Kindness–Making The World Bearable

In Cambridge, England, a workshop was recently held on Kindness. The flyer described it as a basic human attribute (following the 2009 book by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor) a “glue that holds the society together”. The workshop wanted to know why such an important force wasn’t talked about more. Recently on Facebook, friends of friends were putting together a Kindness group to help someone they knew who had breast cancer. For a few years now  has given the idea of kindness a certain impetus. Certainly, kindness is an overlooked attribute. All we need to do to attest to that is to ponder how kindness has played a role in our own lives. We are each the recipient of numerous acts of kindness, acts we often fail to notice. It’s no doubt obvious that for most of us kindness has marked our lives for the better. Strangers letting us go through lines, people giving us information while we travel, people giving us a helping hand when we least expect it, or when we most need it, in stores, in streets,  wherever we are. Regardless of its unsung hero status, kindness however, is not as some have touted the epitome or quintessence of human activity. In fact it seems to have been practiced by other names, goodwill is one. Goodwill being a modern version of god’s will connects the sentiment to a higher part of ourselves. Indeed kindness does reveal the better aspect of our nature, and in many ways can be called the precursor to most higher attributes, as if it created a way for them to manifest themselves. As such it is an adjunct perhaps, but not a substitute for resilience, courage, fortitude, selflessness, honesty, trust, compassion, respect or understanding. Whatever its limitations, kindness as the doing for others, the  going out of our way for another, the  acknowledgment and inclusion of others in our thoughts and deeds, is nevertheless one of those  ever present little spoken of attributes that makes the world bearable.

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