In the pouring rain a woman stood waiting to cross the street; she was soaking wet and getting wetter. It was relentless rain; the sort that soaks you to the bones. She had no umbrella. She watched and waited as about six cars whisked by her and she shook her head in disbelief. We might surmise that the drivers passing her did not see her; some may have been so intent on the traffic that they did not notice her. Some may have spotted her as just a blip in the radar. There is no excuse; she should not have been invisible. These drivers know how they would feel if they were sopping wet so why not stop and let her pass; knowing how she must feel?
Many argue that caring for others around us is the role of the Richest of the Rich, the Government, or the Church. The truth is, caring for others is the role of each and every person on this earth. A simple statement says it all… We are people just like them and they are people just like us. Armed with this ingrown knowledge, we should be acutely aware of all the human suffering all around us. With this awareness there should be an ache, an aching to help the other person and a sense of failure and sadness if we cannot.
Perhaps the hardest thing for us humans to endure is loneness. That sense of not really meaning anything to anybody; invisible. Yet there are lonely people everywhere. For example, somewhere near you lives an elderly widow who receives no company. Except for some distant relative or alienated children, it is just her. She needs someone, at least one person to like her that is willing to stick with her.
The is no room for debate or aimless discussion about this. Prove the theory wrong. Since we share identical physiological make-ups, and feel the same things and experience all of the emotions, then we know how people are feeling or must be feeling in any situation. They are people just like us and we are people just like them. If we see a person suffering in any way then we have no excuse not to reach out. That is what we would want. A listening ear goes a long way.
We were not born completely blind to those around us. Our blindness has been cultivated by the powers to be. There are huge profits in human suffering. The incessant media demand that we entertain ourselves only leads us to further isolate. We buy gadgets so that we detach ourselves more. More and more we have become robotic; unseeing past ourselves. No wonder we cannot see, think, or even care about others around us.
There is a simple solution. Despite the ambivalence all around us, each and every one of us can make the conscious choice to wake up and care for all others. The onus is one each of us to do reach out and express empathy to those around us. Think of that one man or woman in a workplace that nobody likes because he or she is aloof and unfriendly. The person needs another person to hear them out, to get to know them and stick it out. Wouldn’t you want someone to reach out to you?
In 1931 Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic novel, “A Brave New World.” His premise is that the oppressive force that will defeat us is technology and that we will come to love the technologies that undo our capacities to think. Huxley feared that we would be provided with too much information, which reduces us to passivity. Huxley feared that truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance; that we would be consumed by constant trivial information.
According to Huxley: “The libertarians and rationalists that are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny fail to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions!”
Most of us have purchased a car or our parents have. Isn’t it uncanny how many of the identical cars we see on the road. If we have a “crush” on someone, we tend to see others that remind us of him or her. It could be a laugh, the turn of a head or factors. Our passions are what we see clearly. We can nurture that passion in our hearts; shift our passion to caring for all other people.
It is said that the distance between our brain and our heart is 12 inches. We can process what we have just read and keep it in our heads or we can imbed it in our hearts. As bad as things appear, as forceful as the media and big business tries to woo, entertain, and blind us it cannot penetrate a heart now given to others.
A Warwick resident, Ralph Davis is available to speak before groups of any size with the primary topic being empathy.He can be reached at mmoutreach.gmail.com.