I first came across the phrase The Human Family many years ago when I first read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The first sentence in the preamble states:
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
What if we saw ourselves, fundamentally, as members of one, human family? When I look at our world, I see many divisions causing war, violence, distrust, beliefs which demean others, as well as a great limitation these divisions create which restrict us from working better together for shared goals.
Many of us seem to live from the foundation of our nationality, religious or economic elements which encapsulate our sense of identity. Although those things can be important in fulfilling one’s life, it appears they can often replace the truth of who we all are simply as being human.
Humanity is the one thing we all share, and when we peel back the lenses of social groups, removing the facets which have determined our beliefs about who is “in” our group or “out” of our group, we can witness a genuine beauty and wonder that exists not only within each human being, but all of life itself.
I am an individual. I operate in this world as an individual, relating with other individuals. Yet I also recognize that my identity as an individual is secondary to all of the relationships and connections I have shared with existence throughout my experience as an individual. Indeed, who I am as an individual is something that has developed through connection throughout my life. If I look deeper still, I can see that who I am as an individual right now, would not be here at all if my parents had never met, and I can trace back each event that has lead to who I am all the way to the beginning of everything there is. And it is there that I find my deepest sense of identity. I am not only a human being existing now, but I am also something which has been generated out of everything there is.
Today, human beings cause the greatest impact upon Planet Earth, more than any other species. The impact we are causing has had some very negative effects. We are destroying the environment, contributing to a large-scale species extinction era. The weapons of our warfare have progressed to the point with the existence of nuclear arms that we could destroy life on Earth simply by fighting each other. And as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, an outbreak of a global disease did not create a unified global effort; rather, there was a sense that every nation was out for themselves.
Our family needs counseling, wisdom, and guidance or we may not be able to adequately work together towards a better future for all. I believe that what we need most in order to be equipped for solving both small, and existential problems in the future, is an awakened sense of our identity within The Human Family.