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MrGrimm888's avatar

Have you lost faith in humanity?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (16776points) July 7th, 2016

I never had much faith in humanity. But things are getting stupid. With the advent of the Internet, humans are able to communicate, translate, and circulate ideas that would have taken much longer on the past to spread. Science, technology, and medicine should be enjoying amazing advancement. And in some cases they are. But there always seems to be something blocking the progress. Either religion, or political gain seem to have resurfaced as front runners in ideology of most people in power . The world is seemingly at a tipping point. It’s population is bursting at the seams, and some countries are starting to see the big picture.

We are effectively going to be fighting for space and resources in the near future.

Research has hypothetically proven that things like vertical farms ( ie Popular Science ) could be self sustainable developments. Hydroponics, tilapia,chickens, solar and wind power, recycling, and other technologies are compatible and capable of collectively coexisting for the accomplishment of a greater good.
But people must first put aside their petty differences (religion, skin color, social order) to be able to thrive under current circumstances.

The world is getting smaller quickly . If humans set aside their differences and cooperate, then anything is possible. That’s a BIG if.
Do we (humans ) stand a chance ?

I read an article once on PM that described a ‘vertical farm’ that was self sustained and plausible. They are supposed to be testing 2 prototypes soon. It sounds like these could be part of the answer of how to feed and sustain such a growing population on such a finite space .
But no scientific achievement can save us from ourselves.

Is there hope? Or will we self destruct? Was that our endgame all along? Were we destined for failure?

Am I just a pessimist, who can’t see the silver lining to the cloud that hangs over humanity?

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36 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Humans suck. An axiom that has always been shown to be true.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I think I have a balance for both the negatives and the positives. Somehow, some time, I have trained myself not to react so strongly to anything. Not that I stop feeling, but I don’t let anything happening around me to get to me too much and affect my future view. I fail sometimes though, but I try to keep my expectation under a certain level.

So, to me, human is human, that’s all.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

A long time ago.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was once convinced that we were overall advancing, particularly as solutions evolved to challenges facing our survival and the planet itself. We must face up to the obvious fact that the underlying cause of every environmental torment and a great many of our social maladies is simply that there are far too many of us. Yet even our excessive numbers SHOULD confer us a tremendous advantage if resources were more equitably distributed. Because with 7 billion souls inhabiting the earth, the potential solution to every one of our problems should be floating in the head of someone walking around at this very minute. Who knows which malnourished suffering little girl or boy given other cirumstances might grow up to discover the breakthrough cure for aids or cancer? Consider the waste in better than a third of the world’s population being denied it’s potential by simply beginning life as girls.

The threats to our survival and a great many of the creatures and plants who share our planet grow ever more dire, and I had expected my country to be in the forefront of the race to outhink our impending doom. But it has become apparent in recent years that thinking is a declining characteristic in our national outlook, and to my tired old ass, the evidence appears irrefutable. Now the one hope I still harbor is that my perspective is warped because I am old and tired, but to quote Monk’s theme, “I may be wrong now, but I don’t think so”.

flutherother's avatar

I resist the temptation to lose faith as there is nothing to be gained by it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ragingloli I’m not convinced that the majority of us arrive here sucky. It’s living among ourselves that seems to warp things, and a great many of us either evade the bending forces, actually survive them intact or better yet, emerge improved.

canidmajor's avatar

No, I haven’t.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@MrGrimm888 “Am I just a pessimist, who can’t see the silver lining to the cloud that hangs over humanity?”

Maybe now. Quite a normal and predictable phase that everyone goes through at some point in their life. I suffered that phase for a long time in a younger day. Some folks stay there forever. Some don’t.

The next phase is much tougher than the one you may be in now though. It’s the phase that many people will avoid at all cost because it’s so painful to admit. It’s the phase that encourages remaining in pessimistic self righteous judgmental mode. It’s the phase where we discover we are hypocrites. Much easier to remain pessimistic than admit hypocrisy. Your statement reveals you may be approaching that phase.

