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Humanity and issues facing us all

Updated on April 12, 2015

I think that it is interesting talking about humanity. We can look at it in terms of people from all aspects of society and subcultures. Even within subcultures there are further divisions but humanity is an interesting topic. I have seen many sides of humanity in my life from the extremely rich to the poor and homeless both in professional environments and personal experiences. I am not speaking as if to lessen either one but an interesting point should be made there aren't many differences when it comes to certain aspects. Some are gracious and hospitable and some are rude and intolerable. I know that one would think that the rich would be more gracious with their time and energy but that isn't always the case. One may also assume that the poor and homeless would be more free with time as well but that isn't the case. Both I think are working at something and that is surviving. One may be just surviving the streets and the other may be serving the demands of being tied to their money and by that I mean either working many hours or obligations related to fame. I think we lose site of that from time to time not saying that it wouldn't be nice to be filthy rich but I am sure there are some considerations to be made. Humanity has many aspects.

First and foremost should be an understanding of survival but underneath all that there should, and I say should, be an understanding of compassion to other human beings. This doesn't have to mean blind ignorance to the ways of humanity but rather an insight into the needs of all of us. On some level we all need food, shelter from somethings environmental and emotional, companionship, compassion, security from violence and perceived threats, and freedom to chose a path that is within possibilities. I said within possibilities because sometimes there are other factors that determine what is possible given the environment that one lives in. I know for myself many things have been possible and many things have happened that were on some respects more than possible. I think talking about food is important because as many of us know we are not very understanding if driven to hunger and there are varied degrees of hunger. I think many would find not eating for a few days mind boggling but for many it is a way of life. Speaking of shelter from somethings environmental and emotional is critical. Some elemental environments make survival an essential. It is not possible to survive long periods of time in subzero weather or the scorching heat of the desert without aid of some sort. I think what people forget though is there are other types of shelter. Some people think shelter in terms of religion, belief (and there is a difference), and emotional wellness given the circumstances (this is important because some people are in hostile environments because of necessity). Many of these types of shelters are equally as important. Companionship can be viewed as another form of shelter as in the comfort of others but it is also important to look at the need to communicate and interact with people. I know that the social sciences has stated that we are social creatures and I agree to some extent, however there are those among us that would rather spend their entire life alone and in isolation from other whether by choice or psychological conditions. Security from violence and perceived threats is also important in talking about humanity. No one thrives in a constant threat of harm without some sort of longterm emotional toll and while there are those that would argue it has happened for thousands of years, I would argue that being born into violence only further perpetuates the cycle of violence and fear. I think that perceived threats are just as damaging. Psychological care must be taken and humans are thinking beings and thoughts of danger increase many biological functions causing some effects on judgment. Probably the most important aspect of humanity, in my opinion, is the need for some type of freedom. I know people may say that this isn't a need but I think and it is more of a want or desire. I think that freedom allows for possibilities and those can influence all the others. I know speaking of prisoners many may argue that they have no freedom but in fact they do. They can choose not to eat or wear environmentally appropriate clothing. In many respects freedom is a key ingredient in humanity.

I have witnessed humanity in things that people may not have thought of before and it is striking how many things are out their that truly reflect humanity. Humanity isn't the extremely rich giving assistance to a charity and flying to Africa for a luxury tour in a 5 star hotel while visiting a refugee camp for an hour. Humanity is someone lending a hand to pick up groceries for a sick friend, finding someone a meal to eat for the night, letting a friend sleep on the couch who is having family issues, sharing your last cigarette with a friend (ok, I get the medical implications but if you smoke and haven't had one for a while you will understand), telling someone you love them even when you are upset with them, and standing up for compassion.

Notice how I left compassion off the topic above and didn't mention it. I think that much of the Western world thinks compassion and they think religious intentions. Buddhists or Christian ministries. That may be true many of the our words related to compassion are spoken of in religious texts. It is important to note that I am not speaking from a religious standpoint here. I think that there is great insight in both of their understanding and teaching of the word compassion but that is not the topic. Having been a medical provider for many years I saw compassion and the impact it had on patients and the caregivers. Sometimes those impacts were relief and sometimes they were what's termed compassion fatigue. There is a point sometimes when compassion becomes tiring. When you may feel that you have given and felt so much for others that there is little left for yourself. I saw that first hand in many relationships. I think that is why we can look at compassion in terms of caring and giving of the self without draining all your own personal resources. That pretty much means don't bleed yourself dry of feelings, money, will, and determination for the benefit of others. If you tirelessly do this at some point you may need a little compassion yourself and someone might say "please take a break for yourself." I think many compassionate people are also the people that resist this the most. They are determined to help and feel for others. I think Buddhists and Christians, and I single them out only because of my educational background, get the wrap that they are compassionate and understanding. Well we all know that is not the case for many that profess to be either. Compassion also involves a level of non-judgment that goes beyond many peoples understanding. It is not easy to be non-judgmental when actions are in opposition to belief. I know that is the hard part how do I show compassion when my core belief structure is based in judgment? Ask yourself that question. Can I feel for someone who is exhibiting behaviors that my beliefs disagree with? Is the simple answer to walk away from them and not think of them? Is that really compassion to walk away? Tough questions and there are of course more questions. I know there are some actions that compassion runs into the fatigue level, for example genocide. Compassion involves, like I said non-judgment and that is still difficult to truly envelop. One other thing to think about when looking at compassion and I think this is hard as well. Try putting yourself in someone else's position and choices. Think about their choices and environmental situations. Take a holistic view of them as a person and member of a community and then practice compassion. It isn't easy some people are in situations that are impossible to get out of. This isn't always evident on a surface level and there may be underlying issues that the outside observer doesn't understand. Try digging deeper into the meaning of what is happening it may be revealing. Compassion also needs to self directed. It isn't easy feeling for others when you can't feel for yourself. Tricky business though feeling for yourself. Do you let your feelings rule you or your intellect? Ask yourself that. I think that both need to be involved. Feel and think through issues.

I know my opinions are my own and not shared by many people and I know those that don't agree with me won't agree with me in any form but there is value in sharing opinions. I think that if you have a problem with something I blog about please say something. Of course all of this is good and well not always easy to put into practice yourself. I struggle with it all the time. Ideas and thoughts that sound good and then I look at my own situations and think "how the hell am I going to make that work" or "that sounds great and now what." There have been times too when I just said forget all that. You don't have to lead a double life to have thoughts and actions that contradict themselves, in fact it means you are human after all and possible of leading you down the paths that you need to be on in your life.


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