Saturday, May 11, 2013

civ·i·lized... Living It

I've understood it to mean people are polite, well-bred, refined or that we are striving to have an advanced or humane culture or society. Being civilized is a great concept. There are some that I'd assign that label, but then I'd have to look around our world and see we are far from it... really.
Every day there are indecent and inhumane acts perpetrated on fellow human beings and the most heinous are those against our innocent ones. Daily I'm reminded how cruel some in our societies can be towards others; the victims though strong, they are defeated and the weak who can't fight back, they easily succumb. You've seen the unspeakable on Facebook, on the news or through a retelling of a story by a friend. It's all horrendous and it's not civilized.

When the news feed is especially full and laden with these horror stories I easily become depressed and feel heaviness in my physical state. To be empathetic is to risk having these emotions and feelings, and it literally hurts when these awful situations present themselves. You wish you had the power to change the bad outcomes for all those stories that you come in contact with, but you know you can't. That only makes it hurt worse some times. But what can you do? Sometimes nothing. Other times you can make a donation, send supplies, offer calming words and a shoulder or a bear hug to wipe away the sorrow. Being helpful when you are empathetic goes a long way to healing your heart-felt emotions that flood up your being and it benefits someone else to help lift them out of their misery. But sometimes I don't feel like I ever do near enough because the bad just keeps coming.

How civilized can we really be when it just doesn't ever seem to end? I don't think we are really completely civilized if we look at the big picture of humanity on this planet. We seem to be getting a step or two above being the totally barbaric humans we were thousands of years ago when intelligence seemed to be lacking, but we still have some segments of the population who missed the lessons of the enlightenment period.
I've witnessed some individual people who are civilized, at least they appear to be. But maybe they are just like me. I used to think I was until I truly contemplated what being civilized meant to me. Remembering instances when I didn't lift a finger, for whatever the reason, challenged that thought. Watching ex-friends implode from sidelines, just shaking my head saying they deserved it. Karma bitch... you're getting what you had coming to you. I didn't feel any hesitation in not doing anything, nor a pang of guilt. My empathy chip is on low or does it really mean I'm full of shit when I say I'm civilized?

There are many people who have wronged me that I've put on my list that I won't or don't lift a finger for. This honest admission causes me to think that I might be less civilized than I thought I was. My inaction or my less than helpful mood shows me to be vengeful. Although I know that if those people on my list were bleeding in front of me I couldn't look away. Much less do nothing to end their sorrow, pain or predicament. My good nature would surface once again; being proactively humane would suggest that I am indeed civilized. It's just that I don't have as much empathy for their plight at the time they hurt me; being human means I'll be human when the time comes.

Writing gets me thinking and thereby doing or at the very least, trying to do the right thing. It has made me more civilized, I think. I know that it is impossible for me to stop every bad thing that happens in the world, but just being a live human being means I have to make a commitment to myself to strive to be better and do better everyday. That is what makes me civilized! I defiantly impact my world in a positive fashion, my actions reflect my humanity showing that I've thoughtfully chosen to teach my family and community what it means to live civilized among them. How my world around me is starts with me from the time I wake up and doesn't end until I go to bed after giving my day everything that I can. If I can't bring something positive to it then I'm adding nothing of value to it and being a part of a civilization is a lie. I don't want to be UN-civilized

I need to be sure that my daily efforts are guided by that thought and my input reflects it.

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