We need new memes in society, new values and an insatiable desire to help others and the world.I am personally a mega cyberpunk utopian/dystopian nerd, and the 80s/90s stream of futuristic movies inspires my work as a writer, and my odd fashion sense; they also scare the hell out of me.
When I was rather young, the local bookstore in Antibes had a book that stood out to me, for reasons I did not know. It was Huxley’s Brave New World. I was so young at the time that I did not know anything about politics or the plethora of problems we have in this world, so I did not see the correlation to the problem we are now facing. I knew about poverty, and had seen it first hand, but the whole corruption of governments and corporations was foreign to me. Now, the omen of Brave New World and books of its ilk are obvious.
Aldous knew what he was talking about, as his brother was a major eugenicist. Towards the end of his life, Huxley dedicated himself to the pursuit of veritas, heavily experimenting in mind altering drugs and eventually Vedanta. His Perennial Philosophy sought to show Westerners the ‘divine reality’ common to all faiths’. He is quoted as saying:
“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder”
Pierro Ferrucio, an Italian transpersonal psychologist and translator of Huxley’s works, expounded upon kindness in his book, in an attempt to thwart what he calls ‘global cooling’.
All of the world’s prominent religions concur: we should treat our neighbors as we ourselves wish to be treated. Are we truly doing this? Absolutely not. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what religion people in your neighborhood believe in, the majority of us are doing the least we can to make the world a better or happier place. That seems to be a motto, in fact ( ‘it’s the least I could do..’)
If we continue to pass these memes ( or thought viruses) on to our children, or let schools do the job for us, what then? We will have the dystopia Huxley, Orwell, and many other artists and thinkers have predicted.
I just finished Swami Vivekananda’s Bhakti Yoga, and am now finishing both Bail Yourself Out and Finding Sanctuary. All help us to reassess what we put our attention/focus on. Do celebrities really matter to our daily lives? Is a 9 to 5 we hate, that may cause us to slam shots afterwards because we are so stressed out, or channel our anger and family and friends…is it really what we have to do to get an income?
Reassessment, or inquiry, as Byron Katie puts it, is the only chance we have at changing the way we look at the world and thus how we act. It is easy to say you can’t help a homeless person, or friend because you are ‘too busy’. All of your friends and family will understand. But it is nonetheless perpetrating the vicious cycle of unkindness that is rampant in our world, and if your kids see you pass by the chance to help another being, they too will end up repeating it.
We have a bunch of soi (street) dogs in our neighborhood, some of whom do have owners but are completely ignored. They are the most intelligent, and kind dogs I have ever come across. Once they know you actually live on the street, they will be your best friend ( although we are one of the only people here that gives them any attention whatsoever). They will actually follow you as you walk to the local store, and escort you back. You may think they only want food, but suprisingly, they don’t (in general). They mainly just want to have some kindness, to be pet and loved.
One of the soi dogs we call Blackie, and we don’t think he has an owner. He began to develop a very, very bad skin rash. We could have just waited to see if it would clear up on its own, or ‘stayed out of it’. I am a pretty lazy person, which is something I have to fight, but I love animals ( and Blackie) so much I went to the vet and got him some medicine. He is now doing much better. Another house had a dog, and now they are gone. They left her behind after they got her fixed. She would just walk around the neighborhood, looking for a home to call her own. We let her in once, and she just curled up on the floor, and slept for hours. Now, we have adopted her ( hell knows where her owners are…).
I am not trying to brag but to point out the fact that these are simple acts I could have justified ignoring. I ignore things all the time. But this time, I chose not to. I have heard it said the reason ‘evil’ is so successful is that they are way more determined then we are. Apathy is the greatest friend of the corrupt mastermind, who thrives on people staying ignorant and docile.
There are many ways we can teach our kids about kindness, but if they go to school, will it get undone due to peer pressure? Is it ‘cool’ to be kind to the unpopular kid? Or is it a breeding ground for archaic memes that are destroying our world and creating followers and repeaters? Even if one unschools like we do or homeschools, we still live in a society that does not value kindness….not outwardly. But if we can teach our kids not to always expect a thank you when they do a good deed, that the deed should be done because it is the right thing to do, then we can maybe make a pack of determined peaceful warriors looking to better everyone and everything they come in contact with.
It’s possible….never say never. 🙂