The Right to Live Humane Lives

We live in a society that is not compassionate. Maybe we should change that.

We humans have a right to a humane life. Humane is defined as branch of learning intended to civilize people. It’s also defined as having or showing compassion and/or benevolence.

When I say we all have a right to live humane lives, I am stating an ideal. We humans would thrive if we lived in a society that treated us compassionately – or humanely.

Life is hard enough. We have to find food, shelter and clothing and hopefully find a tribe to hang with and protect us from the elements and things that want to eat us or harm us.  Among those that want to harm us should not be our fellow humans.

And yet here we are, in America, enduring our 355th shooting of the year. We humans prey on our fellow humans. We have institutionalized violence against minorities in our country. The death rate arising from this violence is staggering.

And that doesn’t even include the non-death suffering we inflict on each other in the name of fear and profits. We live in a society that isn’t compassionate. Maybe we should change that.

All this death and suffering is avoidable because it is death and suffering we are inflicting on ourselves.  If instead of responding to our fellow humans with fear we could try responding to them with compassion. Maybe there would be fewer accidental shootings that way.

Maybe kids that are being ostracized for being different wouldn’t be. Maybe their classmates would embrace them and their weirdness and maybe one less kid would commit suicide.

I’m not a Pollyanna who thinks compassion can solve all the problems in the world. But I do think we do better when we are compassionate and humane with one another.

We live in a hostile world. We form tribes to help protect us from that hostile world.  Who are we if we don’t use that impulse to protect to actually protect, not just ourselves, but our fellow humans. We have the ability to feed the hungry. We have the ability to house the homeless. We have the ability to provide medical care for those in need. And yet, we don’t.

We live in a society that isn’t compassionate. Maybe we should change that.

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