What Is Humanity?
Have you ever googled ‘what is humanity’? I have. In the course of coming up with blog ideas for More Good Deeds, I often start the creative process with a simple google related to one of our core focuses, such as humanity. While Google’s first definition is predictable: “the human race; human beings collectively’, it is their second meaning of the word which is how we use this term. Humanity is ‘humaneness’ or ‘benevolence’, followed by myriad heart-warming synonyms including compassion, understanding, philanthropy, tolerance, kindness, sympathy and consideration. These are all human qualities we encourage here at More Good Deeds, so let’s take a little look at what it means to be a part of a humane humanity.
For me, one word stands out in the above list: compassion. The human capacity to not only understand what another person is going through but feel emotions as a result is quite incredible. It is also a learned behaviour. Babies, toddlers and, let’s be honest, most children, are not compassionate. They are understandably self-centred and narcissistic. But most of us, as we grow up, learn to read the facial expressions, body language and tones of voices around us. We are taught, by parents, teachers and other adults, how to recognise emotions in one another. But not only can we recognise emotions, we can also empathise: we feel their emotions too.
I hope all of us have had experiences when we have shared in a friend’s joy; whether it’s at a wedding, graduation or after receiving great exam results. Most of us will also have experienced sadness on behalf of our friends as well. When a relative of a friend dies, even if we haven’t met them, you are likely to feel sad. This is empathy. It is the capacity to be affected by other people’s emotions and to react accordingly to those around us. It is also a trait which is often lacking in sociopaths.
Every one of us who is reading this blog is part of the human race. And we are uniquely placed through our complex language to interact and communicate with one another in a way animals cannot. Of course, we may have seen our dog show love or even compassion for another animal (or ourselves) but that isn’t the same. Humanity, as humans have the capacity to express, is unique to human beings. And as such it is a very powerful ability which should be treasured.
Humanity allows us to not only empathise and sympathise with others but also encourages us to perform those kind acts which make others happy. If we are capable of feeling another person’s pain, then it stands to reason that we would not want to cause it. Again, this is where sociopaths fall down. But let’s stick with the vast majority of the human race. As empathetic, humane individuals we instinctively want to make others around us happy. How do we do that? We show kindness.
Day to day, we travel through life with an innate desire to share our lives with happy people. More to the point, we consciously make an effort not to make those around us unhappy. At least, those of us with humanity do. We don’t step outside of our house each morning with the sole desire to inflict misery and pain on everyone we come into contact with. (And if you do, why are you reading this blog?) Humans, often without realising it, all want to make those around them happier, to make the world a better place. This is the wonderful trait of humanity and it’s everywhere.
The news headlines may be filled with doom and gloom right now but, trust me, humanity reigns strong and it will triumph. It may be a learned human quality but it is one which is taught to children all over the world. Why? Because it is quite simply nicer to live in a world in which people are kind to one another. And everyone wants to live in a ‘nice’ world, right? So let’s keep teaching our children humanity, let’s keep spreading the message of More Good Deeds and let’s make this world a nicer place.
Disclaimer: I hate the word nice…
Go. Do. Experience. More Good Deeds.