Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Training Your Humanity Skills

“The World is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

The world is an eternal showcase of art for humanity to appreciate. If they are willing to observe.
 Something is always happening. It's the blanket fort of the universe under which life unfolds. 

Usually those somethings are rather small and insignificant. Like a child stubbing her toe in a doorway, or bumping shoulders with the sardined individuals during rush hour on buses.  

Except that neither of those are small and insignificant. 

Put yourself in those situations and suddenly stubbing your toe or being squashed around many sweaty, tired bodies and their packs and phones and perfumes, is the biggest thing to happen to you in that moment. Simply because it. Happened. To. You.

Sometimes though, things happen which are very large, nebulous and shockwave cities, nations and numerous governements.

A plane disappears over an ocean, a ship sinks and a thousand people die. A shooting occurs in a midnight city street while an earthquake rocks the ground elsewhere.

Media has a large part to play in putting us into those situations. Many of which, 95% of the world might have never known, had we been back a few hundred years, or at the least, most of the world might not have known as quickly as we do now.

Media might be wonderful for how it has connected many people who would not have been connected and how it has allowed us humans of Earth to help each other on a much larger scale than ever before. 

However, media also is largely to blame for the heart of our problems. 

It inspires fear, distrust, judgement and confusion.

All the things which cloud our perspectives from the obvious. 

The obvious, of course being that we are all human. At the centre of things.

Being human means we can relate. If we use a bit of imagination.

But instead of "putting yourself into someone else's shoes" figure out what the heart of the matter is. 

Namely, if an earthquake inspired panic in people. Imagine a time when you felt panicked. 

Yes, your panic is being felt in a completely different context and level than that of people experiencing an earthquake but the basic concept of panic is still there. 

It's not a safe feeling. Obvious right? Wrong. When you drag media into the mix of big situations then you are sparking all sorts of extravagent titles and phrases designed to flash you to death via sensory overload than by allowing you to connect to the cold hard, human emotions. That's why people start getting shocked by such events. The media over does the drama to such an unrealistic degree, that is so far removed from the actual situation that people start to shut down. 

Again, that's not to say the media is bad and needs to be removed or ignored. It's a valuable tool. The problem is just that most people take thing straight up, without observing beyond what they see. 

Like that person you just passed on the street who has a laptop bag smelling of fresh leather. It is slung over one shoulder and a manila folder is clutched tight under one arm. A wrinkle is on the back of one sleeve of their iron-pressed, navy shirt and they are striding to the beat of the peppy music blaring out of their ear buds. Their free hand fiddles with a gum wrapper, which drops to the ground as they pass you.

You might be irritated by the peppy music and think them rude as they brush past you. You might think them to be messy and lazy. But you don't observe beyond that and see the obvious underneath.

Perhaps that individual is new at their job (fresh leather) and slept in, but are concerned about their appearance, hence the rush-job iron. The peppy music is their method of calming themselves and getting pumped for something they are uncomfortable for. The gum, well to freshen their breath and further calm those nerves which sparked the absent littering.

Now, whether or not you are correct with your observations of this individual is irrelevant as the key is always to find the core human emotion. In this case it could be nervousness (but remember there is no right or wrong answer, you just need to find an emotion that pops out for you that you can relate to).

What makes you nervous? Think on that for a moment. You'll find yourself not getting irritated by the loud music of that individual as they passed by, or that perhaps they brushed into you as they moved passed. 

Once a day. Find the humanity in a situation. Imagine your humanity. Make it up if you have to.

After all, nothing good is ever going to get done for that child who stubbed their toe or the families who lost loved ones to that sunken ship if you cannot start by observing another human. You'll find life to be a lot more obvious.

And a lot more fun. (Particularly when it involves finding favourite quotes and finding odd angles by which to examine them which were probably not intended in the first place).

Always watching with a curious perspective.


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