I love open-ended questions like this. Why?
Well, mostly because they allow me a rare opportunity to examine the way that I think about things, but also, and perhaps more importantly, they allow me to express my thoughts in ways that I might not have otherwise.
That is, instead of seeing each person as a potential competitor, we saw each person as not only a potential cooperative party, but as an entity worth unconditional compassion.
I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, that sounds great, but reality is a harsh place. You’ve gotta be tough to survive. It’s dog eat dog out here.”
To that I say, yes and no. Reality, if such a thing exists outside of subjective perception, is neither harsh nor gentle. It’s our ideas about it, collectively, that make it what it is. I’m not saying that each individual person has complete control over the reality that is experienced; what I’m saying is that together, based on what we think, we affect what we see in a very real way.
It’s usually used in conjunction with the idea that American black people and perhaps black people the world over are “problematic.” That is that we, black people, are somehow more inherently violent than other people.
However, first consider that people of similar cultural/ethnic heritage are more likely to live in closer proximity to each other. Then, combine that with systemic lack of resources like restricted access to educational benefits and healthy recreational outlets, spanning multiple generations.
So, what if instead of falling back on comfortable world views that confirm our own personal biases, we instead practiced a radical form of compassion? What if we approached each individual person as just that, an individual, unique from any other individual that we’ve encountered?
What if we approached a person with the thought “You are as important, if not more so, than I am?” What if we did this regardless of a person’s perceived social status?
It’s not easy. It’s something I’m learning to do more and more each day. I think, though, that if we looked at life this way, a mindful, aware way, that we could, collectively, do something amazing.
I think we could actually change the world. What if we tried?