Thursday, January 8, 2009


St Lawrence distributing alms by Fra Angelico

Why have we become afraid of it? (Via Spirit Daily)
Kindness - that is, the ability to bear the vulnerability of others, and therefore of oneself - has become a sign of weakness (except of course among saintly people, in whom it is a sign of their exceptionality). No one yet says parents should stop being kind to their children. None the less, we have become phobic of kindness in our societies, avoiding obvious acts of kindness and producing, as we do with phobias, endless rationalisations to justify our avoidance.


El Jefe Maximo said...

This is a serious question, and I would hazard a guess that part of the reason is that we have attempted as a society to do without the constraints of religion, tradition, convention and manners -- much less those imposed by nature. To the extent that we recognize constraint, it is imposed by law, or the certitude of our less-pleasant acts causing us physicial or financial peril.

In such an environment, we refrain from actions taken without calculation. It is hard for simple kindness to exist in an environment where all is weighed and calculated.

I suppose this sort of world is an unpleasant consquence of freer mobility and greater communication. We are daily brought in contact with more people than our ancestors could have imagined, therefore we of necessity encounter more persons unlike us in culture, expectations or experience. This may broaden our experiences, but it also increases vulnerability, making kindness potentially more expensive.

Lucy said...

Have you ever noticed how some people pass eachother and pretend to not even notice another has walked right by them? Almost seems like they're afraid of making contact...or maybe afraid of just being nice. One thing though that does reassure me, is how contageous a smile can be. That is one thing no one can avoid- it's almost impossible not to respond.