humanity, lost

Two things instantly attracted me to djmatticus–his compassion as a husband and a father and his uncanny ability to use the perfect quote from movies that I love. One of the great things about blogging is that you get to “meet” role models of the people you want to become. Matticus is one of those bloggers. When I want to be a better parent, spouse, writer, and human, I head over to his blog: http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/

I’ve lured Matticus out of his kingdom for a little joust at EverydayGurus. He faces you today “as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.”

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If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you will have learned that despite my optimistic outlook, my general silliness, and my overall belief that life is one grand adventure, I am fond of saying that we are doomed.  Look around.  Common sense is a relic.  Doing the right thing is an ancient artifact.  Consideration, reason, logic have become little more than words that I like to take out from time to time, let them taste the air, before I safely hide them away to keep them secure until the world is ready for them again.

Is that too harsh?  Unfair?  Do you think I’m exaggerating?

Perhaps I am.  Perhaps I am taking our lost humanity to an absurd level, because we all know there are good people out there.  We know this, because we know we are good ourselves, right?  Do any of you ever look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I am a terrible person, inhuman, and that’s exactly how I want to be…”?  Of course not.  We may see our flaws staring back at us, but we recognize them as flaws and we hope to be better even if we don’t do anything to actively pursue becoming better.

So, if we don’t see ourselves as having stepped away from the traits that build out our humanity, how can we assume that anyone else has either.  All those monsters we hear about through media, that lady one lane over still talking on her cellphone while she swerves into you, the guy that zips into the parking spot you’ve been waiting patiently to open up, the person at the checkout who waits until everything is wrung up before taking out their checkbook, the person that didn’t hold that door open for you – none of them think of themselves as less than human.

What’s the solution then?  If we all can see that people are acting less and less like people but no one sees that behavior in themselves, how can we change this steady decline back into being animals?  How do we reclaim our humanity?

It starts with us, of course.  We have to pay attention to the world around us.  We all have responsibilities and concerns and important meetings and things we are running late to and this that and the other.  We all have stresses.  We all have struggles.  We need to recognize that.

When the lady one lane over swerves because she is talking on her phone, take a deep breath, and let her and it go.  When the guy steels the parking spot you were waiting for, you will find another one shortly.  When the person doesn’t pull out their checkbook until after all of their items have been bagged at the grocery store, take those extra few seconds to think of something you are happy about.  When the door shuts in your face because the person ahead of you didn’t notice you and hold it for you, make sure you hold the door open for the person behind you.

These seemingly small and insignificant acts are anything but.  The repercussions are astronomical.  When you let go of your anger and laugh off the near accident you will be more mindful of your surroundings and make sure you don’t make the same mistake the lady with the cellphone did.  When you patiently wait for another parking spot to open up you will realize that those couple extra minutes circling the parking lot really didn’t matter, you waste more time with your head in the fridge each night trying to figure out what you want for dinner.  When you think of something happy while waiting for the check to get written it will be your turn that much quicker and your smile will be infectious.  When you hold the door open for someone else that person will hold it for another and they will hold it for another and it will get passed on.

Reclaiming humanity is not an insurmountable challenge.  We just need to do the simple things that used to be common place.  We need to be patient and understanding and considerate.  We need to go back out into the world and do one good deed every day.

What did you do today?

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41 comments on “humanity, lost

  1. djmatticus says:

    Reblogged this on thematticuskingdom and commented:

    I tackled the weighty and important topic of reclaiming humanity in a guest post over at everday gurus. Go check it out. And make sure you poke around and see what Kozo has going on while you are there.

  2. rarasaur says:

    A good deed a day makes humanity say “yay”. You nailed it! Now my complex cure to the same problem seems over-thought. 😀 😉

    My good deed today was picking up litter– well, a full trashcan that tipped over. Not glamorous, but who knows? It could be the tipping point of great actions to come! 🙂 Yay!

    • djmatticus says:

      I think the best good deeds rarely are glamorous! Hooray for Rara perhaps saving the world by cleaning up someone else’s mess. Good job! 😀

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Must have been hard for a Dinosaur to pick up all those small pieces of trash. You could have just incinerated it Godzilla style. “Hey, Sexy Lady…Whoop, Whoop…Godzilla Style.” Sorry, I’m a little batty after the retreat. Love both you guys. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. It’s early morning in Oz and I’m alone in the house – no good deed yet but I’ll catch up 😉

  4. […] (Speaking of guest posts, TheMatticusKingdom and myself are babysitting EverydayGurus while Kozo is away. We’re solving the world. Check out theMatticus offering today, and eagerly await mine on Thursday! http://everydaygurus.com/2013/10/14/humanity-lost/) […]

  5. This is a great post. You really place things in the right perspective. Today, I gave a lot of my time to a couple of people who really needed it…but, in all honesty I would have gave them both more if there were enough hours in one day.

  6. 1jaded1 says:

    Right. I.doubt anyone says that. I hope not.

