The Humanity Concern

I’m getting really distraught lately.

Over the state of the world we live in. I really don’t even watch as much news as I should. I’m busy with kids and I only catch a small portion of what’s going on. But what I do see, chills me to the bone. * I will be sampling various quotes to use the media to expand on my thoughts.*

Now I’m going to take into account that a lot of the media I see is American, as the Canadian media is pretty much non-existent to those who don’t have the time to go search it out. And we all know that American media is fear-based. They want you to be afraid of what they are saying.

Fear-based news stories prey on the anxieties we all have and then hold us hostage. Being glued to the television, reading the paper or surfing the Internet increases ratings and market shares – but it also raises the probability of depression relapse. In previous decades, the journalistic mission was to report the news as it actually happened, with fairness, balance, and integrity. However, capitalistic motives associated with journalism have forced much of today’s television news to look to the spectacular, the stirring, and the controversial as news stories. It’s no longer a race to break the story first or get the facts right. Instead, it’s to acquire good ratings in order to get advertisers, so that profits soar.” -Deborah Serani, Psy.D.

But that’s not the core of why I’m afraid. It’s the global culture of hate and separatism that seems to be consuming the general populace. We focus on the U.S.A but that is because they are the epicentre of media and that’s what we see. In truth, it’s everywhere.

Hate comes from, or is closely associated with, anger; hate gives its bearer a high, and an interminable yearning for more. Hate feeds on itself; it grows on the hater and embraces and engulfs the person into total surrender, so that a person becomes one with it. Hate is like adrenaline: Once it starts flowing, it is hard to stop. It keeps the misanthropes going, and they do not want it to stop. Hate makes the hater feel invincible, vindicated, justified.

And hate begets hate. Hate hardly ceases to enlarge itself. Hate is contagious.” – Pornpimol Karnchanalak

You hear these stories about rape and murder. Corruption in government. Rights taken away. Suicide. Bullying. War. Genocide. Different degrees of hate and disgusting behaviour. This is our world. And I have two small boys to raise in it.

The world will know peace when it is able to pull itself out of the dark ages, when all religion is dead and all minds are open.” -Ben Haggerty

I want to consider myself and my sons to be global citizens. To contribute to society. To help make this world a better place. But at this point, what can we do? Can we stop the killing and poverty and abuse and racism? Now that’s not to say I’m naïve enough to believe that these things haven’t been around in some incarnation as long as humanity itself. But is it just the magnification of the media or is it so much worse than it used to be? Are isolated tales of good and kindness enough to combat the sorrow our society is based on?

It starts with you my good man. We as a society have lost our voice of compassion or rather it has been drowned out by fear and selfishness. Some of us like you and me are at the awareness stage. We realize that there is a problem. The next thing to realize is that you can’t help a single person if you first don’t help yourself. Becoming aware is not enough. You have to act on that awareness. Show compassion and selflessness to the people around you and expect nothing in return. It’s a hard thing to do, not judge your neighbor, but once you’ve gotten control of yourself you have a better influence on the people around you. I see the norm of today being service to self, so I say to you and anybody else that has the question, the place to start is with you. How you interact with the people around you spreads like wildfire. Be the change you want to see in the world and you will see people come out of the “woodworks” so to speak.” -William Bruno

Ok. So be the change. I’ve heard it before and I believe it to be true. But what about the rest of the world? I don’t want to wait for everyone else to understand. It hurts me to see so much pain around me. I want to shake everyone with hate in their heart and tell them to open their eyes and see what they are doing. See what they are destroying. I can live with it but I don’t want my children to have to.

I also believe, that it is part of the human being’s intrinsic nature, to hate. When someone hurts me, I feel it. When someone hurts someone I love, I feel it. An uncontrolled anger that wants to hurt and punish and cause chaos. When I was in second grade, I tore a schoolmates art poster because I wanted to. And I didn’t feel badly. It’s ingrained from the moment we are born. Your circumstanced and upbringing either foster or filter this emotion. But it’s always there.

Professor Semir Zeki and John Romaya of the Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology at UCL, examined the brain areas that correlate with the sentiment of hate and shows that the ‘hate circuit’ is distinct from those related to emotions such as fear, threat and danger – although it shares a part of the brain associated with aggression. The circuit is also quite distinct from that associated with romantic love, though it shares at least two common structures with it.

