Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Microscopic Mindest

In Montgomery, Alabama, my host stated "Friendly people live in a friendly world, hostile people live in a hostile world. What do you think about that?"

It was funny that he asked me that because that was something I have thought about this entire trip. Not in those exact words but the spirit of the statement.

The summary of my response was, "From my experience, all people want to help. On an individual basis everyone is very friendly, but on the macroscopic level everyone is hostile."

Since Im at the opposite end of the color spectrum, and am often confused for many other ethnicities, my main concern was racism. Thankfully I havent encountered any. Almost everyone I have met has been friendly. Those that werent were usually in cars and I only had a moment of interaction with them.

On a microscopic level, the individual level, everyone wants to help someone. The desire to help transcends many things. Age, class, social status, economic status, race, religion, so on and so forth. However, there is one thing this desire cannot overcome, social mindset. From our youth we are raised to believe "dog eat dog," "man vs. world," "fend for yourself," etc. What this does is cause us to become introverts and the macroscopic world becomes hostile. We see people we can help but we dont because it is not our problem. So we live and let live content behind these walls around us.

What we should do is stop seeing the world as a sea of faces and apppreciate the individual. Strange as it sounds the people you meet in the briefest of times can sometimes have the greatest effect. So adopt a microscopic view and live in a friendly world. When you do, you allow yourself to influence others as well as be influenced.

So how can you start thinking on a microscopic level? Start by helping at a level you are comfortable with. You can donate blood, money, clothes, food, etc. You can also volunteer to do many things. Big Brothers Big Sisters, soup kitchens, Soldiers Angels. The first step covers the greatest distance.

Thats what I've been thinking about on this trip. I have seen the greatness one and now see the potential of the whole.

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