I have always felt an affinity for the extraordinary, the misunderstood lone marcher to a different beat. I want to be an advocate for the underdog. A champion for the unique, the quiet, the humble and the meek, for the underestimated and under-appreciated, for the kind, for the strange and beautiful, for those who feel out of sorts, out of time and out of place, for the anxious and the disturbed, for the sad but hopeful, for the awkward and the shy, for the anxious and the brave, for the deep thinkers and sensitive souls, for those who feel the system is rigged and life is unfair…
For we who feel voiceless in this loud world. Fate has not forsaken us.
We not alone… We contain multitudes…
It is through alliance and unity that we the unique can make a difference as a force to be reckoned with. It is up to those of us who have a voice to speak up!
If I accomplish anything with my writing I want to tell all those who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness that you are not alone. There are others who may be different from you, others from different times and places, others who who may be different in every way but share this same longing, the doubt and insecurity, the same fears. The same need for love and understanding and for peace, a need for a place to grow in the sun and become more.
There is that great untapped potential that many of us still have hidden deep inside. We all have our treasures. They should be encouraged to come out with exuberance like Spring and cultivated like exquisite orchids. Like fine art this wonderfulness should be shared with everyone.
Society gets hung up on the package and not the contents. We are a judgmental lot. So much gets lost in the roar of the crowd.
It is up to all of us to be there for us all…as they say we are after all just walking each other home.
We can help each other. It is through alliance that we the different, the unique and the misunderstood can make a difference. We are a force to be reckoned with. We can celebrate our uniqueness and that of others. Our strength lies in our diversity, our unity and our willingness to speak up for each other.
There are many more of us than them…
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” ― Walt Whitman
“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.” ― Bill Watterson
Just another winter’s day, just another icy commute in the dark. You can hear the shuffling of footsteps on the frozen ground. No one speaks, no one smiles, we all just keep moving..
People waking to and fro, many in a hurry, most of them with the same look; that same glazed over gaze which extends beyond the person right next to them as if the other person, the fellow human is not there at all. It is a tunnel vision of sorts, it could be more of a selective vision. It is an acquired ability. We are not born with it; this talent for ignoring the obvious.
It comes out of necessity and takes practice. In this rapidly changing world, many of us are getting a lot of practice. If you live in a large urban area you probably know what I mean…
I know you’ve seen them: Their swelling number are almost impossible to ignore. The tents and blue tarps under bridges, the huddled sleeping figures in crowded doorways. It’s not just in my city or yours, it’s everywhere.
And it scares the hell out of me. And I shiver. From the cold or that icy fear or both I don’t know.
Last night in my city of Portland, Oregon a newborn baby died possibly from exposure, sitting in its homeless mothers arms. This would be the 5th person to die from the cold in the last 2 weeks here.
What kind of people are we? We forsake our most vulnerable citizens. It is a sickness I think this indifference. One of ills of our society and one that just seems to be growing.
We are told those less unfortunate deserve their fate. It is easy to want to believe that. That means if I work hard and toe the line and do what I am told. I too won’t be one of those less unfortunate ones, it is tempting to want to believe this; it feels safer.
At least I think it does…
I think of all the people in the US who have just lost their health insurance. Again I could be indifferent here, I have mine. To me, seeing a doctor is not a luxury…yet.
I have a warm home and enough food to eat.
Why should I worry about these strangers? Many of them are probably drug addled or mentally ill. They probably want to be out here. They like living on the fringes of society. No bills , no responsibilities. Not my problem… Right?
The man at the bus stop with the unkempt beard and the wild eyes. He is hard not to notice; wrapped in a tattered blanket he is shouting obscenities at the sky. My pulse quickens; I am scared and I tiptoe past him hoping he doesn’t notice me, I walk down to the next stop.
Nothing is all black or white. But we are all human from the innocent babe to the wild man at the bus stop. We are all part of the same human family. I admit it is easier to care about the pretty, the untarnished, the salvageable.
I imagine the man with the wild eyes was that too once; pretty, untarnished, salvageable. Now he is just part of the wreckage left behind to lurk in the shadows, in the cold doorways, watching everyone look away…
Something to ponder on…
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
― Stanley Kubrick
Kindness is magic.. It is a warm glow that uplifts the heart and nurtures the soul. We are social creatures and we rely on the milk of human kindness. It is simple yes, but too eluding in this world. It is all too rare and oh so beautiful like a lone purple wildflower among a sea of indifferent green.
