Tag Archives: kindness

Can we please hold off on anymore human foolishness for a bit?


We are SO close to a post labor, perhaps even post death world, technologically.

But, here we are.  The number of powder kegs that lead to World War 3 or some other nightmare scenario that are just laying about are terrifying.

Syria.  The China thing.  North Korea shot a missile from a sub.  People are still arguing over the whole color/gender thing.  People are killing people for their religion, ethnicity, etc.

We can be past all of this.  We can, as a species, get past this…  freaking childishness.

Then there’s the other side of things.  There’s commercial spaceflight.  There’s a plan to mine asteroids.  Genetics is doing amazing things, and it’s claimed human cloning is possible.  Artificial intelligence is becoming.  Computational speeds and abilities are insane.  There are driverless vehicles starting to go onto the roads.  Somebody woke someone’s brain up with an ultrasound recently.

I mean, dude. We are RIGHT THERE!  So close we can taste… Utopia.  Space colonization and moving industry, power production, even most of the species, off planet.  Clinical immortality is just down the block.  An end to a need for human labor is really in our faces.

We could be the generation that moves us to and through the technological and industrial and societal revolution that’s upon us, or we can muck it all up over stupidity.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, except to try to be a positive influence on those around me.  Maybe you have greater power or money or… whatever, in which case, any help to get us all through this would help.  Maybe you don’t. If you can do nothing else, make someone’s day a little easier.  Help if you can.  Be kind.

Maybe that’s what we need.  Everything goes viral and people embrace it.  I wonder if we could make kindness viral as well.

Try it.  Go tell someone random that it will all be okay.  That they are worthy of happiness.  That it’s okay to believe things or not, as long as you don’t harm anyone else over them.  Let your deity or whatever ism you hold dear take care of that.

If we can all just stop the fighting and hatred, our kids will be able to truly become, and their kids may never know sadness or war or mental illness, maybe even death.

#dontkillthefuture

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Filed under Creative ideas, Philosophical Q&A, Social ideas

On kindness.


What?  I like them.

Yay dandelion!

I propose an idea.

The rules of society, the unspoken rules, the ones you figure out by slow, uncomfortable experience? Let’s do away with them.  Everyone is miserable in some way.  If not everyone, a ridiculous vast majority.  Most of those people are miserable because of those unwritten rules.

Lies are okay.

Me first.

He who dies with the most toys wins.

They are bad because they look/think/believe/want/need differently from us.

The misfortunes of others give us joy.

 

So, in their place, I say we adopt the following, as a species.

1: Be kind.

Kindness would not harm another being through deliberate action or inaction.

Kindness is aware that other human beings exist and they are all affected by my decisions.

Kindness is consistent and constant.

Kindness is not the easy thing.  It is the worthy thing.  It is the right thing.  Not just for me, but for society as a whole.  We are human beings.  We have risen above so much, but somewhere kindness was lost behind.

Kindness does not judge without reasoning.

Kindness does compromise.

Kindness asks for what it needs.

Kindness doesn’t ask unless it’s a need.

Kindness is the small thing, the common thing.  The single stirring of a butterfly wing, that eventually creates a hurricane.

Kindness is powerful.  It doesn’t flinch.  It doesn’t back down.

Kindness takes care of itself, that it might better care for others.

Kindness is subjective, but always tries to imagine what it’s like in another’s shoes.

Kindness is the rock to which civilization clings.  Trust is a kindness.  Honor, a kindness.  Truth, respect, justice, valor, all derive from kindness.

 

We laud ourselves for being tool using creatures.  We call ourselves sentient.  Without kindness as a constant part of who we are as a species, are we any better than animals, really?  Given a behavior comparison, how does humanity rank against the Great White Shark?  (No, really.  Have there been any studies?)

 

As for my proposition and the rules, there need be no more.  From kindness, all else grows.

I like elephants, too.

Yay Elephant!

Now for an injection of “sanity” from the devil’s advocate.

If humans are wrong about being better than animals, then kindness becomes a privilege.  If humans are incapable of overcoming their desires to be selfish and destructive, then perhaps reality is what it shall be.  Poverty must exist because not all can have all.  Crime, hatred, war, all must exist in a world without kindness, because greed is their root. Itself, unkind.

Kindness itself can’t spread aggressively, either.  Kindness can only be an example, spread passively.  We have to choose to do it, and change is uncomfortable at best.

So, the proposition.  Let’s try it.  Choose to be kind.  Let’s see what the world looks like with that as our driving force for a century or two.  Join me?

 

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My thanksgiving memory


thanksgiv-day

I was twenty years old.  I had no job, no money, and was living in a homeless shelter in Chester, PA, near Philadelphia.

