One of the rarest phrases I think I have ever heard come from the lips of a human being is: “I just love people”. Because think about it, how much do you actually love people? Despite whether you’re of the belief of being called to love humans or show kindness towards them, how much do you actually act on it? Do you even remotely like people?
Misanthropy, the dislike of humankind, is a word thrown to me by a friend because of our constant disdain or frustration in our lives by everyday situations with people. In fact, my two closest friends and I have a group chat that originated because of our dislike of people. Often enough I’m guilty of saying, I’ll take animals over humans any day. Because let’s just face it, dogs and cats are so much better than any human being on the face of the earth. This is not to be confused with asociality or pessimism, either. I’ve heard a few people lump the concepts together, when in all reality they may go hand in hand, but they are each vastly different.
Why is this concept so prevalent, though? For a first warning, I firmly believe this goes beyond just disliking someone or distrusting someone because of an experience you’ve had, or what you’ve been told about someone. As a second warning, this is just my own opinion, you, as the reader, are entitled to have your own.
Everyone has had a moment of self-reflection, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, often times we don’t like what we find. We’re guilty, we know we annoy people, or do things to harm the environment, or encourage bad habits or practices, or whatever. And instead of just accepting that we are part of the problem, we deflect the blow by saying we hate people and all that people do. All of course without accepting that we also are classified as people, and also do the same stupid things other humans do.
Somehow there’s a feeling of justification in telling ourselves, “well, it’s not just me”. There’s always someone or something else to blame when in reality we don’t like what we see in ourselves.
Misanthropy goes beyond just a dislike of human beings, though. Included in that is a distrust for human beings. Is that because we know what we’re capable of? I believe we as a people dislike our own kind so much because we know we are all to blame for all the crap, for the lack of a better term, that’s happened to this world we live in. We all have realized at some point we’re responsible.
I would not say that people are born inherently evil. But I would argue that people are born capable of becoming inherently evil. I think that somewhere deep inside us we know that, and choose to ignore it, because we’d rather be optimistic about people than accept the truth that someone you care for is going to or could hurt you someday.
You may be thinking that evil is a strong word to use, but any way you look at it, anyone can become evil or bad at any point and time. Whether you like it or not, and you probably don’t, free will is always at play. And whether you like it or not there is someone in your life or someone you may have pushed out of your life that you have cynical thoughts or words about. Before you say you don’t, think on that first.
So is there any way that being a misanthrope is justifiable? This is where you’ll most likely disagree. Because we should love all people and show everyone kindness, right? I believe there is a healthy level of misanthropy. To hate people is what isn’t healthy. Hate brings about racism and other big issues that I’m not going to touch with a thirty foot long pole. But there’s a point and time where it’s okay to say I really don’t like people, I don’t trust humankind as a whole. And if you do, I really think you should be paying better attention to current events worldwide, or asking some hard questions to yourself. If somehow you still trust and like people just as much as you did before then I give you kudos because you’re a much better person than I am.
Hate is so present in our culture right now, it’s okay to not like those that encourage and promote hateful things. I choose to believe and trust in a higher power because I know mankind isn’t strong enough on our own to be trustworthy. You can still show humankind kindness and care without having to wholly trust or like it.
The most dangerous thing on the face of the earth is mankind, as long as we’re here.