Sunday, June 12, 2016

Where Is Our Humanity

    Today has been a hard day. The news of another mass shooting is absolutely devastating. Especially when it was orchestrated against a specific group of people. To think that anyone could be a target because another person decides that their very existence is offensive and they deserve to be eradicated is frightening at best. What has happened to us? Where is our humanity? Because right now, I look at the world and I just don’t see it. And I want to know why.
    To start with, the word human literally means “a human being, especially a person as distinguished from an animal or a machine (or alien)” or “relating to characteristics of people or human beings”. OK. So not truly helpful. Or is it? A human is a person as distinguished from an animal.  Simply put, ALL of us are human, and ALL of us are humans. And although we love them and several seem to have human characteristics, our pets and other wild creatures, are not.
    But beyond that, the definition of human seems to be missing something. I read through several different dictionaries as well as looking it up on wikipedia and not once did I see a truly detailed description of a human. Aside from the term bipedal which means having two feet, no other description is given.
    So why is this important? Isn’t it obvious? There is no other physical characteristic necessary to be deemed human. And our society has forgotten that. We have wadded up the defining characteristic of being human, spit our tasteless gum in it, and tossed it on the side of the road.
    Instead, we have deemed it necessary to add to the definition of a human. We have added color to the definition as evidenced by slavery and the idea that blacks were not human. We have added gender to it as evidenced by the fact that women and young girls can be bought and sold as property, which definitely is not human. We have added religion and ideology to it as evidenced by the increasingly savage actions of groups such as ISIS against those who don’t believe as they do. And we have added sexuality to it as evidenced by the simple fact that LGBT persons referred to as animals, and slaughtered as such, just for expressing who they are. Society has spent months arguing over who can use what bathroom for crying out loud! But none of the above is actually relevant.
    What is relevant is abundantly clear in the short, simple definition above. “A human being, especially a person as distinguished from an animal or a machine (or alien)”. Period. Putting us all in the same category and effectively rendering us all free from discrimination.
    So I ask again: What has happened to us? When did we forget our humanity and go on the offensive against other humans for being HUMAN? Why is this even acceptable? And when will there be enough offenses against other humans for us to realize what we have lost? Because we have indeed all lost something. And unfortunately, what we’ve lost is the very thing we think sets us apart from the animal kingdom in the first place. But until we put down the labels and definitions we as society have put on our own humanity, we will never reclaim that humanity. And I know this is all easier said than done but it really shouldn’t be. It should be as simple as the definition of human itself. But events like today only serve to show how far away we are. And that is the real tragedy.

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