It irritates me when people say “faith in humanity restored”. For example, somebody will see a photograph of somebody doing something nice for someone else, and they will sometimes comment that their “faith in humanity is restored”.

I understand that individual people are sometimes disappointing, but humanity as a whole is pretty consistently fantastic. Look at all the great stuff around you…at the amazing world we live in…at the things we as a species have said and done…at how people generally behave nicely towards each other. That’s humanity.

It’s also common to hear “the world needs more people like this”…but there are tons of people “like that” doing decent things to and for each other. Just because you haven’t seen a picture of it on Facebook doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. I’d be prepared to bet that it happens so frequently that it qualifies as “common”. The world is overflowing with “people like that”.

There are 7.1 billion people on this planet. If only 1% of us do a single decent thing every day, that’s 71 million “faith in humanity restored” moments every single day. If my arithmetic is correct, that’s just shy of 3 million “the world needs more people like this” moments per hour. 5 thousand per minute. 83 per second. Even better than that, I’m confident that there are more than 1% of people buying ice cream cones for kids in wheelchairs or giving foot massages to WWII vets.

In my estimation, most people haven’t actually lost their faith in humanity, so there’s no reason for them to state that it’s been restored. A more accurate evaluation would be that their ability to use language effectively is lost. What’s happened is that they’re using a catch phrase in a disheartening attempt to make it clear how pleased they are with a picture of one human acting commendably towards another. They’ve seen others use the phrase, so in order to fit in or to not be pressed into thinking, they parrot the words without giving proper consideration to what they’re actually saying. It’s probably the same part of the brain that tells them they need to punctuate the most mundane of sentences with 17 exclamation marks to vigorously demonstrate their enthusiasm for the unremarkable.

It’s hyperbole, and hyperbole is – at best – useless. It can be destructive if the listener/reader is as dim-witted as the speaker/writer.

If you’ve truly lost your faith in humanity, we probably can’t be friends. My faith in humanity is unwavering, despite humanity’s frequently horrible choice of words.