  7. NIKOtheOrb says:

    Random Acts of Kindness are my favorite ways to reclaim humanity. For no reason but only to be kind (and actually animals are much kinder than humans are to one another), to show that not all of humanity is terrible. It’s important to remember that we are humans and yes, we are flawed, but that does not mean we have to magnify those flaws into outright acts of meanness or to the point where we no longer become aware of ourselves or others. Even if it is just smiling at the stranger as you walk by and watch as they return the smile and for a moment there is a connection and maybe the day is just a little brighter than it was a few moments before.

    Great post. You are minding Everyday Gurus well.

    • djmatticus says:

      Yes, sometimes a smile is all a person needs to change the direction their day (or their life) is headed. Imagine the good that could come from all us smiling as we pass rather than looking at our feet intentionally avoiding eye contact. What’s wrong with a little connection? What’s wrong with a little joy spreading? Nothing at all. Keep on smiling! 😀

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love walking by and smiling with others, Niko. One day we will smile in each others faces. Lots of humanity in the world. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  8. Sun says:

    true words that common sense is a relic. common sense should tell someone that if you take in two stray pups you should not enclose them into a crate that sits outside with no protection from weather elements, should not keep the crate without food or water (for how long this went on i do not know) and should not say to me when asked, “should those puppies be brought into the garage out of the pouring rain?” and the reply is, “oh, i forgot about them.”
    okay. my good deed yesterday because it is too early today – got the pups proper shelter, food and water. then forgave the person.
    thanks for a great read. ☺

  9. yogaleigh says:

    I totally agree with the attitude of doing good stuff regardless of whether other people do but I’m not so clear that there is a big decline — I see lots of good people in the world but also that it’s become fashionable to place attention on those who are rude. So I’m not always sure whether there are more rude people or if the general focus leads me to notice them more. When I change my focus I see people doing beautiful and amazing things all over. Thought-provoking post.

    • djmatticus says:

      Interesting point – perhaps we have been trained to see the bad instead of the good. Years of being inundated with terrible stories and rude characters and people acting less than human have made it easier for us to spot that in our own lives rather than spot those people who have always continued to be and do good. There’s a second challenge: not only what have you done today, but what have you seen others do today? I’m going to go out and look for the good while doing good at the same time. Good stuff.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great point, Leigh. It is a matter of perspective. I was talking to some people at the meditation retreat and we were in agreement that the world rolling over for the better. Blogs, movements, and practices like yours shine brightly in my view of the world. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  10. […] I’d love your thoughts, so come on over and say hey, will ya? http://everydaygurus.com/2013/10/17/lets-win/ and be sure to check out Matticus’ offering while you’re over that way: http://everydaygurus.com/2013/10/14/humanity-lost/ […]

  11. BrainRants says:

    Does not-killing the 83rd person in a row who walks into my cube with a fresh mug of their coffee, saying, “Hey, Rants!?” count?

  12. The Cutter says:

    I’ve actually tried to be nicer to people, especially my friends, and yet I’ve found it difficult. When hanging out with people, I just can’t help but rip on them. I try to do so in a humorous way, but I’m sure I’ve cut too deep on more than one occasion. I’ve actually questioned why people like to hang out with me sometimes.

    And yet I make a point to do things like recycle and put my shopping cart back in the marked receptacle.

    • djmatticus says:

      You put your shopping cart back? I think you just won my humanitarian of the year award. Right now that is one of my biggest pet peeves. The little grocery store by my house has only 24 parking spots in total, and usually 3/4s of those are filled with carts that people couldn’t be bothered to walk the ten steps back to the front of the store…. So, yes, putting your cart back, simple, easy, and definitely counts as a good deed.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love the kind deed of putting the shopping cart back, Cutter. It seems so insignificant, but it means a lot to the next shopper, the worker at the store, the person whose car didn’t get dented on windy day, the child who gets plopped into a wet cart on a rainy day. Lotta humanity there. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  13. […] has kicked off discussions on how we should/could re-claim humanity. I was honored to offer my simple solution: we need to look to ourselves and make sure we are doing the good we want to see in others first […]

  14. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Really great points, and it’s so simple. These little things really matter, and it’s when we say “ah it’s just a little thing, it doesn’t matter” that we really lose that humanity!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Rohan.

    • djmatticus says:

      Exactly. We have to start with the little things, sometimes, most of the time, they are the most important things anyway. But, start small and build from there. From remembering to open doors for people and smiling at strangers, to really helping those in need, to being human to one another again all the time.

  15. Kozo Hattori says:

    Love both the challenges, Matt. I will try to do kind deeds but also look out for kind deeds of others as well. What a wonderful way to spend a day.
    By the way you did so many kind deeds here–guest posting, reading all comments, responding with heart and love. Thank you so much for being part of the Reclaiming Humanity Rebel Alliance (RHRA, pronounced like RARA). No badge yet, but definitely some good karma coming your way.
    {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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