Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Saddest Thing - For Non-Philosophy Majors

The saddest thing I have ever realized (over and over and over) is that kindness will never be hip.

It will never be mainstream, it will never be free of charge. Even the word itself has a pompous connotation. Most importantly, the sheer act of making someone else happy, will never be enjoyed by more than a handful of people at the same time in one particular hemisphere. Not in the true sense anyway.
Ghandi stand-up comedy, movies and quotes may be enjoyed. Quotes mostly. I love the average university student quoting “be the change you want to see in the world” in every major presentation, paper and motivation letter. I love all the teachers and businessmen giving away just a few hours or just a few cents to “help the world become better”. I love all the vaguely comprehensive and powerfully positive words such as “better”. I mostly love all the people kidding themselves they are a friend.

Few care. And why would we. Really now, we’ve got all the skills to perfectly demonstrate that we do. Minimize effort, maximize outcome, right? We’ve got this awesome command of the international language of human rights, free speech, free economy, free thought, free enterprise and general ‘betterness’. And we’ve got the university degree to prove it.

It’s not even about us on our small campus in a small city of a small country of a small continent. It’s actually irrelevant where you look - national, international, small, huge, middle-sized communities – culture is mostly pointless in this matter. It’s not about whether you value symmetric suburbs or lose morals, it’s not about sanctifying naked actresses over devout conservatives, blatant corruption over covered corruption or rakia over wine. It’s that the vast majority of people value many wonderfully diverse feelings that never have anything to do with kindness. And how strongly people stand by those values.

You may call them sacred, you may call them normal. If you’re very bored, you may call them “cool”. And you simulate kindness and no one could ever possibly suspect you of even for a single second having a clear thought or even the slightest glimpse of an intention of doing harm. Not for one second, never. Few things could make a person sadder than seeing it in a friend.

Fewer things could make anyone happier than having been the cause of an honest smile.

But then, the less the former hurts, the less one enjoys the latter and the more cynically greedy and jealous you become.

I suppose the greatest thing I keep realizing in my life is that I’m enough of a social idiot to spend time thinking and talking and writing about this.