For instance…
” things like vertical farms ( ie Popular Science ) could be self sustainable developments. Hydroponics, tilapia,chickens, solar and wind power, recycling, and other technologies are compatible and capable of collectively coexisting for the accomplishment of a greater good.”

Is there anything stopping you from pursuing these “greater goods” yourself? Usually the reason given is that we don’t know how. And it’s much easier to complain that “people” aren’t doing it than to actually do it ourselves. Someone who really cared about it… really cared, would learn how, and implement it into their own life, and thereby set an example for others to follow. Become an expert in any one of them, and show the way.

Then… the pessimism will dissolve, and be replaced by the enthusiasm of one who sees joy in the faces of those they enlighten.

Good to be concerned about these issues @MrGrimm888. Excellent of you to speak out on them. Proof you have passion. Proof you are alive and aware. That energy would be well spent (perhaps better spent) upon enacting a change in yourself first, and enjoying the benefit it brings to others by default.

Helping others is the easy part. But it won’t happen until we help ourselves first. And that’s the really really hard part.

kritiper's avatar

OH, yes! A LONG time ago!

Coloma's avatar

There is no news under the sun. People have been complaining about the evils of the world, corruption, murder,violence, since the dawn of time. Yes, I do think we are at a tipping point due to the sheer volume of humanity, and yes, we have wreaked havoc on this planet since the industrial revolution, and yes, our resources and nature are dwindling and have been raped and pillaged, perhaps beyond repair, but….I think the balance between good and bad remains fairly balanced. All anyone can do is their individual part.

I go forth with good humor and a friendly, approachable, demeanor every day. I have lived on rural properties forever, rescue wild life and pets, have had numerous happy farm animal pets, I always offer help when I see a need and comport myself with integrity. That’s the best we can do.

You don’t need a vertical farm to grow your own and share your bounty with your friends and neighbors. The big picture stuff, while important to contemplate, has no bearing on what you can do as an army of one. Dig up your backyard, plant a garden, get a couple hens for eggs, plant a fruit tree, volunteer for a wild life rescue group, or habitat for humanity, be friendly, helpful and cheerful where ever you go. That’s a damn good start.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Does anyone find it odd that claiming to have lost faith in humanity is by default claiming to have lost faith in yourself? And if not, then you’ve set yourself apart from humanity. Which makes it easier to pass judgment upon it, almost like humanity is a different species, or race, beneath and unworthy of the one who judges it.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from becoming a weird type of god complex or the ultimate form of racism. Careful with that please. It’s the same line that cult leaders use to cultivate victims.

I’d personally like to believe we’re all in this together.

janbb's avatar

Nope – I think there are as many good people in the world as evil; it’s just that evil gets the most noise.

LostInParadise's avatar

Predicting the future is a fool’s game. There are so many people in the past who thought they knew what was going to happen and ended being proved totally wrong on most of it.

I think we are reaching a tipping point, but I have no idea which way we are going to tip. Even ignoring possible new game changing events, if we just extrapolate what is happening now it seems apparent that something major is going to happen. Things like climate change, resource depletion, artificial intelligence and GMO’s suggest things are going to be much different than they are now.

Human culture is very flexible. There is no fixed nature of humanity. I am heartened by Steven Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, which I have mentioned several times before. The book shows that historical data point to a fairly steady decrease in worldwide violence over the last 400 years. I will hazard no guess as to whether the future is rosy, but it is best to err on the side of optimism. If we have a vision of a better future then we at least have a shot of making it so.

