What Must They Think of Us? The Perplexing Human Species.

28 Jul

galaxy_universe-normalThe past few weeks have given me a great deal to reflect upon: the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by Russian separatists, the continued war between Hamas and Israel (apparently there are now at least over 1,000 civilian Palestinian lives lost), and the not so covert racism and homophobia here in the United States.  When I think about these events and activities in conjunction with the weight of other horrific moments in the world’s history, I am left wondering: What must any existing intelligent lifeforms in the universe be thinking of humans?

While I am not certain there exist other forms of intelligent life in the universe, I do think it is a bit arrogant to think humans are the only intelligent lifeforms.  Lately, I have been thinking how I would hate to be judged by  some of the awful actions of other humans.  I think about how we treat girls and women around the world; how we treat the LGBT community, and people of color. Every time a James Byrd, Jr. is killed, a Larry King is killed, we have painful reminders that only certain people are safe to navigate the world.

While humans have only occupied the earth for the tiniest fraction of time in the over five billion years the earth has existed, we have managed to wreak an amazing amount of destruction.  I can only imagine what one might think as an observer from far away.  I would hate to be painted with the same brush as  Chairman Mao and his agents of the “Cultural Revolution.” Nor would I care to be thought of alongside the triumvirate of Hitler, Stalin, and Franco, or even the 21st Century’s collection of agents of hate and terror. Certainly there have been many wonderful people who tried to improve the world, but history shows us more bloodthirsty crusades than productive, peaceful assemblies.

I still would like to believe that there are more basically good people in the world than basically bad. Sadly, our systems are increasingly set up to let the greedy and jealous grab and hold power. Millions are oppressed and marginalized, unable to use their voices for anything other than basic survival. Millions more are exhausted by longer working hours and horrific commutes, and then we seem to only be able to find some salve by being anesthetized by television.

If we want those hypothetical viewers from distant stars to think kindly of us, we need to engage. My hope is we can take time everyday to reflect on how we work to create relationship with one another. How can we use kindness and generosity of heart? How can we use empathy?

When the dinosaurs — the last great “rulers of earth” — were wiped out, it was by a cataclysm that their basic brains and inability to use sophisticated tools left them unable to reverse or remediate. What will be our excuse?



9 Responses to “What Must They Think of Us? The Perplexing Human Species.”

  1. evelyneholingue July 28, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Moving post that certainly echoes many of my thoughts. I especially like how you end your piece, encouraging us to engage with neighbors or simply anyone we can encounter as we go on with our lives. Kindness and non judgemental behavior go a long way, I think. They would make aliens proud of us, don’t you think?
    Also, I want to tell you that I don’t always comment on your posts, although I read them with interest. I like how you tie current events to history and always insist upon kindness.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 28, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Evelyne, thank you! I always appreciate your kindness and thoughtful comments. It is always nice to connect with people putting good energy into the universe. Peace, Michael.

  2. Labyrinth-Living July 28, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I believe it was Poet Edward Everett Hale who once wrote:

    “I am only one, But still I am one.
    I cannot do everything, But still I can do something;
    And because I cannot do everything,
    I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

    I try to do this, and to pass it on. Thank you, Michael, for all the ways you continue to do this and you encourage others to do so, as well.

  3. Dr. Rex July 28, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I don’t think that there will eve be a good enough excuse to explain this away! Perplexing indeed and so much more!!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

      Dr. Rex, thank you for reblogging this. Let us hope voices of love and peace will prevail. Peace, Michael.

      • Dr. Rex July 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

        Let’s hope! Peace, my friend!!

  4. mandy July 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Wonderful post, Michael. Thank you!

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