I don’t remember a lot of things during that time.  I remember the trees had shed their leaves, and Chester tended to be a generally gray colored place, even in the brightest sunshine.  The architecture, in the area I was, varied between rundown row houses and almost gothic appearing granite edifices of buildings.

I think what I remember best, what is most clear to me, was being hungry.  Not the hunger of a missed lunch, or the hunger of craving.  This was a low, gnawing hunger, one that was the result of too many days of responding to the growl with a few punches to the stomach and some delicious brown-tinged water, spiced with the occasional teaspoon of peanut butter (which fought off the growl so that I could sleep).

I had a couple of friends, kind people who simply saw a young man in need.  Most days I would walk the nineteen city blocks to my friend Brian’s house for a few games of cards and some warmth or cooling, but not everyday, because I didn’t want to be a burdensome pest.  Sometimes, I would walk the twenty-nine blocks to our mutual friend Derek’s house, to see if he was home.  He worked as a truck driver, and more often than not was out.

But, this was thanksgiving.  The day was overcast, and I had left the shelter, reasoning that if they wanted me out of the shelter every other day before ten A.M. not to return until late afternoon, I shouldn’t burden them with my presence this day.  I was happy that it wasn’t terribly cold, because I had recently given my jacket to a shirtless man who had come to the shelter after curfew, and was looking forward to a night spent on a park bench or in a subway shelter(at least until he would be woken by a policeman’s friendly prod to move along, or a playful teen’s lighthearted kick… always leading to a poor night’s sleep).

I had gotten lucky, as well.  A friend of Derek’s, a young man that I didn’t know well, had invited me to have thanksgiving dinner with his family.  I had an address, a few blocks from Derek’s house.  I thought of taking the bus, but two dollars spent on a bus was two dollars that could go just as well towards a pack of cigarettes or a later bite of food.  (Yes, I would choose to buy cigarettes instead of food.  Hunger plus nicotine withdrawal is a misery that I didn’t want to contend with.)

I walked through the gray day, down a street I didn’t know well.  It was only a couple of streets off the “main” road that passed through Chester, but I didn’t know it at all.  I took my time, not wanting to be early or anything.  I looked at the houses I passed, this being an area with more single houses than row houses.  They were small brick affairs, generally well-maintained, with green grass turning yellow surrounded by low, steel chain-link fences.

I came, finally, to the address.  The young man and a few of his fellows were on the front porch, and I stood at the front gate in hesitation.  Unfamiliar people always unnerved me, and I guess I hesitated long enough to be noticed, as one of them called out a greeting to me.

I don’t remember walking to the door, or greeting the young men.  I don’t remember their names, and their faces are somewhat a blur.  Young men, under thirty years of age, well-dressed in my estimation.  A called greeting and genuine smiles of welcome.  Shaken hands and an opened door that led to a warm living room.

I remember sitting on the floor and listening to the talk, the young men in the living room, a grandmother and a few relatives in the kitchen beyond.  The smells that came from that room made my stomach rumble demandingly.

I don’t remember if the TV was on, or what was discussed, but I remember thinking about what the food would be like.  The memory of the tastes of childhood were rejected, as I expected this to be “new” and “different” for some unknown reason.  I remember rubbing my hand on the soft carpet, trying to soak in the warmth held there, enjoying the softness of it.

After a time, the call of food being ready was issued from the kitchen.  I was handed a foam tray and a plastic fork.  I took some of everything and went and sat back down in the living room to eye my tray.  I waited for everyone else to get their food and a quick prayer of thanks was offered by the grandmother, who turned immediately back to the kitchen.

I ate as much as I could, but my desire for a feast had made my eyes bigger than my stomach.  I took my time, listening to talk of football and work and girlfriends, and enjoyed that warmth.  I ate until my stomach hurt.

I have other memories of thanksgiving, granted.  Of family times with mom and dad and aunt and uncle.  Long car rides to visit family and good food, but this one stands out.  They owed me nothing, I was just a hungry stranger.  Every year since this memory, though, I have thought back on this one in particular.  That year, I gave thanks.  Thanks for a full belly and warmth.  Thanks for a small kindness.  Thanks for good people in the world.

This thanksgiving taught me many things.  That good people were good people, and that race was nonsense.  I was the only person there with “white” skin, but I had been there “with” them, “inside”.  They were/are good people, and if there was one or two, then there are others, and generosity and kindness are the things that stand above all else in my memory.

If you were there, and you read this, know that I thank you for that day.   You gave me not just food or warmth for a few hours, but a new outlook, one that has stuck with me to this day.

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