I See Humans But No Humanity Essay

I posted a picture from Instagram to my Facebook feed in response to the recent tragedy in Paris which read “I see humans but no humanity”. It was a short, sharp statement that eloquently captured my thoughts: I looked at the people who undertook the attacks and whilst I recognised them as members of the human species, I couldn’t see their humanity. No one could do what was done on the fateful Friday the thirteenth and even pretend to have an ounce of humanity.

I thought my pithy quote would be universally accepted and thought nothing more of it until I started to receive comments that disagreed with me. People, including my Salvation Army Officer, started to call me out: they saw humanity in the response of the Parisians in the aftermath, openig their homes and doing all they could to aid the survivors. These commentators could see both humans and humanity.

Neither group was wrong: the attackers were human but lack humanity whereas ordinary Parisians easily and eloquently demonstrated their humanity with simple acts of kindness and grace.

Both viewpoints were right.

Edward de Bono is one of my favourite nonfiction writers and hold his work in high regard. You may be familiar with his work on the Six Thinking Hats and/or lateral thinking.

Lateral or parallel thinking works on the basis that multiple points-of-view can all be valid. Edward de Bono summarises this technique in his book “How to have a beautiful mind” …

“Parallel thinking replaces the battle argument with a joint exploration of the subject as all parties think “in parallel” at any moment.”

This idea really challenged me. I saw how imprecise my original statement was … which, for someone who works as a Analyst, was nearly unforgivable. The statement I had used lacked precision and was too ambiguous, giving rise (thankfully) to meaning outwith what I had intended.

I then thought of the recent debacle about Starbucks’ red cups. I thought that, as a result of this debacle, there were some people out there who saw Christians but didn’t see Christ.

Now there may be folks out there who think the whole event was and is justified, that in some way they were being Christlike in standing up for their truth. I get that. It’s just that I can’t see it.

When we see things from another person’s point-of-view we may see our actions differently from what they were initially intended to be. Our actions can so easily be misinterpreted and morphed into something we  originally did not intend.

We do not have control over the perceptions of others but we owe it to the Lord whom we serve and represent to be as exact and unambiguous as possible in what we say and do, so that any potential for misinterpretation can be minimised. Our yes should be yes and our no should be no, afterall.

We should also seek out alternate points-of-view as a means of keeping ourselves accountable. Without someone we’ve empowered to keep us grounded, someone who will call us out when we are perceived to deviate from what we initially intended, then we run the very real risk of being received poorly.

We are the only Christ some folks out in the communities we frequent will see. Let’s do all we can to be the best representation we can be.

image: http://9gag.com/gag/4297390/i-see-humans-but-no-humanity

Tags:parallel thinking

About headphonaught

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Son. Photographer. Co-host of the Something Beautiful podcast. Advocate for independent music & awesomeness. Founder of the weareallghosts netlabel and the circumambient podcast.

After the picture of dead three years old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi that shocked the whole world, USA and European countries are willing to take in many of the Syrian refugees. Many of the refugees have arrived in many Western countries while many are on their way. Rich Arab countries refused to take in refugees. They refused to take in their Muslim brothers and sisters who had lost everything including their family members in the war. Muslims believe in the Holy Quran and in Quran it is mentioned:

"And if two parties of believers fight against each other, make peace between them" (49:10)

Arabs believe that they are true Muslims, then why they are not helping their Muslim brothers and sisters of Syria. Refugees need help from these Muslim countries but why are the Western countries helping them. USA and many other European countries came to the rescue of refugees.

The Kuwaiti leaders think that Kuwait is a very rich country and all the people living there are hard-working. If they allow refugees to their rich country their economy will decrease because the refugees will not work with them. Saudi leaders also think that Syrians belong to a different culture and if they will live among them their culture will mix up with their culture.

Arab Muslims who protested against banning of the hijab in France are silent on the issues of rape and enslavement of Syrian women. Many women are raped daily by the ISIS members but Arabs haven’t said a word against them. Large number of Arab armies who waged dozens of wars against Israel are silent on the issue of killing of innocent people by ISIS.

Syrians have lost all their things in this war. They lost everything including family. They need help now but no Arab country is willing to help them except Jordan. After the refusal of taking in refugees by Arab countries, Western states came forward to help those needy refugees. USA and many other European countries have allowed refugees to come and settle there.

As a result of this, many refugees arrived happily to the Western countries. Arabs says that Western are "Islamophobic". Arabs says that they hate Muslims but why are they allowing people they hate in their country. Westerners are spending millions of dollars for the accommodation of these Muslim refugees.

If all the Muslim countries contribute for the refugees then this world will change. We all should join hands together and help all the poor and needy people without thinking about religion, cast, color and creed. May Allah bring peace in this world. (Amen)" And if two parties of believers fight against each other, make peace between them" (49:10)

Arabs believe that they are true Muslims, then why they are not helping their Muslim brothers and sisters of Syria. Refugees need help of these Muslim countries but why are the Western countries helping them. USA and many other European countries came to the rescue of refugees. The Kuwaiti leaders think that Kuwait is a very rich country and all the people living there are hard-working. If they allow refugees to their rich country their economy will decrease because the refugees will not work with them.

Saudi leaders also think that Syrians belong from different culture. If they will live among them their culture will mix up with their culture.

Arab Muslims who protested against banning of hijab in France are silent on the issues of rape and enslavement of Syrian women. Many women are raped daily by the ISIS members but Arabs didn't said a word against them. Large number of Arab armies who waged dozens of wars against Israel are silent on the issue of killing of innocent people by ISIS.

Syrians have lost all their things in this war. They lost their everything including family. They need help now but no Arab country is willing to help them except Jordan. After the refusal of taking in refugees by Arab countries, Western came forward to help those needy refugees. USA and many other European countries allowed refugees to come and settle there.

As a result of this, many refugees arrived happily to the Western countries. Arab says that Western are "Islamophobic". Arab says that they hate Muslims but why are they allowing people they hate in their country. Western are spending millions of dollars for the accommodation of these Muslim refugees.

If all the Muslim countries contribute for the refugees then this world will change. We all should join hands together and help all the poor and needy people without thinking about religion, cast, color and creed. May Allah bring peace in this world. (Amen)

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