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Regaining the Humility of Caring

September 1, 2016

There is a dangerous negative feedback loop that seems to have infected much of the world and many people in our own nation. Any number of pundits, leaders and listeners preach fear, distrust and disbelief to each other in an endless cycle of disregard for any critical analysis of the “facts” they shout at one other. As far as they are concerned if you holler loud enough and long enough those “facts” become reality no matter what the truth is.

In response to this phenomenon the British newspaper, The Guardian, recently opined that, “When leaders [and listeners] choose the facts that suit them, ignore the facts that don’t and, in the absence of suitable facts, simply make things up, people don’t stop believing in facts – they stop believing in leaders. They do so not because they are over-emotional, under educated, bigoted or hard-headed, but because trust has been eroded to such a point that the message has been so tainted by the messenger (whoever they are) as to render it worthless.”

Out of fear and distrust those caught up in this closed cyclical loop cease to care for anyone but those who become true believers of the shouted dogma they espouse. This inward focus based on negative certainty begins to destroy their very being – their souls. It seems to shrivel them up leading to a sort of moral mummification.

As a result, both the leaders and their followers lose the capacity for the humility that reminds us that there may be other points of view we should at least listen to and consider. That it is compromise that historically has often been the engine that has moved us forward in our personal, family and national lives. This is because none of us are islands who can do everything alone. In the end we all need the cooperation of the whole to make the parts successful.

A friend recently told me that humility is not thinking less of one’s self but thinking of one’s self less. We all need to take this lesson to heart and begin to care less about ourselves and all the perceived threats shouted at us by “others.” And instead care and think about all the problems we need to work on that face us all no matter our social group, status, color or faith. I believe problems can only be solved if we listen to each other – no matter who the “other” is – to find the best solutions and then work together to implement them to the shared benefit of all.

To do this we need to regain the humility of caring and to continually remind ourselves that we are all in this together.