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How Do We Rehumanize Humanity?


Jack Beers:

“Okay, dehumanization?" What is it?”


Matthew Kelly:

“I have long wanted to write a book just about the dehumanization and re humanization. It is in my opinion, one of the mega themes of our culture at this moment, what is dehumanization? How does it happen? And, what is its effect? When you dehumanize people, it changes the way they treat each other. That's it's simplest form. When you dehumanize people, it changes the way they treat each other. People begin to deface each other, rather than ennobling each other.


For example, brutality divides us while love and respect ennoble us. Do we live in a society of love and respect or in a society of brutality? The question itself is unsettling. And of course the answer is not binary. It's not all or nothing. It's not one or the other, but still too much of society is engaged in various forms of brutality to dismiss the question. And that's just one example of dehumanization. Most customer service people who work in customer service do not feel like they are treated as human beings. We do tend to dehumanize customer service people.

It's, "I got this problem, you caused this problem, fix this problem." But the reality is the person we're talking to did not cause the problem, maybe yes, the great big enterprise they work for caused the problem. But that doesn't give us reason, doesn't justify us in dehumanizing this customer service person. And, so once you start to get into it, you realize it is everywhere. I think the great quest of the next a hundred years is to re humanize humanity. It is a mega thing and it will become a bigger and bigger problem, the longer we refuse to even talk about it.”


Jack Beers:

“Do you think that the dehumanization has taken a big leap? Like it has increased in the dehumanization or intensified in its dehumanization, more rapidly recently than it has in the past? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you think that's taken place.”

Matthew Kelly:

“I mean, no question, we're learning to do everything that's bad for us faster and faster than ever before. Technology assists in that, right? Not the technology is bad, but if you use it for bad things, you can do bad things faster and more than ever before. I think the everyday example is just gossip. Gossip is dehumanizing. Social media is the industrialization of gossip. And so social media has industrialized dehumanization, and that's just one example.


Is social media bad? Oh, it's neutral. Television's neutral. Social media is neutral. Money is neutral. Food is neutral. These things are neutral. How we use them, how we activate them in our life, gives them the positive or the negative charge. But there's certainly plenty of evidence that something like social media is being used to dehumanize people in myriad ways, perhaps most significantly by redefining what it means to be a friend. It's the simplest thing, right? Connect with someone, click a button and they're your friend, but that's not friendship. All men and women of goodwill recognize that, realize that, but it's like a runaway train, right?”

Jack Beers:

“Yeah. I have to ask then, how would you say... Is friendship connected to re humanization then?”


Matthew Kelly:

“Good question. Everything is connected to relationship. The world, society, culture is a multiplication of relationships. The bigger the group, the more relationships that are involved. If our relationships improve, the world improves. Not maybe, definitely. If relationships improve between people within a country that nation's relationships with other countries will improve. Not maybe, definitely.

And then you break it down just to two people. Two patient people will always have a better relationship than two impatient people. Not maybe, definitely. And so, teaching people how to be friends and lovers and parents and neighbors is a critical life skill that is massively neglected, and in fact, almost never taught to most people in any formal setting.”


Matthew Kelly


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