How Can Humans Become More Humane?

Human history is filled with aggression, violence, betrayal, greed, and other negative acts. How can we become more humane?

While there are plenty of instances of people treating each other with grace and dignity, the opposite is alarmingly common. And all too often, the underlying cause is suspicion and mistrust of the other.

It is easy to understand bad behavior when life and death is on the line. If my family is going to starve, I might steal your food to feed them. That may not be right, but it makes sense.

However, what do we make of more abstract differences? Why do we attack or enslave someone else because their skin color is different from ours? Or they pray to a different god? Or they speak a different language?

There may be an evolutionary cause to our behavior. A person who mistrusted others in different tribal groups may have been more likely to survive into adulthood and have offspring. We may be hardwired that way.

Now however, that same behavior is counterproductive at best, and actively destructive at worst. We can see divisions growing between groups for the simplest of reasons. People are insulted and attacked online, which ruins the experience for everyone. Misogyny, homophobia, racism all run rampant in today’s society.

Is there any way we can improve things? Can we train ourselves to treat others with respect and compassion, even if we don’t know them? Can we overcome our baser instincts and be more humane? On a personal level, what do you do if you suspect you might be succumbing to your darker nature?

Related questions: How can we encourage meaningful conversation? Why do we hate? How can you love someone who does something you hate? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us?

Separation Of Church And State Or Founded On Christian Ideals?

When talking about the United States, is it more accurate to say that church has no place in the state (or government), or that the founders had Christian ideals in mind?

Share why if you wish.

Separation Of Church And State Or Founded On Christian Ideals?
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What Is Your Definition Of Evil?

Someone might be misguided, bad, or even horrible. But what must they do to be called evil?

Do you have a definition of “evil”, whether that includes an action, a person, or a group?

Related questions: Why are bad words bad? How important is the artist to art? What does it mean to be a good person? Why do we hate?

What Is The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Giving — or getting — advice is a tricky thing. You have to be in the right frame of mind to hear advice and really learn a lesson from it.

And yet, given at the right time, by the right person, in the right way, advice can be life-changing. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that wise counsel can change the course of your future, and can influence some of the most momentous decisions from that point on.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you show thanks?’


It can come from many possible sources. Some are expected, like parents or a mentor. You might come across it in an inspirational book, perhaps a teacher or a religious figure. Or it might come from a less-expected source, like someone you don’t know particularly well, or perhaps a fortune cookie. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest sources, as long as you are open to it.

Have you gotten powerful, meaningful guidance that has stayed with you over the years? What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Related questions: What advice would you give your past self? Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? Who inspires you? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned?

 

What Does Spirituality Mean To You?

The word “spirituality” means different things to different people.

For some, the word may conjure up visions of a religious ceremony, attended by a cleric, with or without a choir and a sacred text.

Others might think of healing crystals and psychic readings.

Some people think spirituality simply means a walk in the woods, listening to the gentle sounds of nature.

Each person must decide the right way for him or her to commune with something greater than themselves.

Do you have a preferred way? Perhaps meditation? Praying? Ouija board? Tarot deck? Magic eight ball?

What does spirituality mean to you? Are there certain rituals you follow? And how did you come to your views on this very personal belief?

Related questions: Do you believe in the supernatural? Are science and religion compatible? What gives you purpose?