Monday, February 1, 2016

Nothing else matters?

I can't count the number of people I've encountered who believe that focusing on their own life and their own goals and “minding their own business” is a good thing. It's almost as if they think nothing really matters outside of their own reality. And while I commend them for their positive focus, many of these people are so intent on living positively that they unwittingly forget about the problems being faced by others on a daily basis.

Now, don't get me wrong. Many of them are good people who care about the struggles faced by others. They don't mean to be so distanced. And yet, because they choose to “mind their own” they inadvertently remove themselves from direct involvement with anyone who is suffering, but not in their circle of friends and family.

Have you ever heard about an accident occurring in your area? Isn't your first thought to find out if anyone you know is involved? When disasters strike in other regions of the world are you immediately glad they're not happening in your country? And yet, these other people have friends and families and lives just like you. They feel pain and sorrow and the sting of poverty and hopelessness. So, why is it any better if you don't know them?

It's a natural reaction. I'm guilty of these thoughts myself. Of course we want to make sure that our loved ones are safe. Why wouldn't we? But the truth is, we should be equally concerned for people that we don't know, aren't friends with, aren't related to or don't live nearby. And also for causes that don't yet impact us directly. But they will eventually, you know?

And yes, life is short. Getting as much joy as we can from it is important. But what good is our own joy? How precious is it to us? Is it precious enough to remain ignorant of the incidental damage of living traditionally simply to preserve our own happiness? Doesn't that taint our own joy just a little bit? That is, the fact that in order to be joyful we must, to a certain extent, close our eyes and ignore our own impact and the suffering of others?

What good is it to enjoy our lives while turning our back on the negative aspects of life as if nothing else matters but our own happiness? Doesn't that strike you as a bit selfish? How is that even considered enjoyable? I don't get it.

Right now in this moment, there are people dying of thirst and starvation. They matter. Our planet is dying too. That matters very much. Because if the planet dies, none of us will survive. This isn't a disaster flick. It's for real! If we just “mind our own” it's not going to come out well in the end. This is real life. It doesn't work that way. We depend on planet earth to keep us alive. We are running out of resources, clean air and drinkable water. It's a very serious situation.

So, rather than focusing on our own lives and minding our own business, maybe we should be branching out a bit. Maybe we shouldn't mind our own business when it comes to practices, habits and traditions that are unsustainable. Maybe it's OK to butt in, face some hard truths and do something that positively impacts others, not just ourselves.

And of course, as regards you and I personally, we may be long gone before planetary destruction causes the extinction of humanity. But our children and grandchildren won't be. So, by minding our own business as if nothing else matters but our happy little circle, we are effectively handing them a death sentence as well as a giant, miserable mess to deal with.

Kind of makes you rethink what “your business” actually is, doesn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment