This animated viral video has been circulating on the Internet. It’s entitled “Man” (a dismaying title in an era where sexist language should have faded into oblivion), and it depicts the cruel, destructive manner in which humanity has lived on the Earth. As I watched it, I found myself so eager to see how this animation would demonstrate the transformation we can, and must, experience to fix the messes we’ve created and right the wrongs we’ve perpetrated. No such luck. We just become the victims of even more powerful aliens. No utopian vision this.
In various talks and workshops over the past year, I’ve been speaking about a different reality than what this video demonstrates: a reality in which we are living in less violent, discriminatory, and cruel times; a reality painstakingly researched and described by Steven Pinker in his book, The Better Angels of our Nature. Many don’t believe this reality is actually true, given the horrors in the world: a continuing slave trade, sex trafficking, and gender discrimination; the frightening despoiling of nature; the massive abuse and killing of more than one trillion animals each year, and more; yet it is true.
So as I watched this animated film, I found myself thinking how behind the times it was; how dystopian, when what we need right now are visionary ideas and examples of solutionaries doing the important work that lies ahead. But I do hope you will watch this video anyway, and then construct your own ending, one in which we build a humane and healthy world for all.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach”
My TEDxYouth@BFS “Educating for Freedom”
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