Humanity is Beautiful

Kindling Executive Director Peter Schulte’s upcoming book “Humanity is Beautiful” examines humanity’s limiting stories about itself; unearths a new, more helpful story. Here Kindling patrons can read early excerpts and drafts.

Crowd of humans

What is humanity?

Imagine you could go all the way back to the first instance of life on Earth. Imagine you could watch the entirety of the project of life on Earth unfold until the present day. From that view, how would you define humanity?

Pink flower

The first flower

We are inherently connected to, flow from, and are dependent on all life on Earth. We could not be here without it. And yet, we do not just grow as with other life. We create.

Winnie

In the simplicity of her being, Winnie holds deep wisdom that I will almost certainly never fully attain myself. But Winnie does not harness genius in the way that I and all humans do.

Darth Vader face

The dark side of genius

Genius is not only what underpins all our greatest accomplishments, but also all our most terrible failures and atrocities.

Mural of Einstein

Genius

Genius is within us all, a core element of each human and even humanity itself. Genius is not what separates exceptional individuals from the rest. Genius is the capacity that unites us.

Person painting

Creativity

Unlike any other creature known to us, we are architects, artists, inventors, poets, visionaries.

Person looking up at stars

Meaning

Nearly every human today yearns for Meaning in their life. We are constantly either searching for or protecting some sense of significance to our existence.

Goldfish in a bowl

Water to a fish

Since those first days on the savannas, abstractions have become so pervasive and fundamental to the human experience that they might appear as water does to a fish. 

Light bulb

Abstractions

With abstract thinking, we create and consider things that exist outside of our senses – ideas like “justice” or “happiness” or the color “purple.”

Heiroglyphs

Signs and symbols

Symbolic thinking is the ability to create and use symbols that represent real-life concepts. We draw a stick figure to represent a human. We draw a map in the dirt to represent the terrain. As children, we use a stick to “make believe” a sword.

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