Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Where concern ends and begins....

(Just for the record: My purpose in discussing this idea and bouncing it off a comment received was not for the purpose of focusing a negative light on any individual. It is a common sentiment, expressed in many places, and I decided to run with it.

It is this kind of personality stuff that makes me think about hanging up the shingle for good. I deal in *ideas* ~ not *personalities*. Perhaps that is why, if you've noticed, I don't discuss political candidates, public figures or individuals who blog. I don't do it. Period.

At any rate, my apologies go out to Claudia and anyone else who may have been inadvertently hurt by it. )

This morning, I got a comment to yesterday's post that got me thinking. (I love when that happens! :)

The comment was My question is: why is something that has absolutely nothing to do with you so interesting?

I think I can only answer this as someone who used to write opinion columns for a newspaper.

The majority of the things I wrote about had nothing to do with me personally.

My answer to that question would be this:

We live in a community.

When an event such as Columbine (mentioned in the comment), Virginia Tech, the bombing in Bangkok, 9/11 or any other such event occurs, it ripples through the entire community. We are all involved whether we like it or not. We are all involved when anyone in our community suffers. It's symbiotic.

Maybe I didn't know anyone personally who died in the Twin Towers but does that make the event any less relevant?

Maybe I don't know anyone personally who is involved with the Iraq war. Does that make my pain any less relevant?

One of my arguments with major media is its tendency to personalize everything ~ to use the Aristotilean "appeal to misery" as a way to get people to care about social issues.

It could be you!

You are probably only two paychecks away from homelessness, too!

What if it was your child?

Instilling fear.... as though it should only matter if it affects our individual self-interest.

I say it doesn't matter if it is me. It affects someone. I say it doesn't matter that I am not personally two paychecks away from homelessness. Someone is. I don't care if it's my child. I don't have children. But someone does.

It's someone's child.

And I am you.. and you are me. When you are suffering, I suffer.

That's my answer... to why I care and why I am interested.


Blog Antagonist said...

What an odd question. Why wouldn't someone be interested in something that has nothing to do with them? It seems like that would be a very insular existence.

My world is very small and relatively uninteresting. There is so much to see and do and learn in the world.

Also, if I concerned myself only with my needs and those of my family, how can I possibly expect anybody else to care about me or my family when I need them to?

Liz said...

Such a good point. Our culture is so focused on individual rights and freedoms that we miss the point of really understanding what true unity is.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Amen, Chani. Amen.

slouching mom said...

That's a strange question, if you ask me.

Why WOULDN'T someone care about things that had nothing to do with him or her?

Isn't that what the very definition of being an adult is?

liv said...

Okay, so I had to go back and read the comment and the context. The question you ask is only 1 of 2 things I am confused about in the missive. But, I digress. My questions would be: Who are we not to care? Who are we and what does it say about us when others' suffering doesn't profoundly affect us? Who are we not to lift prayers for those in pain?

ewe are here said...

A beautiful answer to a rather odd question.

I have to admit, I find the question a little amusing as well, just the fact that it was asked on a blog of a (presumed) 'stranger'. Makes me want to inquire 'Why does the answer of someone you don't even know so interesting to you?'

Rimarama said...

Would that more people felt the same way as you about communicty, Chani, there probably would be less rage. Yes, all of our actions have consequences, everything is interconnected.

Anonymous said...

Some people, my brother-in-law comes to mind, watch news exclusively. He is addicted, and I'd say he might be one of the people that OGC was thinking of in that comment.

I don't keep up with current events enough, but the news that does reach me affects me as you have described. I care about what is happening to others. Period.

Amy York said...

Here, here... well said, Chani.
When you are a part of a community ~ everything affects you... Eventually.
How can you not care? That's more of a concern for me...

MsLittlePea said...

That is an odd question indeed. Of course you care. Aren't we all 'in this thing together?'

QT said...

I completely agree with everything in this post. I went back and read the comment and I wonder if the question was posed rhetorically - the "you" being the collective?

Aliki2006 said...

I try not to watch too much news, I have to say, but that does NOT mean I am not informed--I turn elsewhere to get news because I hate what the media does.

I agree-it was an odd question. We have to care--all of us. If we don't we risk losing everything.

Tabba said...

and that is a perfectly noble answer.

Janet said...

And wouldn't the world be a kinder place if we all felt the way you do?

Anonymous said...

Ask not for whom the bell tolls/ it tolls for thee…

flutter said...

If we were only interested in things that directly effected us, then we would be pretty egocentric creatures

Open Grove Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
heartinsanfrancisco said...

What I was seconding when I said "amen" was your statement that we are all connected and affected by the same incidents.

If I had bothered to check WHO had asked you that question, I would have known that Claudia didn't mean it the way it was taken, as a lack of caring.

I know enough about her to know that she cares deeply about others. I am sure there was a misunderstanding, and I am guilty for not checking out the source of the question before adding anything.

Snoskred said...

I agree with Open Grove Claudia but I think it goes even deeper than that -

We see the dark, we see very little of the light.

The news is all dark. When was the last time you heard a good, positive news story? Maybe right at the end of the news, where the news people sometimes treat it as a sort of a joke. If you took their version of the world it would be a dark and gloomy place indeed.

The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De Becker talks about that. It is a book I keep mentioning because it changed my opinion on these things and made me turn off the news - I recommend that one to everyone reading this.

This is one thing I like about Oprah. I saw a show of hers recently where she did a pay it forward thing. She gave all the members of her audience 1,000 to spend on someone else. Some of them took that 1,000 and turned it into 200,000 by asking other people and companies to give, to donate, etc. I believe it was a while ago (we get these shows a lot later than ya'all do) but that was a good, positive news story.

People do good things in the world every day, but the news does not celebrate or even report it. They like to focus on the evil. They are the new Satan. They bring that evil to all of us daily, and it damages our souls.

But we have a choice. We can change the channel, switch off, and go to look for the good ourselves. It is out there, if we are willing to seek it.

I present a challenge to everyone - go to a news website, find a *positive* story, and blog about it. It will take you some time to find it, I expect..


Christine said...

"When you are suffering, I suffer."

and that is why i like you so much, chani. we are all connected. we HAVE to feel something, anything. or go numb.

KC said...

I agree we need to celebrate the light as a community more. I think we need that more than ever.

Mary said...

A good person will always be compassionate to someone less fortunate. Isn't it human nature to imagine, "What would it be like to be in her/his shoes?"

painted maypole said...

i agree that we are all connected, and that it DOES have something to do with me. What if we looked the other way when we saw an abused child or spouse? "it doesn't have anything to do with me" is not an acceptable answer!