Is mankind’s capacity for compassion limited to works of fiction?
While doing some research today I came across an interview with Propulsion Physics expert Marc Millis on the possibility warp drive. What really struck me was Millis’ offhand statement about humanity. In relating how Star Trek inspired his interest in space travel he mentioned that the way the crew behaved so admirably and how people were depicted as working together in spite of their differences may be more an act of fiction than our ability to reach warp drive; a sad and very true statement. One look at the news headlines tells us that humans do not behave admirably or commendably, at least, not in an altruistic sense.
Today is World Kindness Day. (I know…it didn’t make the headlines). For some people the agenda today is to commit a “random act of kindness” for a neighbor. Others hold World Kindness Day as a call to bring down the barriers between nations. The hope for everyone, of course, is that eventually this ability to think outside of our own lives will become commonplace instead of one day out of a year. So how do we get there? We need to pay attention to our focus.
Just the other day a friend was telling me that the Christmas season is his favorite time of year because it seemed everyone tried a little harder to be friendly. Being charitable or good natured at Christmas has been instilled in our minds, at least in the western world, through books, movies and sermons. In other words, the seed has been planted and nurtured for each of us that the Holiday Season is a time of charity and good cheer. During this time we pay attention to our focus. Of course, it helps when the media provides the fertilizer with reruns of A Christmas Carol.
Where is our focus the rest of the year? For many of us it is still following the media like mice following The Pied Piper. Our focus is directed to war, disease, economic woes, and other acts of mayhem. Each day we look at the world through eyes clouded by greed, consumerism and false power because these are the seeds we nurture on a daily basis. That’s right, we nurture these seeds. We decide which headlines to read. We decide which political stance to take. We decide when to harbor hatred or jealousy. We decide which news items will be the most read headlines on the internet each day.
Out of the acorn a mighty tree grows. Being more conscious of where we place our focus and how we spend our energy is the key. It might seem difficult at first, as breaking any habit can be, but as we replace the old habit with the new it becomes easier. When you find yourself in a state of road rage make a conscious effort to switch gears. If you find yourself upset by watching the news turn the station, or take a few moments to think of some positive steps you can take in a better direction. Seek out stories of positive content. Rephrase your discussions to have more positive slants. Read up on other cultures and try to see the world through their eyes. Each one of us can only be a good or as mighty as we allow ourselves to be, but if we all pay attention to our focus admirable qualities will no longer be lost in the world of fiction.