MrGrimm888's avatar

RERRL. Thank you for your carefully crafted response. It is thoughtful and enlightening. I feel I should clarify, that I don’t think that I’m ‘better’ than others so much as different. My utopia would be a world of coexistence with nature and one another. Something like native American culture maybe. Minimalist destruction of our environment, and only taking enough to live on. ‘Normal’ man has bent the Earth to his desire, regardless of the consequences. He spends his time ripping rainforests up to get to gold and other ‘valuable’ things under it. The real ‘valuable’ thing though is the forest itself. Gold and diamonds will always exist in this universe. Our unique mother Earth and her once thriving oceans, rivers, rainforests, and diverse range of lifeforms will not. One day humans will look around and see nothing but what we created. Nature itself will np longer exist. The wealthiest people then, would trade all the diamonds and gold and material crap for future a small patch of grass to feel under their bare feet.
I judge humanity by its actions. That’s fair to me, as I would be judged by mine. I don’t sit on a throne of atheistic self grandeur.
I feel like an alien on my own planet. Again , not better, maybe worse. Maybe people are supposed to be greedy, self absorbed, and uncaring about how their actions affect others and the world we live in. In that sense, I am an outcast. I simply cannot relate to most people. I don’t have any intentions of trying to make this world better for my fellow man. People IMO, don’t deserve a better place. They run like Lemings , all charging off the cliff of reason. Humans made this bed. Now they must lye in it.

We’re all in it together all right. But not like in some happy ark that just has to wait for the flood to go away. More like we’re all on a runaway train. Headed for a brick wall, that even though we see coming, can’t stop.
Your ideas about inner peace, and understanding are great. Introspective thought and self advancement are important. The problem is that the sheep would rather stand under a tree in a lightning storm. Like ostriches, they think they are safe with their heads in the sand. But their ass, is in real trouble….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sometimes. Then someone does something to restore it again.

One time the kids and I were coming back from a vacation. It was just us. I stopped to get gas. I asked the lady if they took Discover cards. She said “Yes.” So I filled up the tank, $35. When I went to pay the guy, who was the owner, said they didn’t take Discover cards. I didn’t have a check. I was stuck. I said I could mail him a check when I got home. He was not the trusting type and said he’d keep my spare tire as collateral. I said “OK.”
He started to take it out, stopped, shook his head and said, “I can’t take your tire. Not with you all alone, with little kids, and it’s getting dark. I can’t.”
I again promised to mail him a check. He gave me the address but just knew I wouldn’t send the money…but I did.
I got a letter back almost immediately, thanking me profusely, and saying I had restored his faith in humanity!

That made me feel good.

Coloma's avatar

@MrGrimm888 So start a commune. Hey, I was a 70’s girl, and being/thinking differently was the norm in the 60’s and 70’s, sadly the utopian visions came and went but lots of people still carry the torch of those times. I do. I moved to a secluded rural property at age 17 and 40 years later I still live, lightly, in a peaceful manner. Round up some like minded peeps, lease or buy some land, and create your own Utopia. it can be done!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Coloma, I’ve already been compared to a cult leader. But I have no interest in turning the minds of others. I merely enjoy hearing others opinions about certain subjects, and engaging them in debate on the subjects. I appreciate your answer though, and respect your contribution as always.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Dutchess, thank you for your story. But you personally have no reason to be on my list of those whom I think are part of the problem. You seem to be a genuine person, who is thoughtful, and compassionate. The world, and my question would be different if more people were like you. You’re just a good person, and have no role in my tireless ridicule of humanity. Rock on…..

MrGrimm888's avatar

Lost in paradise, I appreciate your contribution. But IMO to ‘err on the side of optimism, ’ sounds quite naive . At least in regards to humanity. Erring on the side of optimism is the personality type con artists and those who would manipulate you for their own gain prey on. You would be wise to carefully consider most decisions in life as if the worst case scenario will be the outcome. Then you will be prepared as best as possible. Optimistic thinking is why the BP oil spill was so terrible. Nobody planned for the worst case scenario. Same with northern Japan after the tsunamis. Being proactive, is better than being reactive, in most cases. I’m afraid that optimism is almost superstition to me. The universe itself is built on chaos. Chain reactions of events led to what we currently inhabit. Chain reactions of recent events have led to global instability. The Syrian conflict, and it’s refugee migration will change Europe forever. Russia, and China are starting a land grab of sorts. It won’t be long until a country lays claim to the moon, or Mars.
If you know of a sudden change about to happen with humanity, let me know. Otherwise you’re ‘hopelessly optimistic. ’ A state of mind I envy, but don’t share.

