Friday, June 11, 2010

And The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

Barbara: Two disclaimers: 1) I am not nor have I ever been religious, so if I screw up any biblical references (see title), please forgive; and 2) I recognize that I live a middle-class, comfortable life and, as a result, have limited experience with the dark side. 

Deb and I already chatted about the Human Spirit and Human Kindness because we are so moved by it. And I think it’s a good subject to come back to. I am by nature an optimist, but lately I have found more and more reason to embrace that optimism—even as the world goes to hell in an oil-smothered, privacy-adverse, poverty stricken hand-basket. Terrible things are happening around the world––and will continue to do so, I’m sure. From wars to environmental catastrophes to financial crises. But has anyone else noticed how we seem to be pulling together like never before? There seems to be a sense of communal GOOD rising up and reminding us that we can handle anything if we stick together and take care of each other. 

Not that there aren’t terrible stories of crime or power-mongering (and always will be), but people seem to be less shy in expressing their non-violent objections. And in developed countries, this seems to be the most effective strategy possible. I noticed it first in small ways. I am new to the whole modern world of chat-rooms, blogging, and social networking. But when I joined my first discussion forum, I was surprised to see how polite and considerate hundreds of strangers from around the world were to one another. Everyone was universally kind and conscious of social decorum, even while expressing their own opinions and beliefs. And if anyone stepped out of line through crass negativity or rudeness, they were gently but firmly told to back off. It wasn’t long before the jerks either apologized and played nice, or retreated back from whence they came. And I’ve seen this same phenomenon on every one of the blogs or forums I’ve since explored. 

Deb made this comment in response to other comments on Spitting Mad just the other day: “The degree of separation always makes me sit back for a second and go ‘wow, the Internet!’ I know it gets tons of flack, but what a miracle in our lifetime to really connect this quickly and frankly with other people from all over the planet.” So true! 

And the power of nice has worked on the big guys too! Look at BP. They have had such a steady stream of suspicious anger leveled at them that they are trying desperately to come across as concerned and responsible citizens, instead of tantrum-throwing three-year-olds who hide their faces in their hands and pretend that if they don’t see us, we’re not here. Or look at Mark Zuckerburg, founder and CEO of Facebook—he felt he had so much power that he could do whatever he wanted with our privacy. He didn’t care. But the gentle backlash of the Good But Angry People washed so quickly and irrefutably over him that he has been forced to play nice––“I want to be the good guy”––and change things. He wants to be on the side of right. It seems that most people do. The good majority of the population seems to have found its voice and its power. And maybe the more our world gets smaller, the more kindness and caring will insinuate itself into every sphere. Because it works! And so, the meek shall indeed inherit the earth, as promised. Took a millennium since the prophecy, but I think—believe—we are on our way. 

As long as we don’t let the power go to our heads, bwa ha ha…. 

Deb: I live in the world of Pollyanna and Doris Day, so I am always at once shocked and elated by human behaviour. I totally agree that we are making progress in many, many ways. I know that there are parts of the world where things are a nightmare, but there are people living those nightmares who are still optimistic and that is the precious bottom line.

I have made a decision since the new year, right or wrong, and it is working for me. I have stopped reading bad news. Like the Witch in the WIZ: “Don’t you bring me no bad news!” For real. I am done. I have not watched TV news since one week after 9/11 and I have stopped reading the front section of the three papers we get every day. I have decided that if I cannot get off my butt to do something about these things, I am not reading about it. I am sick of hearing of random killings, children and animals being abused, invasions, wars and their atrocities, and the list goes on. Cannot and do not want it in my psyche. So right to the “LIFESTYLES” section go I. 

And look, there is “a nine-year-old who has raised money for cancer with earnings from her lemonade stand.” … Bliss.


  1. I agree with a mix of both your insights, just like I agree with a mix of the news media. I listen to news from different sources, but not too much, either. I guess it's mostly to be aware of different things going on in the world as I live my life.

  2. I also agree, It seems like I read the paper or turn on the TV it is talking about something being blowed up or war, I just wish that the media would talk about something more positive then negetvie things going on in the world. I like to see what is happing in this crazy world of mying but I get so depressed anymore because of whats it the news because it all so negative. They should tell about positive this like raising money for chairity, or building new place. Maby that would make alot of difference in the world today

  3. Reality long ago beat my inner Pollyanna to death and burned her corpse.

  4. I'm a believer in focusing on what we want, without totally ignoring what we don't want— just not focusing on it. Thus I think it's wise not to read the shitty news, or watch it, because the news makes it look like the world is a hellhole. It's not. There's a lot of beauty and joy and goodness going on here, and the horrible stuff makes the news because it's not the norm. So there. My .02.

  5. Your right It does seem like no matter how bad the world gets evrybody seems to be pulling toghter expecially since 9/11. I think that 9/11 really showed that we have to pull toghter as a world. No matter what the situation my bring negative wise I feel like our world has pulled togther as a whole. We need to keep pulling toghter because maby if we do then we can outshine the negative things that is happing in our world and make it a more positve world.

  6. I agree with you I think that no matter how Negative our world has gotten expecially since 9/11 people tend to stick togther more and help each other out more. Maby if the people of the world would keep helping each other out, we could outshine the negative things that our happing and make this world a more positvie place.

  7. Rigel -- that friggin' killed me!

    I actually am of 'the read about the news' ilk, know what's going on, and read more about the good stuff so it more than balances the crap. If I think that the oil catastrophe means the world will end, I might as well curl up in a ball. But if I know about it and believe people are working tirelessly (even if wrongly, than not willfully wrongly ... anymore), then I can go about my day with positive energy around me.

    It's tough -- but it's do-able.

  8. It's nice to see that I am not the only one who has had it with bad news! Seems from everyone's comments that we have all near reached our quota with varied results. But for heaven's sake Rigel, take Polyanna's ashes out of the fire and stuff her in a Chucky Doll if you have to but don't abandon the poor thing altogether. Keep a piece of Pollyanna if only as an excuse to watch "Pillow Talk."

  9. Wow. The news out of Toronto yesterday and today. Y'all're certainly rocking this weekend.

    I'm grooving on the live twitter feeds from my some of my favorite brainy freaks and intelli-weirdos who are dancing in the chaos. Very interesting how the alternative press's reporting is so different from the CBC's, hmmmm?

    Barb and Deb -- Are y'all out protesting? ;) Can't avoid this news because it's right there live and in person for you. Stay safe and stand for truth. ;)


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