Being a good human isn’t enough anymore, to be good you have to be perfect.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997)...
Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); at a pro-life meeting in 1986 in Bonn, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I am a philosophical person and I like to think that I am a good person, but sometimes I seriously wonder if I ‘live up’ to the standards society has placed on ‘good people’. How many conversations have you heard or entered into where the dialogue goes something like this:

 

“Oh so and so is such a good person.”

 

“Really? Do you know what so and so did to somebody? I don’t even have the complete details but I am so judging them!”

 

We are such a judgemental collective lot, to the extent that if there is one feature that connects all races, classes, societies, cultures, countries, ethnicities, personalities, and whatever new classifications the anthropologists and psychologists might come up with, it’s our tendency to judge and label.

 

We might be guilty of adultery but it won’t stop us from calling another person licentious, a con man will be the first to scream ‘thief’ if someone steals his wallet, the man who is on death row asking for pardon won’t consider twice before he reports an inmate for a trivial crime, such is the state of the human consciousness.

 

Talk about a genuinely good person, even a saint and you will find people crawling out of the wood work telling you why they fail to meet that standard. Mother Teresa is a saint, she took in the deceased, the poor, rejects of society, the abandoned, the lepers and for no other reason that to give them dignity, cared for them, fed them and looked after them. That makes her a saint by any definition in any culture or society, right? Apparently not, her greatest detractors, among others are protestant preachers (non-Catholic Christians) who call her a demon worshipper (they refuse to acknowledge the images of Christ and Mother Mary as a Christian tradition). Which makes me wonder the obvious, if everyone is claiming to belong to the light and those who do selfless acts of charity belong to the dark, why is this world going to hell?

 

Every time I walk into the supermarket with my brood of three wild energy tornadoes that physically resemble children, I mentally brace myself for all the judgments. As I accomplish the arduous mission of grocery shopping, I know that everyone probably thinks that I am a terrible mother, someone who lacks the common sense to discipline her children. What they don’t know is that my oldest has borderline Asperger, a birth control failure has led to my daughters being born hardly a year apart, with both parents working it’s a complicated household.

 

The point I am trying to make is that we as a society have a tendency to judge, harshly, we tend to generalise, stereotype and compartmentalise. We have justifications for all our actions but God forbid if someone else tries to do the same. We resort to hurtful slander and defend it as freedom of expression but if a genuinely good person is applauded, we as a society deride them.

 

A good person is never supposed to do anything wrong, past, present or future. Even a parking ticket is unacceptable, how could someone good break traffic laws? Human emotions like anger, frustration, bitterness, etc. are unacceptable, not for a good person. Human errors like hurting someone, being rude, inconsiderate, or just plain wrong will instantly demote you to a normal person.

 

In the rare event that someone does fulfil all this unachievable standards there is always a technicality that you can discredit them on. Are they martyrs or saints? They belong to the catholic community, list all the errors (how the majority in society have decided to interpret certain historical events) made in history by the Vatican and use it to debase them.

 

When did we as a society decide that being good meant to be free of faults or character flaws? Good means that generally a person if given the option would choose a course of action that results in a good deed, someone who does not wilfully do wrong to others, someone who would more times than not seek for an opportunity to help and bless. Those few times that they would do the opposite of good, makes them human, it does not give anyone the right to shame them.

 

In this day and age when even saints fail to meet the standards of the Morden puritan, what hope lies for us mere mortals? The ones who breathe to 10 to calm down and still end up screaming, the ones who swear never to do it again only to find themselves in the same situation, the ones who try every day to get it right but every night retreat a failure, the ones who despite their best intentions still end up hurting the ones they love?

 

There are many great men and women in our history and most of them had character flaws but that doesn’t make their actions any less great just makes them more human and what is wrong with that?

 

To be great means never to give up trying, to fall a hundred and nine times but still rise the hundred and tenth time, to always believe in yourself even if the world is shouting down at you and most importantly to support others in their struggle. As far as mistakes are concerned, in the words of a wise man, it’s not what you did but what you will do about it that matters.

 

Supporting every human out who has fallen and will fall, “Get up and get going! It’s not the end of the world, it’s part of our DNA, it’s a human trait to fall, it’s getting up that counts!”

 

Where have the villages gone?

A joke from my husband over a delightful dinner with friends got me rattled into a passionate speech about our loss of village culture and the impact it has on our youth. My husband, a perpetual toastmaster, had us all guffawing with his jokes when one particular ‘joke’ plucked a nerve.

A 1960 versus 2012, Johnny helps himself to some leftover firecrackers from guy Fawkes and blows up a wasp’s nest.

1960: wasps die

2012: bomb squad arrives, parents and siblings taken into questioning, Johnny charged with domestic terrorism… the details are a little lost on me. This set the pace, but the following one really touched a nerve.

Johnny falls down while playing and hurt his knee, Ms. Mary (I think) his teacher gives him a hug and helps him up.

1960: Johnny goes on to become a great football player.

2012: Miss. Mary is charged for inappropriate contact and subsequently dismissed from her role as teacher and Johnny is made to undergo five years psychological counselling and ends up gay.

