(Sorry for the title, had to grab your curiosity)
The world is such a hectic place…
We live like working cogs, part of a global machine that seems to have developed a mind of its own, simply by its existence and growing complexity. It is so complex in fact, that a single individual can only hope to be familiar with some small subset of its inner workings. We can hope to become very knowledgable of perhaps one, tiny slice of the pie, if extraordinarily lucky and we work extraordinarily hard.
The connectivity is amazing. At the touch of key or click of the mouse, we can go anywhere, experience anything. Knowledge has become an endless resource, accessible anytime, night or day, as long as we have a signal. We can know anything we wish to know…it is very hard to stump Google.
With such an endless supply of knowledge at our fingertips, why ask for help or guidance from someone else? It takes so much time to seek out the right person to ask, and even if we find them, they may not know the answer. How disappointing is that?! I mean, who has that kind of time to waste?! It’s so much more efficient to simply point, click…and forget.
In our endeavors to make life easier, we have really made ourselves quite irrelevant. There are fewer and fewer reasons to really engage one another, have a conversation, or stop to care. We are constantly in the way, blocking the aisle, impeding traffic, affecting life in a million tiny ways that complicate and irritate our neighbor.
And there are so many of us…
The planet is full of human beings and the number continues to grow like a newborn infant. Thanks to all of our knowledge and advancement in areas like medicine, we’ve increased the amount of time the average human being can spend here, in Nirvana. We can’t help but get in each other’s way. You can’t swing a stick without hitting another human being in the jaw with it. There are fewer places of solitude, spaces where one can commune with nature alone, without a single soul nearby. Though we need it, so badly…
Human need hasn’t changed with the times. Stubbornly, people still need love, acceptance, friendship…and a sense of peace.
Denying our needs is asking for trouble. Imbalance leads to unhappiness and physical illness, yet we do everything we can to keep up, gain ground, run the race. We make choices that favor progress more than stillness. And people complicate progress in the worst way, because relationships require the most precious commodity in the world…
We spend so much time alienating others to save time and effort that we forget we need them. This is where the hope comes in…the humanity…that most stubborn, needy thing. We can’t help ourselves. We need, whether we want to or not, whether we admit it or not.
But now it’s muddled up by the fact that we’ve done so well in our globalized existence that we’ve alienated ourselves from one another. We no longer have the skills required to communicate intimately with another human being. We don’t have listening skills, because we’ve insulated ourselves from having to do it for so long (it just took too much time). We’ve forgotten what it’s like to experience the simple joy of really listening and engaging another person, that we spiral in our inabilities until we’re alone and bitter, wondering why others aren’t there for us.
Formula: 2much knowledge + 2little empathy = 1 selfish, self-righteous dick
Still, there is a lot of light left in the world. People are impressed by the little things. Heroes are made by the smallest display of kindness. Those who listen, empathize, and communicate well are valued beyond words. These are aspects that bring humanity back into focus, and as long as there are still people in the world that really see their value, we’re going to be okay.
Advice for the future should go something like this:
- Do your best to slow down.
- Stop talking, listen more
- Respect life, all life, as something meaningful and independently sacred
- Spend your time on something worthwhile, like a conversation
- Endeavor to meet new people, because they will fill you with knowledge you cannot get anywhere else in the world
- Make eye contact
- Exercise faith in something besides yourself
- Strive to introduce kindness, generosity, and good things into the world, simply because you are capable of doing so
- Do not manage people, take them as they are, without bias
- And above all, love