Insights · January 28th, 2023
Are we made to take care of each other? Or is it everyone for themselves? It is one of the most fundamental questions about humanity. And, looking at the many stories that deal with this question. There seems to be a pervasive belief, though sometimes only implied as a sort of gut feeling, or hidden beneath the antics of a slightly to lovable feeling that deep down we are on our own, that we are not our brother’s keeper.
Everybody is awful these days, it’s enough to make anyone crazy.
Even when proven wrong when we are shown as decent cooperate if the belief persists, often expressing itself as the argument that our true nature is mitigated by the comforts of a relatively safe society, that morality and generosity are luxuries that only come to us when the world allows it to show you when the chips are down. These these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. This becomes especially clear in post apocalyptic stories which explore exactly what would happen when we are stripped of our securing structures released from all rules, laws and constraints when our human nature is laid bare. And, our true selves are revealed. More often than not the mirror we are presented with shows an image of human beings who are fundamentally selfish, aggressive, and suspicious of each other, who exist in a world where when all safeguards are down, it is every man for himself, where might is right and kindness is a weakness to be exploited.
Just tell them he’s gonna die.
Anyway, it is a rather depressing reflection and disheartening for those who hope for a better future. And it really is a matter of hope, too. Because how can we imagine a brighter tomorrow? How can we envision real progress when our civilization is this fragile, when it always seems to be on the brink of falling apart? Or as Walter Miller asks, in his novel A canticle, for Leibowitz if we are born math, where’s the hope of heaven? But what if this belief about our human nature is mistaken?
What if we are wrong about who we really are?
Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at futurist.com. He’s a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments. He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.
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