"Human beings are nasty, dirty animals I wouldn't keep as pets."
This was the opinion I heard uttered years ago by a person I love deeply. It was said at a time when she was retelling her own spiritual journey. She said it, looking back on days when that was how she felt about her fellow men and women. It was not how she felt now.
I'd like to meditate on this dour pronouncement a little, though. It does bear a lot of truth.
Any reading of history will come across plenty of incidents where this has been true. Nations war against nation, stacking up huge piles of death and destruction. One man will war against his neighbor, demeaning and dehumanizing the other. Large scale and small, we are nasty, brutish, unfeeling, unthinking, uncaring, unloving, unlovable. This has been a constant thread in the story of the human race.