Tag Archives: altruism

Passengers

23 Jan

Image source:http://roundtheplace.com/Street
I own no rights.

 
 
Life is like a train journey:
 
If you only keep staring at your own reflection on the window, you will never see the wonderful landscapes outside.
 

So gape in awe. And travel safe, wherever you are, to dreamlands and airports and each others arms!

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Safe

14 Jan

Image source: space.com
I do not own any rights

A simpler Romantic Monday thought for you this time. Love can just be caring, about anyone, about everyone, granting a passer-by a little jewel of your smile. Watching, caring, learning. To live can be a life-long romance.

Safe

All I hope is to see you
Raising your hands to the skies
Greeting the beauty of light
All around, as it envelopes you
And holds you in its cradle
All I hope is to see you, safe
Your smile a crescent, your tears
Clear moonbeams running down
In rescue, to feed it full again

Dear Santa – Trifecta

22 Dec
A little girl's letter to Santa, taken from a Finnish newspaper

A little girl’s letter to Santa, taken from a Finnish newspaper

 

This letter has been published in a Finnish newspaper to which it came from a nursery. The writer is a 6 year old girl. The letter reads:

Dear Santa,

I don’t maybe need Monster High (*a toy) as a present or I do want it but if mum and dad would not fight and drink beer at all that would be the best christmas, best.

Best wishes,

Neea 6 yrs.

It broke my heart. And inspired me to write a peace for this week’s Trifecta. I hope that be it this Christmas or next year, we can all give some time to a child near us, play with them, listen to them or just smile to them. They will answer that smile eagerly because children were born to love. Let’s not allow the world to suck that love out of them. Children are precious, wise and fragile.  Here’s my contribution to Trifecta:

This weekend we want you to give us a pithy summary of your feelings about the holidays.  Your response does not need to be cynical or sarcastic.  We welcome all thoughts and feelings about this time of year–so long as you express those thoughts and feelings in 33 words.

Dear Santa

When mum is sad she whispers. Mum always whispers at Christmas. She doesn’t eat Christmas dinner, maybe because she has so many tears to swallow. Mum can have my toys, I love her.

What could you do to help a child out?

Art prophecies of the future

26 Oct

The Future Man by Victor Hugo

Here’s the thought of the artist himself, Victor Hugo, on above artwork: “Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

I hope he is right. Because if he is, I have and idea. It is the idea behind this blog, behind my pursuit for happinness. It is an idea I try to actively introcude to my life, and to the lives of people around me.  It is just two words, four simple syllables, it is this little thought:

More compassion.

And the best part is, it is not really my idea at all. I know it is an idea that others try to fulfill in their lives, just like I do.  I know it lives in many hearts. I know that there are people out there, compassionate and loving, caring and fond of little things, like stranger’s smile and surprise hugs. Actually, I believe we have all been given that talent. Whatever Darwin and natural selection has to say, I say there is much more to us than just bare animal instinct! We have been given the ability to love, the miracle of empathy. We are all capable of loving. Let’s be generous with it and create more of this love.

Because if Victor Hugo is right, and I believe he is, we can change this world. With more compassion, we do not create only a better potrait of the future man, we create a better mankind.

It might sound naiive. I know there is a lot of suffering in this world, more than I can imagine in my blessed little life where week’s biggest tribulation is that I missed a bus.  But think about Victor Hugo’s quote, think about the concept of an idea. Before there was a gun, there was the idea of a gun. Before there was war, there was the idea of war. Before violence, the violence was created in someone’s mind. Before this world was a chess game of super powers, leaders check and mating each other with nuclear bombs, there was someone who wanted that power. So with our idea, with the idea of more love and compassion, we can change this.  We can turn down the power of violence and spread the power of love. We can take this idea, this sweet and naiive-sounding idea, and turn it into reality. We can make this work. We can make this world a better place.

And when you doubt, the way I sometimes do, ask yourself: What are the options? Do we really want to see more crisis? Do we want the future man to be the portrait above: A hard shell of an armour, drained out of all empathy, feeling, compassion. Do we want to become efficient killing machines, love machines, labour machines, lost and unfeeling machines. Because the choice is ours, the choice is real. We have the choice to create more compassion or to destroy the idea of it.

Rock Drill, the original sculpture by Jacob Epstein

Rock Drill, the original sculpture by Jacob Epstein

The remaining torso of Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein

The story of the sculpture above, Rock Drill, is probably one of my favourite art stories ever. Epstein created Rock Drill in 1913 to be the prophecy of humanity.

