Being kind

Three things triggered this post.

First a blog post from Doc about the very sad story of a young lad killed during a fraternity hazing event. The institutionally acceptable nastiness struck me.

Second a couple of examples of trolling in Google Plus that have caused distress and show willingness, even from those who should know better, to indulge their nastiness at others’ expense.

Lastly the riots in London. I’m not inclined to read more into them than bad lads using the excuse to behave badly, but that is the point. The fact that they feel it is OK to give vent to their aggression and appear to have no sense of the effect on others of their actions.

We all have moments when we feel justified in our nastiness and it is all too easy to indulge ourselves. I sometimes feel that my own occasionally robust online reactions to things I observe and comment on risk tipping the wrong side of my personal standards. I try to remember Gandhi’s advice but don’t always succeed: “If you are right you have no reason to be angry. If you are wrong you have no right to be angry”.

We all pay a price when we make being unkind OK in however small a way.

3 thoughts on “Being kind

  1. As one who is well supplied with vitriol from time to time, and not averse to dumping a little into the public sphere, I tend to agree. In the words of Rodney King, 'can we all just get along?".But I disagree with Gandhi, if we are right, we have every reason to be angry. If we are right, the world has been plundered and poisoned and enslaved by people trumpeting greed and the creation of a waste land as the highest possible good, and not to be angry at that is to share the responsibility and the guilt.As for what is happening across the UK tonight, yes, there is criminality on the march, but it is peanuts compared with the criminality of "40 minutes" blair and his dossiers for war, and the vile compact he made with Bush and Howard. Then there is the relentless criminality of Murdoch, both the micro hacking of phones and the macro pollution of public discourse and the manipulation of policy to his personal advantage.When our lives are surrounded by great crimes, when everywhere we turn we are confronted by insidious corruption and the theft of our futures, especially those of our kids as we spend their inheritance on dope and booze then leave them with both the bill and the trash, we slowly lose our moral bearings. All we know is that when, if, our turn comes, we must grab it with both hands and take all we can lay them on.To paraphrase the post, they have learned only too well that aggression is OK and they need not have any sense of the effect on others of their actions. Not only is it OK, but it is sanctified by the media, the political system and far too many of those who should be our philosophical and spiritual leaders.And, while looting is one thing, fire is another. Fire is about rage at the heart of things. As the broken system that claims to sustain us is in full collapse mode, the representatives of that system shoot a man dead in a cab, a man who may, or may not have been armed.When the system is sufficiently fragile, any trigger will do. I've been sitting here with tears in my eyes watching the places that I know, some of the very well, others only by name, but all familiar from 60 years as part of an English immigrant family, as they go up in flames and I wonder how long it will be till we see similar scenes on the streets of Auckland, and Sydney, and Vancouver and how close they will come to me and mine.We had a long time for kindness to be, and become, the currency of our lives, we chose that it be personal gain at any cost to the planet, our children and our communities, like it or not, we have chosen another currency, and now we will live and die trading it.

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  2. Euan, this will always be a very pertinent and favourite quote of mine, the suffering above not withstanding…let there be no room for anger and may every person shine..

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  3. I wouldn't disagree Earl but I do believe that the only way forward it to behave differently in the future – hence my latest blog post. And don't worry to much about England's green and pleasant land – 99.9% of it is just fine thanks.

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