As I’ve grown older I appreciate simple acts of kindness more and more.
There are two sides to kindness; the giving and the receiving. Both teach us valuable and distinct lessons and at some point in our lives we will have experienced each side to varying degrees.
I have found those who have suffered the most, endured the most, to be some of the most understanding, generous and kindest people I’ve ever met, but that road is not easy, these are the exceptional ones, the stronger ones, there are others, ones that have fallen by the wayside. The ones that society is all to eager to overlook. There are those with hard outer shells forged out of fear, the ones that seem too tough to crack. They may be gruff, indifferent or just plain mean. All of them are human beings and nine times out of ten all they need is some simple human kindness. One could say that there are those who don’t deserve such a precious commodity as kindness. I say they are the ones that need it the most. It’s not easy to be kind to some. Be the stronger one.
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.
To openly express empathy for someone else, especially a stranger is sometimes looked upon as weak or at least eccentric in our society. How off the mark is that? It requires strength to practice compassion. Being kind is not always so easy. It often requires putting aside our natural selfishness to put someone else first. It may involve some sort of sacrifice however small or large, and no one said it would be easy. We have all heard stories of great kindnesses done upon others. It makes my heart sing to hear of these good deeds but it is those simple kindnesses; the one’s we do everyday unto each other, the one’s that seldom get noticed. To me, they are the most important, the most crucial in adding some peace, love and understanding to this eclectic mix of lifeforms on this lovely planet of ours.
If we as a society can collectively decide to put a greater focus on kindness and it’s cultivation, our world would be a kinder place. Kindness is an asset to our civilization and it should be treated as a precious commodity.
Empathy and kindness should not only be encouraged in schools but taught. We are not born being kind. It isn’t until at least the age of two before we show our natural capacity for empathy and it isn’t until four or five before we exhibit a theory of mind, meaning that we are able to understand that other people may have feelings and beliefs that are different from our own.
We learn kindness from others; by how we are treated and our experiences. We are shaped by this. Those of us who have experienced kindness, gentleness and love in our lives, especially in our younger years are more apt and more able to express those very same emotions and sensitivities to others. It is our young people who will form the world of the future. It is these same people that are being exposed to constant messages of civil unrest, violence, bigotry and hatred. Our society tells us one thing and does another. The civilness of what we deem a civilization is eroding at the edges. I fear we are being desensitized to the suffering of others–there’s so much of it. The media puts this suffering on center stage dressed up as infotainment and presented to us through the safety of our screens. It’s easier to be indifferent, it’s easier not to care.
All the more reason to care…
I am compelled to make up for every little pain I have endured in my life, every unkindness done to me, through indifference or pure malice. I try not to take the acts and attitudes of others personally. I’ve found most of those who strike out in anger do so not out of hate for the victim but out of a hatred for themselves. Hurt travels. It is infectious; a vicious cycle of contagion. This is something I try not to succumb to.
It is kindness that I like to spread as my defiant act against a cold and heartless world. For every unkindness done to me, I try to do a kindness to make up for it. That warm glow is priceless my friends and it feel so good. Simply put: Doing good makes us feel good.
This is the stuff that can change the world. We can change the world! One smile at at a time, one act of kindness multiplied by seven billion..and then some and then some more..until those acts of kindness cover us all and heals the hurt that ails us.
Music effects me like nothing else; pure sound melts into my body and fills my every pore. It travels down deep through my veins and capillaries straight to the heart then to the soul where it lingers a while, resonating like a fine wine. I am intoxicated. Even amid what may seem like chaos one can feel those fine melodic tones pushing through to the surface. They cover me like a soft blanket of warm sand. They scintillate and tickle me, tantalizing my arm’s and legs. I feel a rush of joy like a child in the sun. I am warmed and revived. Music does that to me. Good music, harmonious music.
I carry this with me, in snippets of memory; in songs that get stuck in my mind and play as a soundtrack to accompany parts of my day. This inner soundtrack lifts my mood and encourages me. It strengthens my spirit and resolve. It calms me, makes me happy but also allows me to feel a million moods from sunny yellow to deep stone black. Through music I hear the song of the singer. I feel their thoughts and hear their dreams, even experience their heartbreak in a small way. I hear their soul singing out and I hear a hundred million others.
Music is that powerful.
