The Human Problem


The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon

“Don’t shelter under a wild banana tree and then cut it down when it stops raining.” – Kenyan proverb.

We have made great advances in knowledge and technology, and for the most part we are using them to shape the earth to suit us. On the surface, they look more like convenient and efficient ways for humans to sustain ourselves, but beneath the skin it is more of a desire to control and profit from our activities – and this is generating problems the world over. In fact, every single challenge in this life is caused by humans. Fuelled by our desire to dominate the earth, our actions and inactions have brought about untold hardships ranging from extreme poverty to viral illnesses to depleting ecosystems.

We are about seven billion people, but that figure rounds up to around zero point zero one percent of all living things on earth.

Interestingly, our actions and inactions account for most of the loss of the earth’s vegetation and animals. We should question whether we are really a part of nature or its enemy.

And considering the fact that we know that the depleting ecosystems is having a negative impact on us, why do we deliberately continue to destroy it? This insanity must stop.

We pride ourselves in being intelligent, but this careless attitude beggars the essence of our pride.

Our knowledge base reveals that every living organism, except humans, contributes positively to its ecosystem and in turn to nature as one interconnected life. Ironically, we are the ones who have undertaken the research and made such conclusions.

So, why are we not changing our attitudes? We, the ones endowed with consciousness and creativity to radically improve the world, are the ones making unbelievably stupid moves to destroy it.

Long, long ago, our ancestors understood the importance of living in harmony with their local environments because they lived close to and within the natural environment. They had respect for environmental boundaries.

Today, many of us have no real experience of the impact from our deteriorating attitudes because we are insulated in concrete jungles we conveniently call cities. We do not even give thought as to where our food and other essentials come from. How intelligent are we?

Many of us have witnessed how a few weeks of lockdown last year showed a positive regeneration in our ecosystems.

Not only did this reveal nature’s resilience, it actually reminded us that we are the problem on this earth. So, what is the cause of our ‘unintelligence?’ Quite simply, it is the misuse of our abilities and a misreading of our self-worth. We assume we have to dominate in order to show we are intelligent or powerful.

Just refresh your minds on some of the individuals we label as ‘great’ in history. They were those who set out to ‘conquer’ others.

We overlook the fact that they slaughtered other humans and destroyed environmental and cultural assets.

All we care about is the fact that they were able to dominate. What can be more absurd than that? All things being equal, a harmonious relationship would be the approach/aim of an intelligent being.

When we care less about how we define ‘greatness’ and how individuals are labelled as such, there is always a likelihood that individuals will be motivated to do anything they assume brings them consideration for the great title.

Thus, in a drive to assert our superiority as the most intelligent of species – and among ourselves as better individuals than our peers and others – many of us have diverted our attention from fulfilling intrinsic needs to pursue extrinsic outcomes.

We are interested in externalities because they obtain for us admirable status and opens doors for the acquisition of material status. And with this approach, we employ any means necessary, even it is detrimental to our humanity.

Thus, we find it appropriate to destroy habitations, cultural artefacts, and suppress others in order to be elevated. In all honesty, it takes poor self-esteemed individuals to undertake actions and inactions without considering their negative impacts on the greater good of our humanity.

Recent research has revealed that a craving for materialism is positively associated with unethical behaviour.

It is probably not surprising corruption is on the increase globally, and that more and more individuals are becoming less compassionate and helpful. We are always in a competitive mode, so much so that the survival-of-the-fittest instincts we used to attribute to animals have become our way of life. We have degenerated and become problematic.

Thus, even though we are shaping the earth to suit us, we are overlooking the damage we are causing in the process.

It is time to undertake proper evaluations of our individual self-worth, instead of merely seeking a boost to compensate for our inadequacies. Without that, we will remain problematic to the flourishing of nature and life as a whole.


Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and a life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]

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