 

While I understand that this world in not safe and the threat of sexual child predators and terrorism is very real and as a mother of three I appreciate the social concern to protect the vulnerable, but I cannot condone the extent at which this protection has exceeded. While this is a rather extreme portrayal of the current political correctness culture and government national security protocol, it might end up a reality in the not too distant future. Our continual ‘evolution’ towards a more socially, morally and culturally policed human race will no doubt be our undoing.

 

Is it really wise to replace all acts of humanity with a cold and distant politically correct decorum? To incarcerate every juvenile mistake with life debilitating consequences is taking things a little too far. I remember how as a child while walking down the street I would come across an old ‘aunty’ yelling at the town rowdies, “stop your tom foolery Johnny or I’ll be dropping by tonight to have a chat with you father.” Johnny would immediately stop his ‘actions’ and sheepishly apologise and even help aunty with her shopping bags.

Everyone knew everyone and cared about each other. The grand Aunties and uncles had implicit authority to reprimand youngsters on sight and parents had no choice but to take responsibility for their young. No foster homes just the community pitching in to help whichever family was on the brink of collapse. I remember making rounds with my mum to visit some strange family just to inquire as to how they were coping with some terrible loss that was alien to me.

Peacemakers abounded at every alley and gossipers who kept track of everyone’s whereabouts in a strange way policed the morality of the youth and vulnerable adults. The politically correct stalwarts of 2012 would be appalled at the dictator ship attitude of the grand aunties and uncles, the blatant disregard of personal privacy of the gossipers and the social norm accepting such behaviour. No, it was far from perfect, nothing human ever is, but the village community spirit reinforced humanity in each and every one of us. We were subconsciously programmed to forgive, harbour love for our neighbour, concern that had to result in action and to always expect to be judged, all this invariably strengthened the resolve to be good. The only draw back being that the social authority figures, your grand aunties and uncles, had to be decent, caring individuals. They could ruin lives and breed disharmony if they were anything short of decent humans. However, there was an invisible control, public support that prevailed only for decent individuals keeping this prominent role out of reach for undeserving individuals.

The dawn of the 21st century destroyed the village community spirit, with the death of the last grand Aunty and uncle began the slow and painful death of humanity. Horrific incidents of abuse, rape, and molestation became the norm instead of the exception, freedom is unbiased, and it can free both the victim and the hidden predator.

Freedom without morality is the advent of hell on earth. The demand for political correctness and liberal thought gave birth to the impersonal, irrelevant and absolute disregard for the community spirit. Blind justice cannot and should not replace compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Robots and even animals can be cold, cruel and indifferent, only humans have the ability to sacrifice, motivate, help, and most importantly forgive.

Evolution is not about being politically correct and culturally tolerant, it is about inspiring greatness, practicing humility, serving mankind selflessly and learning from suffering. In the past, our medieval ancestors, glorified the honourable and venerated saints; today we debase these heroes and saints as liars and charlatans, insisting that it is very human to live to just to satisfy one’s needs and do as one pleases, a human birth right.

Often, as I visit an aged or lonely neighbour, I am asked what joy could I possibly get from such an interaction. I cannot put in words the sense of comfort I receive when I engage with the elderly, listen to their sincere advice or hear of their wonderful anecdotes. It’s the only time, apart form when I play with my little children, that I actually ‘feel’ human, connected of sorts with some great cosmos. Perhaps this is what is missing from all those troubled youths or those suicidal individuals, the inability to feel belonged, cared for and part of this great human race?

Being Human

There is a lot of talk about humanizing the web, of doing things with a higher purpose than just for monetary reasons. It reminds me of the new age phase when every body was heading to the mountains in search of nirvana and a better life. I remember huge sales of ‘gone fishing’ posters and signage. As an impressionable collegiate, I too was swept away, convinced I was an author of the human destiny. Youth is an elixir that can drown the human mind and soul into believing ‘passionately’ any reality one can possibly conjure, from aliens to time travel.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing unwise with that line of thinking, quite the contrary, it’s too good. In utopia this would definitely be the norm not an option, but our world is steeped in debt, misery, depression, corruption and permanently on the brink of a global meltdown. While some brave and evolved personalities might argue that this is the very reason why we should strive harder for the greater good, I choose to interject.

Just like drug addiction treatment where medicines are given to supress withdrawal symptoms while detoxification, customized to individual needs; a global mind shift requires such an approach, just putting on the brakes can lead to chaos and the resultant disarray would be far worse than the existing quandary.

Humans are complex individuals and needless to say the world with its multitude of individuals, each with his or her personality, mental ability, culture, circumstance, morality, background, experiences, perceptions, inclinations…. deserves a lot more deliberation.

Unless this global mind shift is carefully thought out and worked upon, diligently for decades if not generations to come, it will end up like the last phase or the one before that. Evolution of the human mind and soul often comes at a great price and a struggle that endures time itself. To change global mindset that has been established over thousands of years, mostly through wars and massacres, will require more than just motivational speeches and articles.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to show mankind how to love and today, almost 2000 years later we are still clueless, even many of his disciples, Christians, fall short of love. Yet, there are a few stalwarts of the faith that every generation try to reignite the passion and further the dream, a world full of love. Take away the cross and there would be no such movement that not only reshaped the world but also shook mankind out of its barbaric lifestyle.

Most freedom struggles have been achieved though the sacrifice of heroes and the united conviction of the country. A global mind shift will require nothing short of the same, blood, sweat and tears, the only combination that works.