“I made and mounted a machine-like robot, visored, menacing, and carrying within itself its progeny, protectively ensconced. Here is the armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow. No humanity, only the terrible Frankenstein’s monster we have made ourselves into…” Extract from the autobiography of Epstein

The sculpture was originally attached to real miner’s rock drill. However, later Epstein dismantled it himself, removed the drill and cut off its limbs, leaving the torso displayed on the bottom picture.  But even if the threatening apperance of Rock Drill was destroyed, what it stood for survived. It was the epitome of suffering, violence and war. None of them has yet grown extinct. We can see their effects every day, some of us in news and some of us, sadly, first hand.

So, the reason I love Rock Drill? Well,  I don’t think it is the epitome of suffering at all, I don’t think it is the prophecy of our future the way Epstein intended it to be.  I think it is the epitome of what we can do! Or if it isn’t, we can turn it into one.

Let’s make it the epitome of change. Let’s dismantle the body of hatred and violence in this world, the way Epstein did with his sculpture. Let’s replace it with love, community and compassion.

I believe we can do it. But if I didn’t convince you, check out this blog:  The Better Man Project.  It sets an amazing example, it is one of my constant inspiration foundations. Every day, I return there for examples of love and care, for ponderings, for instructions. For the followers, for the visitors of the blog, for the community.

Do you see now that this idea is not alone, that is not flimsy and imagined? Do you believe? Because if you do, we can change this.

Aside

Why is one death a tragedy and thousand a statistic?

5 Oct

” LONG LIVE KIM IL-SUNG. KIM JONG-IL, SUN OF THE 21ST CENTURY. LET’S LIVE OUR OWN WAY. WE WILL DO AS THE PARTY TELLS US. WE HAVE NOTHING TO ENVY IN THE WORLD.”

“North Koreans learned to swallow their pride and hold their noses. They picked kernels of undigested corn out of the excrement of farm animals. Shipyard workers developed a technique by which they scraped the bottoms of the cargo holds where food had been stored, then spread the foul-smelling gunk on rooftops to dry so that they could collect from it tiny grains of uncooked rice and other edibles.

On the beaches, people dug out shellfish from the sand and filled buckets with seaweed.When the authorities in 1995 erected fences along the beach (ostensibly to keep out spies, but more likely to prevent people from catching fish the state companies wanted to control), people went out to the unguarded cliffs over the sea and with long rakes tied together hoisted up seaweed. ”

Do I dare to say it? Yes, the book above helped me to restore my faith in humanity when I felt like I might bend double and snap from the weight of all the ‘catastrophe-crisis-death’ headlines we see in the papers everyday. Why, you might ask?

Why would a country where spying is encouraged, where your leader is your religion, where propaganda is the only accepted art form, do that? Why would a country that is synonym for famine, help me to believe in something good?

Yes, I was shocked by the book. I stopped reading it for five months because I had to digest what I was reading. Because frankly, the realisation  and factual evidence that complete oppression is not some Orwellian imagined dystopia but a living thing affecting millions was a shock to me.

But then I realised that the shock was exactly what I needed. I needed to feel the weight of all the headlines and had to be reminded of the suffering. Because there is something more dangerous than violence and cruelty and oppression. It’s violence and cruelty and oppression becoming normal. Because when all we feel is numbness facing something horrible, we lose the will to do anything about it. Abnormal becoming normal is paralysing.

“She often felt sick over what she did and didn’t do to help her young students. How could she have eaten so well herself when they were starving? It is axiomatic that one death is a tragedy, a thousand a statistic. So it was for Mi-ran. What she didn’t realise is that her indifference was an acquired survival skill. In order to get through the 1990s alive, one had to suppress any impulse to share food. To avoid going insane, one had to learn to stop caring. In time, Mi-ran would learn to walk around a dead body on the street withouth paying much attention.”

I hope the day comes when that is a survival skill no-one has to learn.

And yet, every time people question my belief in altruistic actions and unconditional, unselfish love as naiive and dead, I recommend them this book. Why? Because it assured me that love does exist even in the darkest places. Oppression can kill many things, but it cannot kill love.

Quoted extracts from Barbara Demick’s Nothing To Envy, Real lives in North Korea.

Photo: Wikipedia