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Towards a New Definition of Humanity


Towards a New Definition of Humanity

Barry Brown

In the aftermath of massacres there are calls for even more guns and lethal force everywhere, even in houses of worship, hospitals and schools. It is a narcissistic doctrine that feeds on the fear of deadly danger lurking within every neighbor, innocent action, foreign country and differing beliefs and finds its solution in demands that every perceived threat be violently restrained and destroyed.

The common bonds of society are rubbed raw and humanity’s long history of faith in friendship and shared goals is abandoned when enemies are everywhere.


Disband the NRA, cops, and the military and pass out drums!
Oh, if that could only be possible…


How, is the chant for “more” guns, in a society awash in weapons, propped up by a government who sell $100’s of Billions in weaponry to countries around the world who use them to suppress their “neighbors” who they have disagreements with, defined as Humanity?


The spelling is close but it should be INSANITY instead of HUMANITY.


Excellent point, The U.S. is more about “the guns” than any other country in the world and along with that comes a record of human rights abuses. To bad there isn’t a pill for that but people will have to dust off their critical thinking skills and put them to use.


Very good and interesting historical framework in this article. But we don’t even need to go that far back in time…there are plenty of civilized countries in the world right now whose children do not grow up in a gun saturated society and militarized culture. We are not humanity’s norm, we are the exception.


I am beginning to think that “critical thinking skills” have evolved out of the human tool kit for how to live life with open eyes, mind, and heart!


I have to agree. :slight_smile:


Given that people have been murdering one another for at least 430,000 years, I don’t hold out much hope…


The very first form of taxation was food - grains, fruit and vegetables preserved in granary structures. Domesticated animals were also slaughtered, preserved, stored and distributed throughout village communities. Many people had no means to gather food. Those who did had two ways of looking at food taxation; either as a donation that a loving god would enjoy upon seeing everyone with enough to eat, or, that a vengeful god would punish any farmer who shortchanged the community. In times of famine, religious and political leaders sometimes had to lay down the law to keep granary supplies full. Thus began the tradition of divisive classes, authoritarian leaders and common folk, productive farm laborers and those with no means to provide for themselves, the strong armed and the weak or vulnerable, early xenophobia.


Hey - there are lots of drumming circles all over the country. Check with community music organizations, immigrant communities.

I’ll never forget taking a class in the drumming style of Babatunde Olatunji - three different parts played by different people - and suddenly realizing that the three parts when played together were generating a fourth part - I was blown away! Talk about the power of spirit, art and insight.


Guess what else happened 6,000 years ago? Humans started impacting the globe with agriculture and population growth to a degree that hadn’t occurred before, e.g. http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/12/16/humans-began-altering-natural-world-6000-years-ago/.

What’s the point of war if you have no fields or village to defend? Yes people had dwellings and cave paintings more than 10,000 years ago but I think the degree of commitment to a location and food production area changed a lot over the next 4,000 years (earliest agriculture is at 9,000 years ago, but I don’t think the impact was so big till about 6,000 years ago).

So I’m not sure the line of thinking in this article is going to help us in our current situation of war and internal violence. We need to move forward with solutions for sure and not act paralyzed, and I’m encouraged by youth activism on the gun issue. I’d like to see more people protesting our foreign aggression too, but any steps forward are good. I doubt any of the possible steps we could take are going to come from what humans did 10,000 years ago (and as WWSmith says, we know humans were violent before this anyway).


