Human Rights: A Social Contract
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Can you see the sadness on the faces of the homeless?
I am reminded of a beautiful poem by my friend Amy Becherer; in it she used the metaphor of snowflakes falling. Each is unique, millions of them falling gently from the sky, separate as they travel their journey, all within touching distance of each other and yet not quite connecting. I found that poem to be profound as a testament of the human race.
Can you hear the cries for help from the abused children?
Longfellow talks to us about ships passing in the night, bare recognition and then darkness once more. Is that what we have become? Have we truly forgotten the importance of community, of love, of empathy and compassion?
Can you feel the tears shed by the hungry?
When did we lose touch with one another? How did that happen? When did we become so guarded, so frightened, so reticent and so lonely? As a society we live as if in a cubicle, our own little illusionary cell, safe-guarded, or so we think, from all that can harm us. Unfortunately, in seeking protection, we have forfeited freedom and comradeship, and in so doing we have lost an important part of who we are.
Can you speak words of love for those who have none?
This cannot continue! As the Dalai Lama states, humanity cannot survive without a return to love and compassion for all. We are only isolated because we choose to be. We are like sheep awaiting sheering, timidly accepting our fate as if it were pre-ordained and we have no choice.
Politicians scream their differences and threaten holocaust if we do not listen and vote accordingly. Nations scream their differences and threaten holocaust if we do not listen and bow to demands. It is insanity and we allow it, and we are a part of it, and there is only one answer….we must come together under the common flag of humanity.
Each of us has certain human rights that cannot be denied. Call them unalienable rights if you will; call them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you will; all I know is that every human being deserves, at the very least, these most basic of rights. If we do not have them then we must demand them, and in so doing become the catalyst of change. If others do not have them then we must demand that they also have them, and in so doing become the catalyst of change.
It is beneath us to turn our heads when injustice occurs, hoping that by not seeing it we will not be responsible for it. We are not snowflakes unless we choose to be. We are not ships passing in the night unless we choose to be. We are human beings and it is time for us to act as human beings should act.
It is time to hear! It is time to see! It is time to speak out! It is time to feel!
DO THE BLIND AMONG US TRULY NOT SEE?
Do the human snowflakes truly not see? Is it possible that ships passing in the darkness of this world are not aware of the suffering around them?
How have we reached this point? How is it possible to see human misery and not be affected by it? And yet I have seen proof of it! I have seen those who ridicule the homeless. I have seen those who turn their backs on suffering so acute as to be palpable. I have seen ego and selfishness, and I simply do not understand it. I need to understand! I need someone to explain to me how it is possible for one human being, let alone hundreds of thousands, to not be shaken to their very core by it all.
No one is blameless! The twin evils of indifference and callousness are found in every nook and cranny of society, from the log cabin in Minnesota to the high rise condo in Los Angeles; from the adobe hut in Baja Mexico to the villa in Italy. We have all been affected by a general malaise that threatens to overcome the very essence of what we are, and it needs to end. Excuses and explanations are all worthless, serving only as pablum for those in need of an intellectual smoke screen.
Snowflakes truly cannot see, and ships do not have the ability to discern shapes that surround them. Human beings, however, can and do!
I Am Responsible
- Social Issues: I Am Responsible!
As members of the human race, we are all responsible when we face injustice. It can be no other way if we are to call this a free and equal society.
A HUMAN CONTRACT FOR US ALL
I will be honest with you; I am fed up with apathy. I am fed up with the have’s not caring about the have not’s. I am fed up with the wealth of a few being built upon the blood, sweat and tears of the many. I am fed up with the abuse, the poverty, the suffering and the deprivation. Most of all, I am fed up, and disgusted, by the lack of love and compassion I see in today’s world.
Let me ask you this question: if you saw a dog hit by a car, would you stop and help that dog? Most people I know would say yes, of course, I would stop immediately and do what I can to help a suffering animal. And yet…..and yet daily we pass by human beings who are suffering and we do nothing. Please explain the logic because I, for one, do not see it.
So I write this contract, in hopes that others will sign it, and in doing so will commit to a new world order, one built upon qualities that will never grow stale, qualities like love, compassion, and empathy. I ask you all to look to your heart and see that we are all the same, and to understand that what happens to one happens to all.
From this day forward I promise to treat others with compassion!
From this day forward I promise to treat others with empathy!
From this day forward I promise to let love be my guiding star!
From this day forward I promise to show more humility and less ego!
From this day forward I promise to act like I am part of a team rather than the star player!
From this day forward I promise to be more human!
ONE SNOWFLAKE AMONG BILLIONS
Yes, the lone snowflake falls from the sky untouched and unaffected by those swirling around it, but once it lands upon the ground, it forms a connection with the billions that fell with it. In fact, I suspect that a snowflake will remain much longer if it does connect with others; a molecular bond will form and that bond will prevent melting for a longer time.
So it is with our lives! We are not alone! Our actions directly affect the lives of those around us, and could indirectly affect thousands of other lives. We all derive strength and comfort from each other; conversely, we can all derive fear and suspicion from each other. We can be the conductor of a positive change, or the destroyer of unity.
We have huge problems in the world today. I have no doubt there are some who think everything is wonderful right now; after all, they have everything they want, everything they need, so everything in their little world is A-OK! Who cares that there are millions starving? Who cares that there are millions homeless? Who cares that there are millions suffering?
The answer to all of those questions should be you and me! We should care and we should do something about it. I was not raised to ignore the suffering of others, and I absolutely refuse to do so. With my writer’s voice I will speak for those who have no voice. My words may fall on deaf ears, but they may also fall on those who have not lost their humanity, and they will sign my contract, and one by one we will form a cohesive bond of change.
It begins with me…..today…..today I sign my social contract supporting human rights!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)