In general humans don’t like to seem themselves as part of the animal kingdom. This is true despite the fact humans discovered evolution and a big part of population do believe in it. For some reason, even when people know it, still there is something special about “The chosen one” that people cannot let go of it. Interestingly, a lot of “modern” people also believe that if you present data, information, facts and make people understand, humans will. Yet, at the same time, despite all the science somewhere deep down humans cannot let go of the feeling of being superior. In some culture, a hierarchy is defined and humans are on top of that hierarchy. If we believe those cultural stories then it is with some complicated rules someone is born as human. This naturally then helps to set in the feeling that we are born superior than the rest. How we define that superiority is vastly subjective. We have defined many different measures to conclude that. One of the measures is human kindness.
A lot of spirituality and religion is based around this measure. In these domains it is generally believed that humans are born kind. They care about others and are generous and kind to others in ways that are beyond any other species. Same goes for some philosophers and psychologist who believe that humans are born with kindness. The idea is that every child is by default programmed to be kind. It is the upbringing; schooling, parenting and other life experiences; that makes them deviate from this special human feature. There are even some experiments done on babies to demonstrate how humans prefer kindness and positive behaviors. In the eyes of some e.g. Button and Gaber, if anything is wrong with a person, almost always its reasons can be related to parenting and childhood experiences. It seems that parents and the others destroy the child including its kindness.
This in some sense, I believe, comes from the same hidden feeling of “the chosen” species. The GOD created mankind idea is somewhere hidden behind it, which makes people easily conclude that people are born kind, born good. People who decide that a species is supposed to have a natural behavior for the rest of life as they can see in some infants seems to forget few things. The kid who seems to show the behavior that tends to show bias toward kindness, the same kid also shows the behavior that he won’t mind to put his hands in its own poo and give it a try!
There exists other complex theories that tries to examine behaviors from different perspective. E.g. kindness towards own family, own social circle, strangers and enemies. Another perspective of individual circumstances e.g. I may share my bread if I am full and I have enough, but may not share the same kindness, I have to feed a baby who has not eaten for 3 days! This ways the scenarios can get soon complicated with various small edges and turns to find a straight line. Today, we have a very special situation to observe this attribute at the global scale, thus removing all limitations on sample sizes. COVID19 gives us a special chance to look at human behavior at global level.
Are people by default kind? Won’t kindness include to be kind to save someone from getting the disease or atleast to reduce the chances. Will it not mean that before I start to complain about my “not being able to meet my friends”, I check that there are people in healthcare system working tirelessly? Will it not mean that even, when I know that I have less risk of serious damage that I don’t become a cause to someone’s else troubles; which even could be my own family? Won’t that mean that before people start to complain that it is horrible to breath with masks after 5 mins of wearing it, they take a moment to think about many of those people in grocery shops, clinics working with masks and in closed spaces all day long? Was it being kind when governments bought supplies for PPE for their countries rather than distributing it?
I don’t think so. When governments put lockdown, people went against it as they want to run business and socialize and travel. When lockdown were removed and cases started to rise, the same people complained that government did not take proper measures. When hospitals started to get full and there were no medical staff any more, people again complained that government did not invest enough to make a better healthcare system. Is that kindness?
I went for a coffee and in the whole bar, we were just 3 customers; each sitting in its own corner. One guy (a person known to me) came and pushed forward his hand for a shake. I refused and he got angry. He was so annoyed that he kept yelling for 5 minutes, telling me that there is no disease, that all disease is in the mind. He was asking to me be strong and get rid of that weak mindset. I told him that I am happy to know that he has such a strong mindset. If he wants to be helpful, then it’s better to visit hospitals and shake hands with those sick people. They might be happy to have contact with someone when not even their family members would touch them. Help them to have a strong mindset. He ignored by comment and went on with his blabbering. Is this kindness that just one person thinks little different than you, that you can get so upset about it?
I don’t known if all kids are born to be kind. If they do, then I am not sure if they are supposed to be remain kind all their life. If parenting is the reason that they get bad and who were they first parents to take away this kindness from their kids and why? I don’t know if anyone has answers to those questions. As mostly they are just theoretical discussions with a lot of subjectivity in it. I don’t know if all kids are born to be kind. But, I am pretty sure that all(almost) kids can smile from very early on. Maybe if we try to keep that smile a little longer with us in our adulthood, maybe it help with kindness as well.
The lady said to Mulla Nasrudin at the door, “Have you ever been offered work?” “Only once Lady,” said Nasrudin. “Aside from that, I HAVE MET WITH NOTHING BUT KINDNESS.”
Featured Image : Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash