kind of hard to lose my faith in humanity. My faith in humanity can tolerate a lot of malicious behavior. I can find reasons for that behavior that moves the species forward, as a whole. Why do we kill so many people sometimes? Because it helps us learn how not to kill so many the next time we have these kinds of disputes.

On an individual level, I have never been treated badly enough to lose my faith in others. I hear lots of bad tales from other people, and I wonder why I have not had that happen to me. I suspect it’s because I’ve learned how to stay out of a lot of trouble. Whether I’m in the streets of the city, or in the country, or whether it is interpersonal relationships, I’ve learned to identify signs of trouble and I’ve developed coping skills.

Most recently, it was my own brain that caused the trouble. But I made it through that, and learned a whole new set of coping skills.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m cynical about a lot of things—particularly politics. And yet, I take the view that this is human nature and it is a useful thing. The battles may be unpleasant, but over time periods longer than my life, they do move us forward. Sure there are lies and other forms of nasty things, but they are useful.

Perhaps you could say my faith is in evolutionary processes, not humans. I believe these processes are very good algorithms for solving a lot of different kinds of problems, as long as we are looking at things from an evolutionary time scale. Humanity, I feel confident, will endure. I mean, for god’s sake. There are 7 billion people on the planet. You could kill 6 billion of them and still have plenty to move forward. Do you know how hard it is to kill that many people?

yankeetooter's avatar

Me too… @LuckyGuy, me too.

stardust's avatar

When I’m feeling overwhelmed by shit going on around me, I turn to horses. They make me feel better about the world every time. I’m glad I have that as at the moment I find people incredibly irritating.

augustlan's avatar

When I lose faith in humanity as a whole, individual humans restore it for me. The video that @ninja_man posted is a good example of that.

There are an awful lot of good people in this world, Mouse. You are one of them.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves this type of question at least some point in our lives. I hit a few very low points in my life over the last few recent years, and all of this while trying to deal with others who continued to make my life a living hell despite knowing what I’ve been through.

I would say that in order for me to answer this question I’d have to refer back to some spiritual teachings, apparent afterlife communications and the near death experiences of others, along with the repeated messages that usually come from the phenomenon above. The message seems to be the same, that we are not here on earth to live a dream life, to be rich, to be successful, to be without problems, etc but we’re here to enhance ourselves spiritually through our hardships.

I’ve cursed God many times during my lowest points, and I still do. I have many questions myself on why horrible things happen, and perhaps that little thingy in the Bible about us all being born in sin is not entirely erronous afterall. The only thing that I can say is I believe there is likely a creating force which knows much more about things, and myself much more than I do. I have faith that in the end despite my current pitfalls this creator will find a way to veer all of us (who act in freewill) into his/her direction. I do feel that we’re evolving in the right direction as a society, but it will be a very painful, but necessary change before the light comes. I see the good things too in people which help verify this for me.

Ela's avatar

I lose myself in nature until it passes.
It doesn’t do me any good to try to convince myself that people are basically good because most people simply aren’t.

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