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.

Book

Acknowledgments

Usually acknowledgments come at the end of the book. But given the breadth, ambition, and audacity of the following pages, it feels necessarily to acknowledge who I am and where I’m coming from before we go any further.

Summiting a mountain

Value #2: Glory

Whereas humans prioritizing belonging tend to form close-knit, conformist tribes, humans prioritizing glory strive to set themselves apart as individuals. They seek to write new stories for themselves and for their societies.

White flower in a field of red flowers

Challenge #2: Conformity

Imagine yourself thousands of years ago as a young adult born into a tribe with its own engrained customs, values, and traditions. The tribe already has a story about who you are, what your role is, and how you came to be.

"We are all made of stories" neon sign

Invention #1: Story

Almost everything of value in our lives is a story we tell ourselves. We can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear them. They exist only in our minds. And yet, without them, we could not possibly form families, communities, or culture. We could not possibly belong to one another.

"You belong here" neon sign

Value #1: Belonging

Belonging was and is the very first of humanity’s core values: those abstractions we create that articulate what we yearn for most in life, that give our lives meaning, that are the foundation of the more ideal future we spend our lives trying to build.

Model of human brain

Inventions of the mind

Humanity’s greatest inventions are not anything that any of us can touch, see, or feel with our senses. Rather, our greatest inventions are all constructs of ours minds, mental technologies that allow us to see and show up in the world in entirely new, revolutionary ways.

Baby gorilla

Instinct

Without instinct, human flourishing would be impossible. Humanity itself would not be possible. We are permanently indebted and connected to our biological forebears – non-human primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, plants, fungi, bacteria, and countless others – for this wonderful gift of instinct for which we can claim no credit.