A preliminary reflection on humanity.
|What can I do?
There is a possibility that you feel powerless. In the face of all that goes on, this is understandable.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear to you.
It isn't true.
That's actually incredibly important, so I'm going to restate it with more emphasis.
YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS.
Making it appear so is a part of the game.
Don't believe me? Well let's see. Please consider advertising. Why is so much money spent on advertising? It is spent because that is how a large number of people can be influenced to act in a certain way. Of course that way is usually concerned with them parting with their money, but that isn't my point at all.
Advertisers will spend huge sums in order to target you. They don't do this for your benefit, but you are their target, because YOU are important. The decisions you make are both individually and collectively important.
Every single day you have choices and decisions to make. Where are you going to spend your money? What are you going to spend your money on?
Perhaps even more importantly, what are you going to pay attention to?
That's the crux. Your attention is limited. It can only be focused properly on one thing at a time.
Advertising, education, social media, peer pressure, religion, political affiliation, 'they' all want a piece of the action, they all want to direct your attention, in effect 'they' want to decide how your existence plays out. They may even box clever and give you the illusion of choice.
But you do have power. You do have choices as to how you choose to behave.
Some of you may be familiar with Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Put simply it shows that what you focus on as important, depends upon your needs. You aren't likely to be looking at changing the world if you are struggling to find food, shelter, heating etc. In short the basic essentials to life.
Those that are in this situation are often easy to manipulate. Suggest that the reason someone is struggling to survive is because of 'migrants', 'that political party's policies', 'scroungers', and the attention they aren't expending on simple survival will be neatly turned into impotent rage. Add the rider that 'we understand your rage and we'll do something about it', and the masses will follow your party message despite zero evidence to suggest that anything is ever improving.
Improvement has to start with ourselves. This isn't new, it isn't news, maybe that's part of the problem. In my opinion, we (myself included here, I'm no saint), need to make some important decisions on how we choose to go about our daily lives. Firstly we need to have a think about how we see ourselves. Try it. Firstly, you are being too hard on yourself. You are human, fallible and you learn by making mistakes. Secondly you are too kind to yourself, you aren't always in the right, you aren't singled out for the worst treatment by your fellow humans.
One important decision is to determine how we interact with our fellow humans. Those we encounter during our everyday lives. Remember how unkind you were to yourself? Chances are if you think about the people you encounter at all, you are unkind, or at least uncaring to some of them. Remember you were too kind to yourself? It's possible to understand that everyone else you meet is also fallible, they make stupid mistakes too.
So one way we can all make the world, that is our world, the bit we inhabit, a little better is by being a little kinder to ourselves, and a little kinder to those we share our lives with.
I guess I should give some examples.
Take that one guy. You know - the one who is an absolute expletive of choice. He's the one with a little bit of power who makes sure that you know he's got it. Unpleasant chap at best. Am I going to suggest that you be nice to him? Actually I am, definitely. I've met him, and met with his pettiness, and his display of power. I felt sorry for him, I understood that he is like everyone else, he is like me. He is like me because he feels the same impotence I do, the same lack of power we all do, so he holds onto the little he has with an iron grasp. He loathes the disdain and dislike that he is treated with, as a result of his nastiness sure, but let's see this as it is, a vicious cycle. Who's going to break the cycle? You could.
I have found that addressing someone as a human being makes it harder for them to behave badly. Not impossible of course, but to refer back to advertising, each individual sale an advertisement elicits is of itself perhaps unimportant, but collectively... it more than pays for itself. Likewise, if enough of us treats everyone else as human, cuts them some slack, gives them the time of day, maybe a smile of thanks, it all adds up.
It is no universal panacea, but it will help. You DO matter, YOU are powerful. Try it, find out.