Is the human race really "evolving"?

What we give to the world is what we get back in return - it is time for us to start feeding the world with trust instead of scepticism, for it to become a better place for us all, writes Akif Khan

2015-04-17T22:23:29+05:00 Akif Khan

Today, the whole day, I had been thinking about these two propositions.

One: trust everyone before they openly offend you. Second: trust no one before they prove to be loyal to you. Everyone will agree that the first one seems foolish while the second one seems the more safe, practical and intelligent choice. Well, many anthropologists would support you as well. It is said that the second position is a result of a more evolved social understanding. A more evolved society will be more sceptical. The evidence for this has been found in the comparison of rural and urban societies. In urban societies, people are more sceptical and trust no one. While in the rural societies, it is the opposite. Unless a person proves to be untrustworthy, he is respected as a loyal member of the society and, hence, trusted. The former position, henceforth, suggests a tribal mind-set.

However, who will decide which position is more evolved? In ancient times, before the advent of social systems, when man was hunting and was on his own, he was sceptical, too. He, too, trusted no one. In an anarchist world, a man would trust no one. In chaos, destruction and in a world demanding survival instincts, a man would be sceptical and wary of his surroundings – including people.

But then societies formed. People realised the importance of other people. They realised the importance of trust. They felt that trust is like love. Trust begets trust. Today a person would not be considered wise if (s)he trusts everyone. That person would often face the worst consequences due to an opposite collective understanding that such a fool will be abused and taken advantage of.

On the other hand, a person who is sceptical in relationships and who falsely believes "trust no one" to be a clever proposition, is, in fact, seeking something from society without giving anything back to it. Now this is for sure that the world is selfish. It is a world of give-and-take. But before taking something, one has to offer something. To gain trust, one must offer trust itself. Not a lose bargain!

In a fast and busy modern world, where materialism is rampant, can we sit back a little, take a deep breath and think about what have we lost and what have we gained? Have we really “evolved”? Do we really not need trust, love and compassion? Are these really archaic concepts? Or are we becoming archaic by following the opposite notions on false assumptions? Has deception not been falsely labelled as scepticism? Are we not applying survival notions of a more archaic world in the delusion of being smart? Are we not getting more lonely, depressed and inhumane day by day? Are we not confusing individualism, liberties, freedom and choice with mistrust, materialism, selfishness and indifference? Are we really evolved?

I was in Shanghai two weeks ago wandering in the streets with my friend taking pictures of buildings and roads. There was this one of the largest financial centre in the midst of the city. Within two hours, I got bored of all that. There were thousands of people around me but I couldn't find any life on those faces. They were like robots. Passing by me, rubbing shoulders with me, standing beside me in the metro and on the railings across the bridge. Even tourists were just taking pictures like it was a programmed routine. It's true for all big cities. Where has life gone? Have we not started another survival war for ourselves and have we not forgotten to live our lives?

I am not at all implying that one should go into the crowd, hand over his/her wallet to a stranger and think that is trust. What I am trying to say is that there is no need to be sceptical of your social environment. Be honest and compassionate and start trusting people. Start bringing life on your faces. Connect, share and love. You will be harmed, abused and face challenges but in this process you will gather some really nice people around you: few, but permanent, and seekers of the same things. Such a society will really deserve to be called an evolved society.

Let's not deceive ourselves and forget our humanity in our busy schedules, alarm clocks, iPhones and concrete buildings.

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