We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

~ Helen Keller ~

People Matter

December 30th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 2 secs

Actually every person matters.

Actually every person matters.

People matter. But then you know that. In fact, everybody knows that. Yet, strangely, many don’t show it.

Every person is valuable and important, whether they, we, or others think so or not. Call it an inherent thing, determined if you like by our rarity in the vastness of the Universe. Or, as I see it, because we’ve been created for good purpose.

Yet, despite the big picture, it’s a common phenomenon that familiarity breeds contempt. So people can be incredibly indifferent and cruel to others (as if that’s a meaningful way of living or even okay).

When Ruth and my youngest son went down the street here in Bangkok (we’re on holidays – that’s why I’m pacing out the posting), they found a street vendor selling banana pancakes. Some other tourists were there already, treating this man like he was a non-person. They said the least, refused to smile, make eye contact, or show any courtesy at all.

We have all met plenty of people like that. Types who treat others like rubbish and refuse to acknowledge their common humanity because, somehow, they feel above them.

Treating someone like they are “a nobody” is a sure sign that the perpetrator is manifesting some major inadequacies. There are no nobodies. Only people that we either relate to or don’t (because we can’t or we won’t).

Thinking people realize that everyone is important and don’t look down on anyone due to position or occupation. Nor do they treat individuals differently, in the sense of basic human respect.

A child, a frail old person, someone with obvious disabilities, or somebody living in poverty are your equal. Despite all the thoughts and feelings we may have to the contrary, that’s the reality of our shared humanity.

To treat someone as a lesser being because they don’t speak your language, share your culture, or in some way lack your attributes is a grave mistake. Yet it is an error that is constantly promoted in our media and prevailing mentality.

If you sat down to a café meal and the person near you looks disheveled and stinks, it is a repelling experience all round. For we take basic standards of hygiene for granted. Yet, how is it that people can demonstrate a shabby attitude and stinking thinking and we let that go?

Treating all people reasonably and with dignity is not about being a hero but a perceptive human being. To do anything less is to live way below the “character poverty line” where too many go.

Dipping below a civilized standard of thought and deed leaves us primitive and ignorant. So in that sense we all need to treat and be treated humanely, in spite of all our shortcomings. Because whatever we have done or haven’t there is one thing to remark. Every individual matters for we all carry the same spark.

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