The Fundamental Problem with Humanity

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I’m not sure what exactly sparked off such a topic title. I doubt I’m even going to think too much about it. Having come home from a family dinner, where my little cousin is back from London (1st year law student), the discussion at the table is no longer all about my dad sharing his big ideas with everybody – it has included her sharing her big ideas with the rest of us.

Traditionally, at big family dinners, my dad loves to share his opinions about politics – what works and what doesn’t. His favourites are on the political climate of Singapore, China and Taiwan, sometimes as compared to those that are more democratic like the US. Seems like now, my dad has a new person to jostle his political debates with at dinner tables. It’s pretty refreshing, seeing my cousin share her ideologies, perceptions, opinions, yet at the same time I was wondering how much that will make the world we live in a better place, the humanity that we share, to be more humane. The philosophical me, perhaps, never quite saw the value of contributing to discussions on politics because there is no definite solution, and every debate will have to rest on a balancing point (and constantly try to reach that balancing point), as both views will have its pros and cons. On the other hand, the deeper philosophical part of me is always trying to delve into the core issue of the problem(s) that we face, and how to unravel the knots from there.

Is a good government the solution to humanity’s fundamental problems? Is democracy the answer, or socialism, or a balancing blend of the both? I don’t see a government in the world that nobody rants at, whether good or bad (how one chooses to define it is highly subjective too). What are our main complaints and gripes? Let’s try this from another perspective of what we expect a government to solve. What are the fundamental problems humanity faces? Poverty, social injustice strike a certain chord in me. It is hard to ignore, that there is something fundamentally wrong in the world, and no matter how we ignore it, it’s aching in our very bones.

The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.J. John

The problem of sin is deeply etched in our very being. It’s evident in the way we hate the people we love to hate, the horrible ways we relate to the people we say we love, and more pervasively the things we should hate we are drawn to, the things we ought not to think, we think about.

What are the problems we face today? Divisions at home, divorce, divisions even within the church – people problems. The fundamental problem with humanity is sin. The above quote truly sums up what I feel, and explains my, through the years, inability to contribute to dinner table debates (saw no solution to debates, should get down to root problem instead, says my analytical mind). As anything, government, corporation, management, work out the kinks in order to strive towards perfection, time nor evolution has done nothing to help us improve. Nobody can claim a perfect government structure, management system. Is that any indicator about how far humanity has progressed? I’m not sure. Have we given our people better lives, or through solutions, created new issues and problems instead? Maybe the right question to ask is, does all that we try to do, the enforcement of laws and policies by a government, deal with the fundamental problem of the human heart? Ummmm, I doubt it.

My favourite Author inspired a man to write this in history, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” in Romans 3:23. Perfection is etched upon our hearts and we know, we ache for it. All of us spend our entire lives, one way or another searching for it. It can be found. It has already been found. If this truth is presented to you, are you open enough to receive it? Look at your life, your own journey. Consider how short it really is, and do what truly matters.

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The Commonality of Humanity

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I took the day off after a morning appointment at the doctor’s and just wanted some time to myself. Trying to deal with the mass of emotions that I feel, I thought a swim would help clear my head up a bit.

At the pool, while settling aside my keys, goggles and stuff, I noticed a boy much younger than me, awkwardly moving towards the pool. He was looking all around, and waving at people. I thought he waved at me. I stared back blankly. Do I know him? I had enough to deal with for the day already, without having to wonder what this guy is up to.

I turned to look around and could see no one. I could see him trying to get the attention of other people around – neighbours passing by, cleaners, road sweepers. He waved at them all.

Deciding to just mind my own business, I turned to the pool, and got started on my 20 laps. He too got into the pool and commenced his strokes.

Closing in on Lap 18, I saw the boy standing at the shallower end of the pool, and waving to the security guard. As the guard started walking over to the pool, the boy dived into the water and swam away. Seriously, I thought, this boy is getting weirder and weirder by the minute.

Then it dawned me on how much common point humanity really has. Even though different strokes work for different folks, he was really trying, in his own awkward (in my eyes) way to reach out to others, acknowledging the age-old human need for friendship, assurance and comfort from a fellow human being. Aside from God.

If a person comes to you with a need, do you tell that person you’ll pray for him/her and take no further action? If a person needs an encouraging word, a word of assurance, do you simply tell him/her to pray about his/her situation? He put us here on earth in communities because we all need God with skin on.

So he really was waving at me. Next time if I see him again, I’ll be sure to wave back.