Kindness is the force that draws us together… Despite our collective state of loss, and our potential for evil, there exists a great network of goodness, knitted together by countless everyday human kindnesses.
-Nick Cave, shared by Leslie in Madison via The Red Hand Files #204
Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.
-Helen Keller, shared by Melissa in Madison, WI
Philosophers and scientists, religious leaders and poets…so many people have weighed in on whether we humans, when stripped down to our core, are best defined as good, noble creatures with lots of flaws OR basically selfish cads who are sometimes willing to work together toward the common good as long as we personally benefit from that common good ourselves. Some even argue that we’re neither good nor bad…just blank slates that can end up going in either direction depending a little on nature, a little on how we’re nurtured, and a little on what we choose to do with the stuff we didn’t choose.
There is no doubt that human beings are capable of pretty rotten behavior…devilish even: lots of horrific incivility has been unleashed on humanity in the name of advancing civilization. At our worst, we are a poopy, poopy bunch.
At our best, though? Oh goodness can we unleash oodles of compassion and kindness and generosity. We can behave divinely: tender and gracious and creative and gentle and spectacular and…well, on and on and on.
I’ll leave it to the philosophers and scientists to figure out whether the basic core of humanity is rotten with awfulness and/or ripe with possibility. For me and for now, what matters is this: it is within my power to recognize and nurture the goodness that I know exists within myself and that I’ve also witnessed in just about every human soul I’ve encountered.
Where are YOU at these days?
P.S. Speaking of Networks of Goodness…these Ripples emails land in just about 30,000 email inboxes every single Monday morning. Add in a few more people who take a peek because a friend or colleague forwarded it to them, and some others who catch it on social media…well, right at the very moment you are reading this, you are instantly connected to a Ripply Network of Goodness…thousands and thousands of like-minded, kind-minded spirits who help us extend our uROCK mission (uROCK = unleashing ripples of compassion + kindness). That’s kinda nifty, eh?