Compassion

Today I walked past a man selling luggage tags as part of his rehabilitation program after being released from prison. But his history had nothing to do with the story. It’s just to provide some background information.

The luggage tag cost $10, which seemed rather expensive. Half the cost – $5 – would go to him. He claims to be supporting his sick mum as well as himself by doing this. Now I’m always skeptical when people tell me stories like that. But it doesn’t affect my decision to help because I believe that it’s their cross to bear when they are willingly deceptive. So I figured, since I just got paid by my part-time job, I’d pay it forward and help the guy out. But here’s the thing though, I instantly regretted it.

The regret had nothing to do with him. I allocate my money to various things and giving money away would mean I would have to compromise something. In other words, if he hadn’t approached me, I wouldn’t have thought twice to help others if my goals weren’t achieved yet. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. What I do know is that it can be attributed to either human nature or the way society functions. We’re all nice, generous and kind when we want to be (or when we are nudged in that direction). But to do it selflessly is the part we struggle with.

Perhaps that was the lesson today. A reminder that we can’t make the world a better place if we prioritize our wants before others needs. I’d like to think that I’m compassionate. However, I hadn’t realized I wasn’t selflessly compassionate. And if history is anything to go by, it’s the selfless people that made the world more conducive and equal for people to live in.

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Epiphanies from abroad

We live in a world filled with insanity

A world where we are no longer allowed anonymity;

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Everything and everyone is connected in some way or form

But it seems to love them all is an exception to the norm;

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 I think it’s possible to be over-educated

It’s a place in time where nothing original is created;

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We make the most out of every opportunity to achieve everything

forgetting the real key to life is not wanting anything;

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Possessions are worth nothing if the only price we put on it has a dollar sign

because the most expensive thing to ever lose is time;

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If in order to achieve something, someone else has to lose

Then only our moral compass will determine what we will choose;

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If you were to ask me which is more important, the heart or the mind

I’ll say to you, what does it matter if we don’t use them to be kind?

Why it’s good that we all don’t believe in the same thing

As the years keep rolling on, there appears to still be a sense of doubt in our minds. Now more than ever – as has been said before in every generation – we struggle to find the distinction between right from wrong. There is nothing that makes us more human than the inability to distinguish right from wrong.

Doubt. That is what it comes down to. Doubt from inexperience to be more precise.  We can turn to our gods, our logic, our parents or whoever we choose to seek counsel with but deep down we are all aware that no matter who gives us their suggested answer, it is hard to wholeheartedly believe it to be right since ultimately whatever they say will run through our individual filter more commonly known as our individual perspective.

I’m glad I don’t believe in all the same things as you. And you should be too.

Why?

Perhaps for the reason we learn to trust. If people – all of whom believe in different things – believe the same thing to be right, it is quite possibly the closest to the truth we may ever get to. Collective consensus.

Not believing in the same thing helps to rid ourselves of an evil intention – to have power over people. Power blinds us. It forces us to assume that things can only be accomplished at the expense of something or someone. But on the contrary, all our needs can be catered to and provided for if only we allow for everyones voice to be heard.

The question now becomes: How can we ensure our diversity is not adversarial but collective harmony in the quest to find the truth?

To do good is to first be safe

Like any animal, human’s basic – or perhaps first – instinct is to survive. The value of one’s life as opposed to another is presumably higher. Of course this is not to discount moments in life where we suddenly feel the desire to give up our own life to protect another, for example, our child, our parents or maybe even our close friends. But fundamentally, I think our right to live takes precedence over another’s.

So in order for someone to do good for others, something has to be fulfilled. A person needs to feel safe before he can help someone else. Hence, in order for generosity, cooperation and kindness to flourish, we should ideally create a society that encourages everyone to feel safe.

However, this is extremely difficult. We are a society that thrives on, depends on and expects competition. It is the only way we see ourselves progressing. Ironically, competition does not allow a person to feel safe – even if a person is living a life of excessiveness. This is because in competition, we are constantly looking over our shoulders trying to stay ahead of someone or looking ahead trying to beat someone. Ultimately, someone loses. And when someone loses, he no longer feels safe and therefore loses the ability to commit to helping another person. If you take away someone’s sense of security, you force him to focus on himself because he has to find away to become safe again.

You cannot make the world a better place when the quest for survival is a constant state of nature for both the rich and the poor, the hungry and the well-fed, the haves and the have-nots. If competition is highly regarded, then no one is the winner since the game has no final whistle.