According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe, all of the particles that make up matter and forces, including you and I and my cat Mario are comprised of tiny vibrating strings. Because of this some have likened the universe to a symphony.
Michio Kaku the famous Physicist once said ” We are nothing but melodies. We are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes. Obeying the laws of physics, which is nothing but the laws of harmony of vibrating strings.”
Playing the song of the cosmos I suppose…
I think that is how we are connected and why music holds a universal appeal with us. It’s something we can all share. It is a ancient connection that’s been wired into us since the beginning. It is the ultimate in communication.
I’ve had musicians tell me that playing with others in concert operates on a very intimate level and that doesn’t surprise me. I have felt similar feelings when engaged in a slow dance with a partner. I think most of us possess the ability to connect with others through music and with music itself.
This makes me think how life on earth is like a orchestra and we are all members of that orchestra. We hum along, creating our own music in everything we do, think and feel. I can see how imbalances could cause the music to distort and become unpleasant. Only when harmony is restored are we whole and playing beautifully once again.
I believe we on the planet are in a state of extreme disharmony. There are too many voices that sing songs of hate and exclusion, inequality, indifference and greed. Songs that disrespect and pillage our planet, songs that kill the soul and lull desire. We need to sing together for the common good; for peace and love, for kindness and understanding in concert with the earth and with the universe itself.
Most of us go about our lives encased in a hard shell that we have developed from our own personal experiences of being alive and living in the world we do. Many of us hide our true thoughts and feelings from each other and to an extent I think we rarely realize, we are all connected by circumstance, by fate and by our very atoms themselves, down to those tiny vibrating strings but we act like strangers to each other. I think society teaches us this; that we should be wary of the different, have disdain for the unusual and mistrust the independent minded. Our mutual fear of each other causes misunderstanding and disharmony. Children have a natural affinity for other beings. They don’t see what adults have been trained by society to see. We share so much and yes we are capable of singing a beautiful song in harmony made up of beautiful voices, of varied colors and hues of thoughts and ideas.
Together we are the song of the universe.
And as I go about my week I am going to keep this in mind and try to remember that we are all connected, even those that may disagree with me. We all share the same needs, wants and fears. We can attune ourselves to the same frequency if we listen and find some common chords.
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ― Alan W. Watts
From our earliest beginnings we as a species have striven to become more than what we are. It is inborn within us and it is more than the simple will to live but to thrive and dominate. This is us; what we come from. It is by no mistake that we Homo Sapiens rule the world and all life upon it. And it is by no peaceful means either. We fought hard, tooth and claw, to get on top of the food chain. Our mutual family history is littered with war upon war, conquest upon conquest. We have erected (what we deem) civilization built on a culture of want, propelled by the rampant machine of consumerism and paid for by we the people and our children.
It’s easy to be judgmental. Pessimistic even about the human race and it’s future. I have heard a rumbling dislike for our own species from some. I do not echo that feeling. I cannot hate my own kind which would include myself, my children, my family and friends and basically everyone. This is defeatist and makes no sense to me. We are all in this together.
If we are to be judged, are we to be judged not only by our faults but by our graces as well? We are an amalgam of the worst and the best of us.
And so we begin at the dawn of man. We Homo Sapiens were not the first humanoid. That honor belongs to Australopithecus Afarensis and there have been many. The exact number has not been agreed upon. Here is a link to a list.
We alone survived. Our last competitors, the ultra-hardy Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago. We scaled that evolutionary ladder higher and embraced “civilization” instead of living a marginal existence by the whim of cruel nature. We overcame it and become masters of our fate.
We strove to succeed in this way and progress; onward and upward. Nothing stood in our way. We were out to conquer nature and each other and we have done so and most infamously.
Whether what we have put together constitutes a civilization I am not convinced. I look at the world at large and the small goings-on in the microcosm that surrounds me and I have my doubts. It seems that we are losing ground as well on a whole and as time goes by and resources grow scarcer if we are not careful we will stray even further from the path of true civilization.
Civilization is the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.
When I read Webster’s
Simple Definition of civilization
The condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society and care about art, science, etc.
A particular well-organized and developed society.
I realize just how not civilized we are. This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous reply to being asked the question of what he thought of Western civilization.
I think it would be a very good idea. Said Gandhi and so do I.