I think i somewhat disagree with the author about the big picture.
While agreeing that there is evidence to support the view that some human societies have lived peacefully, cooperatively and equally, we see that our history of the past few millennia is one characterized by war, invasion and all the madness that goes with it. Yes, there are exceptions to this.
But the constant thread in the longstanding brutality we call modern civilization, is the economic demands of survival used by coercive, powerful party politics of various shapes and sizes. With modern monetary, ‘justice’ and political systems enabled by military/police/prisons/fines, we see the rule of a culture that necessitates conformity through poverty and actions of state enforcement/ ‘violence’ in all its forms. These are not democratically created structures. Nor are they necessary - they are created by human beings bent on power and domination.
A new definition of humanity will require that people are released from the bondage of current state cultured ideologies that control and coerce behaviour. When we are not paid to hate, conform, or serve unjust masters, and are able to live freely without the coercive domination, our true natures of compassion, wisdom and cooperation will be able to flourish. Who would have wanted to attack Iraq if they didn’t have to earn a living within the prevailing corrupted social/economic structures? Who would want to poison the water they drink and the air we breathe when they have governance that actually protects these life-giving necessities? Who would want to deny food and healthcare and housing to others if we had a system that ensured these for all? Who would want to work for companies that spread poisons or require you to lie to your customers to keep your job? Who would want corporate sponsored war when peace is an option?
The plight of much of humanity is firmly rooted in a power-laden, anti human culture that demands conformity and enforces it severely. It is a historically generated system of power where the few dominate the many. While it rules we remain in bondage.
We can, if we want, create a different culture that serves us all and the world that supports us. Recognizing the lies and voting for true progressives dedicated to a new form of state/economic structure is a necessity to release us from the bondage that has poisoned hearts and minds. Voting center perpetuates the madness and makes freedom impossible.


John Horgan - http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/07/18/new-study-of-… .

Of the 21 [hunter-gatherer] societies examined by Fry and Soderberg, three had no observed killings of any kind, and 10 had no killings carried out by more than one perpetrator. In only six societies did ethnographers record killings that involved two or more perpetrators and two or more victims. However, a single society, the Tiwi of Australia, accounted for almost all of these group killings.

Some other points of interest: 96 percent of the killers were male. No surprise there. But some readers may be surprised that only two out of 148 killings stemmed from a fight over “resources,” such as a hunting ground, water hole or fruit tree. Nine episodes of lethal aggression involved husbands killing wives; three involved “execution” of an individual in a group by other members of the group; seven involved execution of “outsiders,” such as colonizers or missionaries.

Most of the killings stemmed from what Fry and Soderberg categorize as “miscellaneous personal disputes,” involving jealousy, theft, insults and so on. The most common specific cause of deadly violence—involving either single or multiple perpetrators–was revenge for a previous attack.

The anthropologist , R. Brian Ferguson, considered to be the foremost expert on the early history of war, conducted an extensive global survey of archaeological records and has found no substantive evidence of systematic violence in prehistoric human societies.




Hunter-gatherers are highly mobile, not just in the sense of whole bands moving from place to place but also in the sense of individuals and families moving from band to band. Bands are not permanent structures with fixed memberships. Everyone has friends and relatives in other bands who would welcome them in. Because of this, and because they are not encumbered by property, individuals may move at a moment’s notice from one band to another.People move from band to band for marriage, but they also move to get away from conflicts or simply because they are more attracted to the people or the procedures that exist in another band. Disgruntled groups of people within any band may also, at any time, leave the original band and start a new one.Thus, the decision to belong to any given band is always a person’s choice.The freedom of band members to leave sets the stage for the other play-like qualities of hunter-gatherer life.

His source for this is Hunters and Gatherers, Volume 1: History, Evolution, and Social Change, ed. Tim Ingold, David Riches, and James Woodburn (1988)


Start by respecting what is the same about us all; sapience. Everything else said about humans is tertiary, that is, in how our sapience is defined. Other high minded terms such as “people” and especially “persons” are similar affections. Why? Because term person, above all, is a word of bondage, a secular soul given, by the governed, to the governed in order to control and use. Likewise for Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Jew. An American? Only in the sense of its being associated with a geographic local, which is neither a fact of life or the reality of actual sapient existence. It is a word prison for the unwary.


during years of plenty all of us critters get along pretty well. even neighboring groups of chimps get along. of course, protector animals still must find a weaker or unprotected deer or antelope. then during those years of famine almost every species’ populations are reduced. this seems harsh, but it’s Nature’s way of maintaining balance among all plants and animals. humans, too, would be wise to understand, respect and live within reasonable boundaries. so often i read a post declaring, “every human life is sacred!” i say, "life is sacred! "

just recently i searched for an online definition for humanity, so this article is the perfect place to share. keep in mind if our definition appears a little arrogant, this definition comes from a human.



Humanity is a virtue associated with basic ethics of altruism derived from the human condition.