I know people who are loving parents, kind colleagues, supportive friends, helpful community members and yet, they can quickly turn into violence and hate towards other human beings like immigrants, politicians or just people with a different perspective of the world.
How is it possible? I know for sure they would never use the same language or even have the same thoughts towards people they know. But, they can quickly attack someone on social media, or spit harsh words against people they’ve never seen or met.
Then I read this article, and I discover that we all have this program wired in our brain that gives us the ability to see fellow men and women as less than human. It’s a process called dehumanization.
Most of us would never say or do such terrible things to another human being. But what if we don’t see others are human beings?
What if we see them as something else, something less then human?
Anytime we dehumanize others, we loosen our ethical values and principles. So we don’t feel bad for what we say or do. It’s a lie we tell ourselves so we can still feel good people even while we say hateful things.
And we all do that very often. Anytime we look at people, and we see only the surface; the job they do, the role they have, the place where they are from, the group they belong and so on. If we can’t see the human being, we are permitting ourselves to relax our ethical principles.
We are all human beings.
On a slow and rainy Sunday morning, I was looking for something to listen while doing some house chores. My dear friend Luca suggested me Simon Sinek’s podcast a while ago, and I thought “why not?”
The podcast, titled “A bit of Optimism”, is a series of conversations between Simon and various guests on different topics. You can find it here.
I went for the episode “Extreme Listening with Deeyah Khan”, and in those 52 minutes, something shifted in my heart.
Deeyah Khan is a Muslim woman who spent a lot of time with white supremacists and made the documentary “White Right: Meeting the Enemy“.
There are so much wisdom and inspiration packed in this conversation that I can’t sum it up in a post. But there’s one important take away that I’d like to share.
In such a divisive time, I’m often wondering what can I do or say to help at least reducing the distances. Simon and Deeyah help me understand that I don’t have to say anything.
I need to listen more and better.
I need to listen to others with “the sincere desire to understand the things that they love.“
Active listening is a quest for love.
We took Perla, our family dog, out for a walk.
It was a year since the last time we took her out. We have a garden where she can play and run undisturbed, and we don’t have woods or parks at walking distance. But once in a while during the summer, we take the car and bring her to the river.
So, we decided it was time for a small summer trip and some jumps in the water.
So we took the leash, and she immediately understood what was going to happen.
You should have seen her. If joy could have any form or shape, that would be Perla at that moment.
I barely had the time to open the car, and she was already there, waiting to go.
That enthusiasm towards life.
The joy in her eyes.
I want to feel that.
There is something so pure and magical in her look.
How would life look like if I could be a bit more like her sometimes?
“Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.”Moby
We need to change things to prevent this from happening again. We must avoid going back to how things were before.
These are two sentences I often hear lately, and they made me think. Recently, someone reminded me that after every big global shock, humanity reacted creating new structures or configurations.
The UN was created after World War II to prevent future wars. The same for what evolved into the current European Union. After 9/11, many changes were made to the way we travel and live.
Yet, here we are. With all these structures showing fragilities and struggling to provide answers to the challenges we are facing.
Energy informs configuration. And the energy from which those systems and structures were sourced was one of fear. As a result, they feed on that fear so they can’t really create the way forward unless they don’t shift on a different energy.
So, this is my wish.
For individuals, families, communities, organisations, and countries.
That whatever new system, structures or configuration that will emerge from these circumstances, they will be sourced from love, compassion and courage.
Not as a way to escape from something.
Not as a way to avoid or protect something.
But as a way to move forward and create a better future for everyone
Days are fading away, and every morning this feels a little less transient than the day before. While I loosen my grip on the past on one side, I’m surely not getting any more clarity about the future.
I feel as if I stranded in the present. Though, I’m not worried.
At the contrary, I am surprisingly relaxed.
However, this is not what I had in mind when I wrote the title of this post.
That is also a new thing. Usually, I add the title at the end, but it came up doing my stretching, and here I am.
I have only two minutes to give it a meaning. Or maybe I already did because writing is what I love.
You see, one of the questions I ask myself often these days is how to use this time for the best. What should I learn so I’ll be ready when this thing is over? Where should I put my attention so I can secure a prosperous future after all of this? What is the right thing I can to today so I’ll be ahead tomorrow?
And so on.
Do you have similar questions running in your mind?
Last weekend I finally accepted that I know nothing about the future. I know, there are plenty of forecasts out there, many experts are preparing all kind of scenarios. But here I’m talking about me.
And I know nothing about what’s ahead for me.
So, anything is possible.
Any new skill may or may not be the right one.
At this point, I can’t think of anything better than to do what I love, now.
What makes me happy today.
What makes my heart sing with joy today.