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Preserving our humanity
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All Rights Reserved
“One love, one heart, one destiny.”
― Bob Marley
Reggae and Rastafari beacon Bob Marley expressed, in a few simple words, what it means to be human.
Sadly, we have forgotten this state of being in our quest for success. We have certainly neglected it because of our need, or desire, to enforce our personal agendas and ideas.
It is urgent that we preserve it, for the current lack has resulted in a host of unwanted anomalies and disasters.
Why we must preserve our humanity
Before dismissing such statements as trite or needless, we should take a few moments to ponder why we need to remember our humanity.
1. We embrace values that sustain us.
When we bear in mind our humanity, we recall, or embrace, the simple values that are at the core of our existence.
We been made aware of them since birth. We know them, but sadly, we deny them for want or need.
We forget that the simple values of patience, kindness and forgiveness are at the heart of what keeps this world spinning.
2. We embrace diverse ideas.
To add, touching base with our humanity allows us to embrace perspectives that we would not have considered before. We would not have today's Iphone otherwise.
A different idea does not mean that it is a bad one.
3. We welcome different cultures.
Taking in different ideas leads naturally to welcoming divergent cultures. Some are, no doubt, controversial and deviate from standard norms.
For various, understandable reasons, it is hard to acknowledge them. But before being confrontational, we have to ask ourselves if we have the right to decide whether one is better than another.
4. There is increasing complacency.
Another pressing reason for preserving our humanity is increasing complacency.
We hear rhethoric about over-fishing and climate change and find it bothersome or dull. Admittedly, the message is pedantic.
We all know how necessary it is. Waiting until the rivers have no fish is a little too late.
5. There is increasing anarchy.
If all these reasons are not enough, recent world events point to increasing anarchy. Whether it is the shooting of an innocent civilian plane or an outbreak of Ebola, disorder is rampant.
Much of this mounting chaos could have been averted if we had been more mindful.
Preserving our humanity
Such awareness requires concerted effort on our parts, yet they are not necessarily
1. Bear with the idiosyncrasies of others.
A small start is to tolerate the sometimes erratic ways of others. Your mother's tendency to nag may not be so bad, as is your brother'sfetish for ice-cream.
They have to bear with your snoring too. A little tolerance goes a long way.
2. Wait in line.
Taking a long time at the ATM is one of these irritating idiosyncracies. If you are able to wait, exercise patience, or simply move to another without grumbling.
After all, others might have to do the same if you need to take a long time.
3. Say a kind word.
Patience is kindness. Positive words, too, make a huge difference. Saying "thank you" occassionally never hurts.
4. Extend a hand because you want to.
Kindness is also extending a helping hand. But do so because you want to, not because you have to.
A helping hand is truly effective when it is given with the right motivation.
5. Balance the scales of fairness.
You certainly help others when you are fair. Treating others fairly builds esteem for all.
We are created equally, with valuable gifts and talents. It is time we learned not to value some too highly above others.
6. Open ourselves to new ideas.
That behavior closes our minds and hearts to new ideas. We must appreciate perspectives that are different from our own jaded ones.
7. Do not force our values on others.
As we appreciate new ideas, we have to remember not to force our own upon others.
Perhaps we are right in certain contexts., but so are others. Empathy with situations bridges huge gaps.
8. Let go of our pride.
Humility bridges those chasms as well. We must occasionally forgo our pride and admit that others also have strengths.
Belittling them prevents us from getting help when we need it.
9. Let go of the little things.
Harping on trivial transgressions does too. Constantly pointing out the faults of someone else builds unecessary wallls and will prevent him from offering help when you need it.
10. Do not be complacent.
Lastly, complacency about our humanity and its virtues, which many perceive as trite, leads to unwanted consequences.
One Love by Bob Marley
The Crystal Skull: A Senryu on Humanity
I include a little Senryu poem about humanity. A senryu takes the same format as its sister poetic form, the Haiku.
Like the Haiku, it has a total of 17 syllables, with five in the first line, seven in the second and another 5 in the third.
Unlike the Haiku, a poem that focuses on nature, the Senryu touches on the foibles of humanity.
Do share your thoughts on humanity in the comments section below.
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