Think about it for a second, if someone yells at you, at least you have an enemy, someone to place the blame on. Being disregarded makes everyone an enemy, everyone who chooses not to care, to speak, or to pay attention.
I’d even say that bad attention beats no attention.
It’s as if we have found a subtle approach to hurt people, so subtle that we ourselves don’t even realize that we are doing it.
We hurt people by do nothing at all.
Community and care is losing the race to individualism. People don’t stretch their hand to the broken anymore. We find impersonal means to satisfy our humanitarian quota, means that simply require money, signatures on petitions or clicks to vote on a web site. “Hands on” care has become to degrading to the average person. Uncomfortable conversations with awkward people, handshakes with the homeless, are rewarded with a pat on the back or comments such as “I don’t know how you do it”. When did such things suddenly become an act of charity, an abnormal action that extends beyond the status quo, beyond what the “average” person would attempt.
The sad reality is that our current society views this as “above an beyond” when our past and other parts of the world consider it normal. “above and beyond” builds an aritifical wall that we feel we need to climb in order to help others. “above and beyond” builds a class system which boxes us into a certain way of giving/not giving.
I believe we need to raise the bar of “above and beyond”. Normal needs to include sacrifice, dirt and uncomfort, for if the bar continues to fall society will lose the meaning of selflessness.
As I said in the beginning, my eyes have just recently been opened to this tragic reality. I feel horrible to think that I have contributed to this epidemic of disregard. We need to start looking at the small things we do, we need to look so closely to pick up on the smallest things of all, which is probably the things we don’t do.
It’s important to examine ourselves time to time, not for only the bad things we do, but for the worldview we have created that limits our vision of those who we know need our attention.