I have a friend who says “I love humanity, but I hate people.” I understand why she can say such a seemingly contradictory statement. It seems sometimes that “some [individual] people” act in ways that give the rest of us a bad rep, causing the rest of us to just shake our collective heads.
A global survey from 2016 offers reassuring evidence that people intend to be caring contributors to humanity. It’s worth looking at.
Everyone does their best to create a world matching what they think are their best ideals. They have their reasons for doing what they’re doing. It’s often worth it to understand what those reasons are.
In fact billions of people are giving their time and money, as individuals or as part of a charity, to improve other individual lives or society in general. Here’s a breakdown of the data:
44% worldwide say they helped a stranger in the past month
27% donated money to a charity
20% volunteered their time to an organization
It surprises me that the United States ranks number two among countries whose people help others in need:
Buddhist countries, according to the survey, usually top the list because Buddhism stresses donating time and money at temples. Churches in the US stress this too.
But the survey focused on how much people helped strangers directly which is something I (probably incorrectly) think most Americans don’t do simply because we’re too busy.
The survey offers the following about the results:
Encouraging citizens to share responsibility for the problems facing their communities and getting them to participate in solving them is arguably one of the most important tasks for global leaders in the years to come.
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think our current crop of leaders are up to the task, which means making the fundamental changes we need is up to us. Thankfully, billions of people do good works around the world. The majority of that work, according to the survey, involves helping strangers. That help often entails benefitting another in a way the giver will never see.
This is encouraging for the work we’re doing. When more people find out what we’re doing and the results our work is producing, they will turn their volunteerism towards the goal we all believe is possible.
Our work makes everyone on the planet better off. Nearly everyone on the planet is a stranger to me. I think humanity is great. Humans are too. Both are worth carrying into the future.
Whether it’s humanity or people, I think it’s all not just good, but great.