Kindess shouldn’t be a seasonal virtue

Every Christmas you can be rest assured that your television will be bursting with consumerism ads and animated specials to put all in good cheer. Another sure bet are the “heartstring” ads. Glassy eyed puppies shivering in cages, malnourished children imploring the camera for but a crumb from the benevolent West to ease their plight. Because of course all the suffering children always seem to be “over there” somewhere in those lands without “democracy.”

The myth peddlers are out in force this time of year. They know the pews will be full with those pious parishioners who cross the threshold once or twice a year and drop a few bucks just to ensure a seat in the golden beyond – just in case it’s really there. Because after all, even paradise can be purchased, right? So we ring those 800 numbers and plunk white envelopes in the offering buckets because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do this time of year. Thankful for all the stuff we have and the more that is to come. For come January 2nd the ads disappear, the anonymous slip back into the shadows and the purse strings close tight until the next Christmas comes.

What happened to sense?

Man is the only creature on the planet cognizant of choices and the ability to make them.  So why do we consistently mess up so much?  Is it true that we are slaves to our biology?  That our passions and not our rationality steer our crooked paths?  If we are indeed slaves that swallow the keys to our own cells then is there truly such a thing as free will? 

Yet one has to admit given the choice between a life dictated by rationalizations and one with a dash of passion here and there, which of us would honestly choose the former?  Would we even have a choice, if after all we are incapable of pure, unemotional rationalization after all?  The question really boils down to do we deny that which makes us truly human in favor of that which “by the book” is expected of us, the chosen few who were given the gift of reason?  Or do we in essence put this gift on lay away?  We’ll keep it in reserve and only come and claim it when we want it. 

To free ourselves from all that makes us what we are, or not to free ourselves and thus take advantage of that singular quality that can set us beyond all others and prolong our species indefinitely.  That is the true question.

Faux Friends – The Facebook Fiasco

Be honest those of you who have 1,000+ “friends” on Facebook, do you even know ten of them? It amazes me how complete strangers I’ve never met in my life want to add me a “friend” and then I never hear from them again. It feels like a bit of a ruse really. If you’re reaching out to be “social” in the first place then what on earth is the point if you fall dead silent the minute the person extends their hand to you in turn?

Then there are “those” people. You know, the ones you met on occasion at this and that function. Somehow they get your name and all of a sudden your “friends.”. Again the black hole. No matter what you post, brilliant insights into the nature of life itself or simply succumb to the predominant mediocrity infecting our entire planet like the plague and post yet another photo of a puppy, you never hear from that “friend” again. Not even so much as a single “like.”. Yet the moment you “defriend” the silent offender, watch out – you’ve now become persona non grata.

I mean how could you? This person you hardly know “friends” you and then refuses to interact with you in any way whatsoever. But you, you cruel horrible “friend” how could you delete them as if they didn’t exist? I mean they did, didn’t they? Well at least as a number and that’s all that really matters now isn’t it? It seems we have become a world of anonymous “connections” which provide us no inspiration, comfort or joy but merely another notch on the popularity belt. Just like another “0” in the bank account. What’s even better is unlike working for that extra dollar, in this case the ego expands with no expense of effort whatsoever. Now that’s a return on your investment, or is it?

Stairs – Portals between worlds.

Rarely do we consider the significance of stairwells in our lives.  When visiting apartments have you ever paused to consider those who have traversed these steps before you?  Imagine the stories the stairs could tell in buildings both new and old. 

Mothers carrying newborn babes home for the first time, friends come to console friends over breakups or deaths.  Children skipping up the stairs anxious to share details of a day of play with their loved ones, or show off that hard earned A in geometry.  Christmas trees dragged up thump by thump and gurneys carrying the bodies of souls departed away from their homes for their final journey.   Bringing home that book you saved up for that will inspire a revolution, or that puppy that will lick your face no matter if you just murdered someone an hour ago.

Our homes are our refuges from the cruel outside world from which we need constant respites.  Making our way to these abode of serenity requires us to traverse the stairs like babes come home to the womb.  Outside from the cold to the comfort within where we are amongst those we treasure most, even if that someone is simply peace and quiet.  Yet even in our abodes we are constantly aware of life “out there” as we hear footsteps both loud and soft, fast and slow traverse the portal just outside our door. 

There is never a journey that lacks purpose.  Whether it is off to buy milk or go to war, every action changes a singular moment in our history, so make it count.  You never know which moment will change the world – either yours personally or that of humanity’s.