LostInParadise's avatar

@MrGrimm888 , I agree with you that for things that we have control over or that we can guard against, it is best to prepare for the worst. For those things that are not under our control, it is best to imagine a better future and to hope that we will be capable of working toward it. I am not counseling naive optimism. I am just saying there is not much point in taking a defeatist attitude and assume that we are headed toward an apocalypse, because such an attitude can become self-fulfilling.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Lost in paradise, I agree. That defeatist thinking is counterproductive sometimes. But at what point is optimism an equally concerning trait? Optimism implies a sort of ‘good faith ’ that good things will simply happen. That is not realistic. Nor is ‘hoping’ humanity changes its course .Because, it would be bad if it didn’t. Some would call my view defeatist, I call it realistic.

What ‘optimistic’ facts can you provide to defend your optimism? 7 billion people have at least 7 billion problems. That is a lot of problems.

I just don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel…I don’t think that makes me defeatist. It means I have eyes and ears. These are not good times….

canidmajor's avatar

@MrGrimm888: Study your history. There have never been “good times”. There have always been wars, genocides, plagues, etc etc etc. Perhaps the trick is, instead in of focusing on your overwhelmingly giant perception of A World On The Brink, look at communities, neighborhoods, clusters of humanity that look out for each other from day to day. You proclaim yourself a “realist” and the rest of us “naive”.
Enjoy the arrogance of your misery. I have found that most of humanity is OK, we’re just not newsworthy.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor Right, we are, mostly, legends in our own minds. haha

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I believe the majority of people just like me. The ones you read about and hear about are prominent precisely because they are an aberration.

NerdyKeith's avatar

No I most certainly have not. As a humanist I believe there is hope for the human race yet. We have come a long way from bashing sticks over our heads and wearing the skins of bears. I try not to pay too much attention to all the horrors of the world. Obviously I express my opinions on such human caused tragedies from mass shootings to cases of hate crimes. But there is good in the human race too. There are good people who want to do good things and make the world a better place. There is hope for us.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Candidmajor, I never called anyone naive . I was trying to point out that optimism isn’t necessarily a valid view point, either. Believing blindly that everyone will just decide to be good people, and behave different is not realistic. Hope is important, but I can’t fly the optimism flag.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I am trying to follow what exactly you mean by humanity, or kindness, social ability, something else? You speak of technological advances, but to me that doesn’t play on humanity. You speak of overcrowding; there is really no overcrowding issue less certain places everyone wants to live at or can’t move from and a high birth rate. On this planet there are vast, vast areas that no humans live on. Maybe because there is no civilization there and no one wants to ”rough it” to that extreme, we do like our Walmarts and McDonalds. As far as hunger, that too is not a true universal problem, there is so much food here in the US and other first world nations we can use food as comfort, celebration fodder, etc., institutions and restaurants toss so much eatable food out a good portion of the 3rd world could be fed by it; the problem is, it is here and they are there, so the food that they could use they cannot access. Certain areas have shortages but the world has a whole have way more than they need, look at the waist line of the average American. Vertical farms might have some use in some areas but if one wanted to, there is so much land out there in which to grown things but it might mean you have to displace some animals, and if that is not desired, then vertical farms would make sense to grow more on less of a space footprint. If it has to do with how humans connect and interact with other, I can’t say I lost faitrh in that because I never had it in the 1st place.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

I’m pretty much there, although my reasons are probably more personal than some of the above posted ones.

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MrGrimm888's avatar

HC, there are many places where space is a premium, like Japan. They already use vertical thinking in much of their designs. I suppose I brought that up because 7 billion people will eventually become 9 billion , and so on. Many articles I have read on food suply are quite different from your answer. Yeah the US throws lots of edible food away, and if not for logistics it could help. But there are millions on Earth who suffer from famine or malnutrition. Some of the American people you mention with large waistlines are actually malnurished. Just because you get fat eating happy meals doesn’t mean you have what your body needs. People are fat and undernourished because a balanced, healthy diet is very difficult to obtain for people living paycheck to paycheck. Hard to buy fruits, vegetables and the like when you have 15 dollars to last you 3 days after you paid the water bill.
Many of the places nobody lives are harsh environments. Agriculture isn’t feasible in these areas. The cost of trying to live in such places would far out weigh the cost of feeding them where they are. It would be like living on another planet in some areas. You seem to indicate people are somehow to blame for being born in abject squalor, and not deciding to ‘rough it’ by trying to raise crops in the vacant ‘fixer upper’ , glaciers and mountains, with hurricane like weather that is Antarctica. Or maybe they could live in the desert, where most humans wouldn’t last a day. Vertical farms make more sense than populating frozen waste lands or vast deserts.
People live on tip of one another in most big cities in 3rd world countries because those cities are their only hope of finding work of some sort. You can’t just take your family and walk to a different country (see Syrian refugees, trying to get into Europe. ) It takes money and/or connections to immigrate. Two things most poor and hungry don’t have.
The single biggest problem is the distribution of wealth. The uber rich not only hoard their money and resources, they are also usually the ones helping keep laws in place that keep poor people poor.

LBM's avatar

Sadly, yes I have. I have been proven on numerous occasions that people just don’t care like they used to do. I think that is sad.

SmartAZ's avatar

After a lifetime of whining I finally have learned enough to understand what is going on. I have faith that mankind will continue to screw up every possible way. I have faith that mankind will continue to demand more and more government to “do something” about screw ups. I have faith that governments will do no such thing, but take all the power and tax money anyway, and then punish the people for their screw ups. Thus it ever has been, thus it ever shall be.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@MrGrimm888 HC, there are many places where space is a premium, like Japan.
As far as space, I was thinking globally, as in the entire planet. Certainly there are places where land is scarce, Japan as a nation being one of them, for they have a high population but somehow over the centuries lost a lot of territory. Then you have Russia that has huge swaths of land no one lives on, as well as the US, and Australia.

They already use vertical thinking in much of their designs.
I don’t think vertical thinking is all that new, when I was a child I remember seeing articles in publications they gave us to read where it spoke of verticals cities that were supposed to be 5 to 8 miles high, with certain levels dedicated to shopping, industry, etc. the thought (at that time) was to have everyone work and live in the city they were so the need for freeways and commuting would be drastically reduced. They could have just gave us the flying cars they promised.

Some of the American people you mention with large waistlines are actually malnurished. Just because you get fat eating happy meals doesn’t mean you have what your body needs. People are fat and undernourished because a balanced, healthy diet is very difficult to obtain for people living paycheck to paycheck.
Nutrition notwithstanding, they still have the luxury of having an abundance of it. I am sure if some people in the 3rd world could be asked, would yo9u rather have 5 hollow calorie meals a day or one healthy meal every four days, they will go with quantity over quality; that hollow calorie meal might just keep their youngest child alive another day or so until the UN truck comes in with their ration of millet.

People live on tip of one another in most big cities in 3rd world countries because those cities are their only hope of finding work of some sort.
That is the basis of most perceived overcrowding, not because they are forced to because there is no other land, like Japan, but because for some reason, jobs, shopping, health care, infrastructure, etc. many people want to be in the same area as the next, so they are on top of one another for the scares space available in that area.

MrGrimm888's avatar

HC, I think I agree with pretty much all of that.


I still have no hope for us though, as a species.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ there is always hope if there is a true will to change…...

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s not a change. It’s a shared philosophy. Even a broken clock is right twice a day;)

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