Pročitajte "This I Believe" od Roberta Heinlein-a ako želite shvatiti, u suprotnom nemojte trošit vrijeme
"I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters
so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.”
That honesty can be carried to the stars is what Robert Heinlein believed. In the goodness of his neighbors and the goodness of the human race as a collective.
I think he was wrong.
His wife, Virginia Heinlein, read this item when she accepted NASA’s distinguished public service medal on October 6, 1988.
Heinlein received a standing ovation, and that is not to wonder, as humans like to think themselves good.
Essentially, humans are as good as their surroundings allow them to be. Neighbors in the suburban west surely have no fear of starvation, they have access to clean water, to warm housing and many other luxuries the rest of the world can’t enjoy.
But strip those humans off their well adjusted comfort and put them in the desert and you will soon witness the true human condition.
We may experience kindness of heart due to our emotions, or due to knowledge (although I would never prefer the first to the later), but it is only the manipulation of our primal instinct to survive that allows for true courage and honesty. Once our very existence feels threatened, our principles and morals shift to a different state.
Should this truth close our eyes to decency? Should it ignore all the prosperity our race has achieved since Heinlein wrote his words?
Of course not, humans are extremely adaptable, products of society such as our morals are easily accepted, women and children saved by the sacrifice of males, stealing condemned, killing punished, and bravery cherished.
Yet, empathy seems to have little reach when the suffering is on another continent. Heinlein says that for every criminal we have 10,000 decent people, but how come that today, we have only a small percentage living in conditions that allow for such gallant ideology?
I find that there are many good reasons for a man to live a decent life, you can choose from a specter of different arguments, all great foundations for a meaningful existence.
Democracy is not a lie, not everywhere that is.
Was it not the majority that picked the men who led the wars of the 20th century? Was it not the majority that voted for the world it is today? So what is wrong with that decent majority?
Is it corrupted by media? Yes. Is it manipulated through political campaigns? Yes. Is the majority a poor victim of greater minds? Yes.
Can it defend itself?
If the winds of society ever change their course to a new revolution, it can happen in the west, because the west has the resources, the information and the manpower to change this world.
With unlimited information flow provided by the internet, every human being, no matter its ignorance, can build, in his mind, a statue of virtue that will guide his life, and the life of his loved ones to a state that benefits every human being.
In this regard, Heinlein was so very right.
I too believe in the decency of every man, an idea as farfetched as colonizing our galaxy. Belief in itself won’t do the trick, however, there is something that can.
It is not so long ago that Haiti was struck by a malevolent earthquake, raising homes, and destroying thousands of lives.
Billions knew this happened through mainstream media, millions used the internet to see videos and pictures of it happening, and thousands helped.
Had it happened a hundred years ago, not many mouths would convey their empathy in any sort of way. Today, we can see the suffering with our own eyes thanks to technology.
Truly, empathy doesn’t have a great reach, but technology is here to change this.
The same technology that allows us to sympathize with a human being across the ocean can help us understand the world we live in today. All knowledge points to one single direction-the preservation of every human being and the need to put society’s wellbeing ahead of your own.
Plain words won’t change much.
Heinlein says that we always make it by the skin of our teeth, however, there is nothing in this universe that can tell us with certainty that we will avoid our own demise.
We need to stop blaming the ignorance of masses for the shortcomings of our race. Every human being has a duty and responsibility to enrich his own life with knowledge if it presents itself to him.
I can perhaps rely on the goodness of my neighbors, but can the man across the border of our country do the same?
Only if my neighbor accepts him as his equal.
Humans can have no sympathy for ignorance because the universe has no sympathy for human stupidity.