Creating Ripples of Goodness through Giving
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | December 2018
The world is bursting with hate and reeling with fear. The temptation is to pull back; the solution is to build bridges of compassion.
The last couple years we witnessed devastating tragedy. Winds, floods and fires engulfed communities, destroyed lives, changing life forever for the unfortunate victims. Many readers have directly felt the impact of these disasters. Others only remotely watched the pain from a distance; the grim details and rising death counts. The world is faced with a frightening trend. Many nations’ political powers are pulling back, becoming more protective and nationalistic. While America has been most notable in this movement with their bombastic-self-centered leader, other nations are following suit. Nations leaders typically don’t rise without the growing support of the people. Trump didn’t create the people; the people created the Trump. We need to re-examine this self-absorbed movement, make corrections, and realign ourselves to greater purposes.
There is seldom a single cause to changes in ideology. Certainly, there are notable fears in the world. Terrorism has impacted our sense of security. The daily reports of senseless mass killings, often terroristic in nature, creates fear. Modern technology has been implicated in spreading discontent and discord in political systems. Superficial internet relationships have increasingly replaced wholesome connections, leading to a new epidemic of loneliness and social anxieties. The world population has grown exponentially, creating growing concerns on the environment and resources. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the world population remained under one billion people; now there is in excess of 7 billion. The answer to our continued existence lies in large scale cooperation and not a deadly game (the prisoner’s dilemma) where everyone loses with the destruction of this planet.
"Trump didn’t create the people; the people created the Trump."
Where do we start? How do we reverse this trend of selfishness and fear?
Large scale changes start with small shifts. When individuals begin to reach out, nations will follow. We still see much good in the face of disasters. Fellow travelers working to save strangers. A tragedy brings a sense of commonality—a shared experience. Many, however, maintain emotional distance from human crises. We distance ourselves from the suffering, finding comfort in biased separation, blaming the victims, or remaining indifferent. Sadly, our calloused hearts are often unphased by human suffering because difference in color of skin or political allegiances. The pain on the other side of the globe is no less tragic than pain next door.
With this selfishness, we create the conditions for the collapse. The grappling over limited resources from billions of other selfish individuals will surely be our demise.
Scientific studies suggest we benefit from giving, but, perhaps, if we give with an eye focused on self gain, we lose much of the blessings. We should do good because we care, and we want others to benefit from our giving. The psychological rewards are just an additional perk.
As we engage in the festivities of the season, close the gap, open your hearts and give. We need to expand the circles of giving. Find a cause, empathize with suffering, and become part of the solution. The world is full of riches but also poverty. The world is full of joyfulness but also hurt. We shouldn’t overly busy ourselves with our own small speck of existence and ignore the masses. By expanding our kindness, compassion and service, we begin the ripple of something better, filling the expansive emptiness that is crushing the human spirit.
Reach out, find a cause and give.