The results are an extension of previous studies on the brain mechanisms of romantic and maternal love from the same laboratory. Explaining the idea behind the research, Professor Zeki said: “Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled, and eradicated. Yet to the biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love. Like love, it is often seemingly irrational and can lead individuals to heroic and evil deeds. How can two opposite sentiments lead to the same behaviour?“” – University College London

So for me, this is what I’m doing. Every time I feel hatred welling up inside of me, I walk away. I, at great personal sacrifice, discard the pleasure my brain believes I’ll reap from revenge or nasty comments or meanness of any sort. This is what I will do now. I’ve had 27 years of slip ups and the odd hateful outburst. But with the state of this world, we can’t afford one more slip up. I can’t stop the feeling from happening, but I can stop myself from doing anything about it. This won’t change the state of the governments, end hunger, stop violence, encourage education versus ignorance. But it means that I, personally, am not contributing to it. So I can tell my sons that I tried to live in the world how I wish it were. Maybe I didn’t only put love out there for my entire life but I can tell them that it reached a point where I realized, I’m accountable for everything I put out into the world and deserving of everything I get back. I can only hope they live this way too.

Human life is a truly beautiful and amazing gift, and along with the opportunity to inhabit these bodies and this planet comes a great responsibility.  Humankind was given the capacity for unlimited mental processes, and as a result, we are custodians of this planet, and responsible for the advancement and evolution of our species.  In order for humanity to evolve to the next level necessary to create a more peaceful and unified society, each individual must tap into their core of potential and achieve a level of self-realization and improvement, which is the ultimate key to creating a better world.” –Mark Matus

All I can do is continue to try and push love through every open mind and every pair of ears that will listen. I encourage you to be kind. I encourage you to look at the negative and hate-filled things you will encounter everyday and if you cannot stop it from happening, walk away. Being a part of hate is the same as being the beginning of it.

I encourage you to change your own definition of humanity.

Zack

Zack’s full name is Zachary Paul Williams. I met him in 2007 for the first time and he saved my life. Ever since then he’s been my personal hero. Zack lives on the street. If indeed he is still alive.

In 2007 I seemed to be at a fulfilling beautiful point in my life. Great career, great friends, was with a man I loved with a intense passion. But unbeknownst to me, I was in reality, still a fragile dark creature that was simply living in the sun for a moment. The man I loved left and I allowed everything to come crashing down. Looking back I can’t believe I had no fortitude to keep something…anything afloat but at the time I wasn’t strong enough alone to stop the threads of my life from fraying and unraveling.

So on an actual dark and stormy night I took off from my life and drove my car haphazardly down an empty highway, tears burning my eyes and streaming down my face. My mind racing I had no choices. My life was over and in my heart of hearts I felt abandoned for the last time. Drive off a cliff was the only thing that came to mind. I wasn’t thinking in words anymore, only in storyboards.

Drive off cliff. Pain ends. Heart won’t hurt so much.

But like anyone that can’t cope with an intense onslaught of emotions, I had fear first. Overwhelmed and hurting on a physical level, I pulled over at a closed gas station and fell on the ground sobbing. No solution, only pain.

Then Zack. A dirty homeless man on a bike looking for cans if I recall correctly. Much too emotional to be scared of this stranger in a terrible area of town, when he approached me I continued to sob uncontrollably.

“Are you ok?”

“No! My life is over.”

“What happened?”

“The man I love left me…he LEFT me… I can’t… I can’t….”

“I’m sorry to hear that. It’s not the end you know.”

“It is! He is the only one I had and now I have nothing and nobody. What am I going to do…”

“Get up every day.”

“I can’t! It hurts…you don’t understand!!!”

“I don’t? I beat an addiction, got a great job and had a wife and baby girl…. and I woke up one morning and they were gone. My wife took everything, and she took my daughter….. they had to lock me up I went insane it hurt so bad. I lost my job, I lost everything…. I’m using drugs again, my life is shit. Don’t tell me I don’t understand.”

Caught completely off guard.

“Sorry…”

“But you know what? I’m still here.”

“How are you… I mean didn’t you just wanna die?”

“Every single day”

“But then…”

“You just have to fake it until you make it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Wake up every day. Breathe in and out. Pretend you’re not in excruciating pain. Live a lie. And one day the pain will actually be less. It’s never going to go away. But it will get better. I promise.”

I can’t remember the rest of the conversation. Either that or it hurts too much to remember. This man who didn’t know me, who had NOTHING, gave me a chance at staying alive. I am fairly certain I was emotionally unstable enough to end my life that night. And his words, his completely sincere and compassionate nature….let me believe I had a chance. It was months, perhaps years until I healed from it, still hurts today, but he was right. It got better. And THAT night, he let me stay alive. Love him until the end of time. He’s a part of my soul and a part of my life for always. I wear his name in ink on my wrist along with the names of the most important people to touch my life. I defend his honor with the ferocity of a mother who has a threatened child.

I left that night with a spark of hope. Enough to sustain me until morning. Fake it til you make it.

I only saw Zack one more time after that…. but that dear friends is a story for another day.