Messages of Hope

Humankind:survival of the friendliest

Published / by Sandy

Rev Liellie McLaughlin (Community Connections Coordinator) is currently in Canada to be with family, and ‘enjoying’ the required time in isolation. She writes:
“I am so blessed to have heard some great ‘good news’ in the form of Rutger Bregman and his new book: ‘Humankind, where he places the emphasis of our future as the survival of the friendliest (rather than survival of the fittest).

Rutger believes that humankind is far kinder than most people assume as he quotes studies to prove that bystanders would help 90% of the time, rather than be mean. He asks those people who believe that compassionate work mainly comes from our own selfish desire to feel good, to wonder how the world would have been like if we felt nauseous if we did something good for something else….says that we are ‘wired to be inspired’.

(4.40 mins)
(11 mins)

If one basic principle has served as the bedrock of bestselling author Rutger Bregman’s thinking, it is that every progressive idea — whether it was the abolition of slavery, the advent of democracy, women’s suffrage, or the ratification of marriage equality — was once considered radical and dangerous by the mainstream opinion of its time. With Humankind, he brings that mentality to bear against one of our most entrenched ideas: namely, that human beings are by nature selfish and self-interested.

By providing a new historical perspective of the last 200,000 years of human history, Bregman sets out to prove that we are in fact evolutionarily wired for cooperation rather than competition. He offers little-known true stories: the tale of twin brothers on opposing sides of apartheid in South Africa who came together with Nelson Mandela to create peace; a group of six shipwrecked children who survived for a year and a half on a deserted island by working together; a study done after World War II that found that as few as 15% of American soldiers were actually capable of firing at the enemy.

The ultimate goal of Humankind is to demonstrate that while neither capitalism nor communism has on its own been proven to be a workable social system, there is a third option: giving “citizens and professionals the means (left) to make their own choices (right).” Reorienting our thinking toward positive and high expectations of our fellow man, Bregman argues, will reap lasting success.

On the flipside, when we want to blame (stereotype?) people for their poor decisions….. people’s IQ falls by at least 15 points in scale when they go through thin times. He concludes that if leaders assume the best in people, then our policies will be much kinder, inclusive, and create hope, and cites this quote from George Orwell: Poverty annihilates the future.

Bregman states that he believes that the most dangerous thing to lose is hope….!

Sounds like the beatitudes without the Bible verses….


(this post includes a quote from a Goodreads review)

Book published June 2nd 2020 by Little, Brown and Company