submitted 5 months ago by [email protected] to c/asklemmy

Why is the phrase as popular as it is?

On another note, I also don't quite understand what it means or implies. When someone doesn't have faith in humanity, what does that mean?

Also, what is the humanity in the phrase? Do they mean all 8 billion people? Or is humanity understood here as something metaphysical?

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[-] [email protected] 17 points 5 months ago

I don't know about its origin, but as far as I understand people using the phrase, I think they just mean the potential for someone to do good regardless of the circumstances or consequences.

Faith in the character of every human to do good and achieve things.

Not metaphysical.

If you don't have faith in humanity, it means you are cynical and you expect humans to take advantage of situations and act selfishly.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Or you could have the realist approach that while people are capable of altruism and selfless acts, capable of thinking of others and placing them before themselves...

...they are nearly always still tethered to real needs for their own continued survival, the method of their attempts at altruism at often misguided due to ignorance of the total situation, most people are bound by social norms and customs, or ideologies of some kind that often justify overlooking some tragedies and actually perpetuating others, people also generally despise serious sacrifice toward a more indirect and necessary good thing, or a direct and obvious good thing that requires immense sacrifice...


People are complex, you can verify that with psychology, sociology, political science, etc.

Humans, individually and as assembled in various groups, have often stood by and done nothing as crimes and atrocities have occured, and of course those committing those crimes and atrocities are other humana.

A realist has no faith in humanity to do the right thing.

A realist has faith that humans will continue to be human.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Has nothing to do with OPs question or my answer, but to address a single tangent you've offered, yes, people are complex.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

OP asked what it means to not have faith in humanity, and the person who responded to your comment had a nuanced take on the answer. Is that really a tangent?

(btw your top comment is a very good answer)

[-] [email protected] 1 points 5 months ago

Much simpler than my explanation: Are you cynical or optimistic about humanity's moral nature?

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 months ago

I think humans are largely wired similarly and it's mostly nurture that influences one's "moral" compass.

I don't think our morality is evolving in any meaningful way, but I am optimistic about our ethical development as a direct result of our increasing interconnectedness via travel technology and more significantly, social media/online news.

The invasion of Ukraine, for instance, is inciting a much stronger public global reaction than international conflicts historically have and I believe even twenty years ago(or less; Crimea), nobody would have cared that some faraway place was fighting another faraway place.

I think humanity and humans individually are developing empathy past our preoccupation with the monoculture we're born into as a direct result of physical and digital proximity. Understanding and believing that we, all humans, humanity, are all related and connected is much more difficult to ignore or discount via ignorance these days, leading to a further-reaching awareness and empathy for situations distance may otherwise have preempted.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 months ago

Haha while I agree with you on a lot of what you said, I was more restating your response than asking you personally. But I do enjoy the insight.

I think empathy is the only way we can survive. Intelligence got us here, but it won't keep us here. If we want to survive, I think we need to use empathy to temper our ambitions. Otherwise, the people in charge will end up ruling over a smoking mountain of shit.

Also, it was asked 6 (7?) days ago. Maybe your client has a delay of some kind? At least that's how it looks on my end. I'm using Boost if that means anything.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 months ago

By the way, did you ask this 6 days ago, because I just received a notification this morning?

[-] [email protected] 7 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

According to Google book search, the phrase goes at least back to the 1800s. It's interesting to see that spike between 1900 and 1950. I'd bet it's related to the horrors of WW1.

As for what it means, other posters have answered: To have faith in humanity is to believe that humans on average have an inherent desire to do the right thing.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Uh damn. I thought it was an invention of the 1980s or 90s. I mean, according to the graph something definitely happened there.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago

Answer: Faith in humanity is used to express hope (or lack thereof) in our ability as a species to be good or thrive. If you see something that makes you "lose hope for humanity," it is usually a cruel or malicious act that makes one question whether we as a species will survive, or at least have a good impact while we're here. Things that give hope for humanity are usually altruistic acts that make people think "we just might be alright." If you think humanity is a dumpster fire of shitty people and we are inevitably going to bomb ourselves to extinction, you've lost faith in humanity. If you think people are good in their core and, as bad as the bad apples are, we are generally good to each other, if you think that we can build something greater than we are now and are going to be alright, you have faith in humanity. These statements are generally made in hyperbole to express how one is feeling in the moment, and usually isn't a description of a more permanent state of thinking. At least not colloquially.

As far as origin, no clue.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago

The human project. The collective species. Where we are going as a whole. And having faith that it will take steps toward a better future instead of what is currently going on.

this post was submitted on 26 Dec 2023
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