I will try not to make this too lengthy, but this series has been a journey writing it and I felt a more holistic summation was in order.
One of the things that occurred to me that I was writing it was that was I sounding too much of a person of privilege in my posts. I certainly felt like that at times. If I could say one more thing about what makes a good human might also be luck. The country I was born in, the parents I got, the extended family, that were very loving, and of course my wife and friends all played a role in making me what I am, and for giving me the time and freedom to ruminate, contemplate, learn the right lessons from my experiences for me to even be able to write this. Of course luck isn’t really in our control, and perhaps it is who we are that draw at least some of the people into our life and keep them there. But there are those who are born to parents who stifle their curiosity. When does the parent or parents who work long hours to provide for their children find the time for curiosity themselves or get a chance to play? There are those who spoil their children rotten and make them prideful and without humility. What of those who struggle about even what to put their faith in, fearing a repetition of past mistakes? I was thinking about how would a person who lived in the inner city slums of Mumbai, or Rio find solitude? And then of course what about those who have clinical psychological conditions like narcissism and thus are excessively self-centered? How does the psychopath learn empathy when physically incapable of it? While there may be some solutions to this, early recognition and special nurturing techniques are often necessary and so my words in this series may be nothing more than the words of someone who has, overall, had it pretty good.
One positive thing I have noticed in my life is that none of these qualities however belong to any one specific class, race, culture or region. I have seen the poorest with the least reason to be generous and compassionate be more so than those with the means to bring more good into this world than they do. And I have seen the busiest parents with little time for play themselves, make those sacrifices simply so that their children have that advantage. Life is dynamic, and always changing. Some qualities we may have to put to the side to move past a certain point where we can bring them back. It would be idealistic to say we can have these qualities at all times, and in all places. And while it would be nice if it were so, such utopian fantasies should never occupy our thoughts for too long.
If asked who I wrote this all for, I would say firstly for me. That in itself may sound self-centered, but I desire to become more than I am always, and this journey has helped me greatly in recognize the areas in my life where I might know how I should be in theory, but haven’t been in practice. It has helped me look at areas where I want to grow also. But I think that I also wrote this series for those of you who do such a wonderful job exemplifying these qualities as well. It is those who have been the fortunate in this world who, like rocks striking the surface of the pond can send ripples into the world to try and make it a better place. And when I say fortunate I don’t mean that your life has all been a “walk in the park” (and certainly mine hasn’t always been either) but have overcome great adversity to be where you are now. I also don’t list these qualities to emphasize that we should all be the same. As I have tried to make clear along the way we all exemplify different levels of these qualities, and as I mentioned above, sometimes we may suppress these qualities in ourselves to be able to foster it others, like our children. I think a good human exemplifies these qualities, but our individuality is what decides which of these qualities drives us most strongly. Some people may strive for more balance, others may selflessly always give their time to others, some may love learning and sharing that knowledge, others display great acts of courage that inspire. I do think that all these qualities, should always exist as sparks within ourselves, and we should never let them go out.
I was talking to a friend yesterday and she asked me why I even blog. And I guess central to who I am is that I believe that we are a lot more similar than we are different, and I want to always try to look at things that bring us together rather than those things that drive us apart. So I guess in looking at things that make a good human, I wanted to try to see if I could come up with what I felt was a comprehensive but simple list of things that I’ve seen in my life that make the world a better place for all. I am sure there are other things that might be added, and as I continue to grow and learn perhaps I would add things to this series. But if we can all agree on at least 8 things, that then I think that is a good start. 🙂