We are like a clever child. We have harnessed great power, we have made great strides, and cured many diseases. We have extinguished much suffering in the world, but we have also caused much of it too. We do not yet possess the wisdom required to wield great power. We have squandered a lot of resources. We have raped and pillaged the planet and now we stand on a precipice staring into an abyss and instead of jumping over the cliff , we need to walk away from the edge and get to the business of saving ourselves; that is what our business should be. Like any child who has a messy room, we need to clean it up but there is no adult around to make sure we do it. It’s time for us to grow up and become that adult. We have remained a child far too long.
It’s time for us to stop finding reasons to divide each other and look for ones that unite us.
We need to work together and stop the destructiveness, the pettiness, the greed.
That is being civilized.
We who can harness the atom are in the process of shaping our world; the world we’ll leave to the future.
What will we leave?
One of our many brilliant strengths as a species is our ability to adapt. Events play out in a fluid motion; constantly swirling and changing. Nothing is forever, and we have not only kept up with the changes, we have thrived on and benefited from them. Our rise would not have been possible without the downfall of the previous rulers of this planet. The Dinosaurs dominated for more than 180 million years.
No matter how terrible that “Terrible Lizard” was, it had it’s day and we are having ours.
The dinosaurs couldn’t adapt, but we can. We have it within ourselves if we can take our collective human cleverness and temper it with some good common sense and painfully acquired wisdom that we can glean from our current challenges. Circumstance forces us to act not in our time but it’s own.
That time is coming I’m afraid, we all know it.
We can be our own worst enemy but we are also our own greatest hope.
Of course change is not new and every generation faces it’s own challenges, some more than others. Climate change is our challenge but that is only part of the picture. We must change ourselves and put aside our childish ways because the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t cutting it.
We can’t stop the planet from changing. We have no choice but to adapt but we will grow stronger and wiser because of it and perhaps one day we will be truly civilized. I am but one faint voice, there have been many before me and there will be many after me, this I believe. This is the one constant.
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.” ― Howard Zinn
“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.” ― Bill Watterson
Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.
A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.
From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.
The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express. We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.
I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.
Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives. It’s better to conform. In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.
It is easier just to go along. Right?
This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.
Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone? We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.
I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general. I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us? I ask again why should I care? I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:
I care because someone has to care, dammit!!
If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small. I cannot expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.
I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.
Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness And so there it is: My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….
“The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson
Every action or non-action we take have repercussions that run like ripples in a still pool, constantly moving and changing. Out of randomness comes a chaotic sort of order we call life.
Life is a journey with twists and turns, offshoots, detours and about-faces. We skip merrily, or unmerrily, planting seeds along the way.
Some seeds get blown away and never come to fruition, others find the right landing spot and with a little luck, care and attention erupt out of the ground bursting into life, red, ripe and beautiful like a shiny apple.
Most of the time we don’t know where they go. A small kindness is a seed that can travel far, farther than we realize. I’ve learned to appreciate the small and the seemingly insignificant.
Seeds are like that; small and seemingly insignificant. We all know that looks are deceiving and that a seed however tiny can pack a wallop. The potential of one tiny seed is incalculable.
“We can count how many seeds are in the apple, but not how many apples are in the seed.”
We are always planting seeds whilst we know it or not. I like to think that every action I take however small and seemingly insignificant most likely has repercussions: good, bad or somewhere in between. The results of some of our actions are immediate, other results take longer, others longer still. Seldom does life work on our timetable, nature works on it’s own and we are a part of that greater whole.
We are a part of the web of life. We take part in the dance of the seasons; springing forth with a rush of light and energy. We burst up through into the living world, bright, trusting and full of potential thrust into the wilderness of existence, a life with gardens and tigers and people and trees and owls…so much beauty and wonder…
…and indifference, greed, Monsanto and war…
The world is our garden, the garden of our making. We grow here and there is no other place for us. We must take care to plant the right kind of seeds.
If we plant seeds of love and compassion and altruism and trust, if we plant a respect for all life and the environment, if we plant peace and understanding and tolerance with care and watering, luck and a lot of hard work, we could grow a beautiful garden with enough wonderfulness to sustain us all.
Of course this is all so easy to say….so lovey-dovey and some may say unrealistic. Yes, I know the world is an ugly place but it is also a place of beauty. It’s up to us to cull out the badness and plant the goodness. If not us, who? And if not now when?
Any farmer will tell you the best time to plant is yesterday. Get those seeds in the ground and pray for sunny days…the more seeds we plant the better.
“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.” ~Steve Maraboli