Today kicks off the celebration of Be Kind to Humankind Week. Our collective human history on this planet has been grievously fraught with fear, disparity, and domination; but we have also shown the capacity to be loving, peaceful, and altruistic. Being human is a complicated condition. It's layered and messy and overstimulating. There's a plethora of historical proof that we constantly make mistakes and eff shit up. But there's also optimistic evidence that we can be good and kind.
For every crummy thing that gets covered by the news, there's gotta be at least one redemptive story somewhere on this spinning globe that cancels it out. I'm hopeful the good is actually outweighing the bad and not just balancing the karmic seesaw, but I don't really know the figures. All I do know is that I'm trying to be a better human in my corner of the world. I even have a sign by my front door as a gentle reminder. Because, believe it or not, I can get caught up in myself and forget that I'm not the only human in the expression humankind. Go figure.
I, personally, love random acts of kindness. It brings me serious joy to brighten someone's day, and it's such a memorable gesture when someone illuminates mine. Of course, unpleasant encounters with other people stick with me to a degree; but you know what I recall more clearly than run ins with crass asshats? The lovely folks who pay a compliment or pay it forward. The ones who genuinely lift their eyes to mine and lift my laughter with their unexpected anecdote. The people who want to connect with and feel connected to something greater than themselves. Those are my kind of humans.
Humankind has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to living up to our full potential, but we have the opportunity - nay, I'd even say the responsibility - to be better humans. This doesn't mean you have to donate all of your savings to a charity or swear you'll never curse again (I f*cking swear, okay?!) Just imagine what would make you smile, or feel appreciated, or want to lift your chin a little higher. Then do that for someone else (I mean, within reason. Let's keep it legal, mmkay?). If each of us performs at least one act of kindness daily (you'll get addicted, trust me), imagine the ripple effect we could create with our beautiful rainbowy CareBear beam of goodwill - I know you can visualize it!
Some other notable national holidays that fall in this week are Women's Equality Day, which is tomorrow the 26th, and Individual Rights Day on Sat, August 29th. According to data gathered on the global gender wage gap, women earn only 77-cents for every dollar earned by men. Perhaps one day, before we jet off to capitalize on, er I mean, colonize on Mars, women won't have to (literally) work so hard to be considered as valuable as men here on Earth.
John Locke, one of the earliest known civil rights activists, used philosophical writings to argue for the rights of each and every human being. Born August 29, 1632, Locke was widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of his time, and is known for saying that there are three natural rights inherent to all: life, liberty and property. Locke believed that the most basic human law of nature is preservation of mankind; therefore, to serve that purpose, individuals have both a right and duty to preserve their own lives.
Unfortunately, we can't fix all of the discrepancies in one day; but we can certainly try to correct them as a conscious collective over the upcoming days of compassionate change - one kind act at a time!