It is helpful to remember that all we really have to do is the next right thing. It is rarely hard to know what that is — instead it takes self-discipline to do it.
Have you performed a random act of kindness lately? If not, you should try it. It is one of the things we can actually do right now.
Perhaps you can help an isolated senior. I know several people that have turned 70 in this last year and celebrated this milestone by themselves. Thankfully, one of the best aspects of social media was the ability to reach out to such friends.
Voltaire was a famous French philosopher during the 18th century. He wrote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
This need for clarity of thought is one of the reasons I love philosophy so much. It asks us to be seekers of truth. We can reach out to people, but it is very important that we understand how addicting and manipulative social media sites are.
Too many people believe what they hear on social media. We can be smarter than that. Before the Nazi’s got people to commit atrocities, they got people to believe in absurdities.
Are we doing the same thing today? Where and how is information given to us about immigrants, about the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, about systemic racism and climate change?
Books have been written on what is perceived as Americans’ tradition of anti-intellectualism. Why do so many prefer entertainment over education? Why do we prefer to believe what makes us feel better rather than believing the truth?
Students have asked me if it is hard to be a philosopher, “to be thinking about things all of the time.” Well, for one thing, I don’t spend all of my time thinking! But I do try to form my opinions carefully and be willing to change them as new information comes in.
What is it about human nature that wants to take the easy way? I am reading a book right now that was given to me by my stepmother before she passed away. It is about pioneer women (rather than men) and it came to me how difficult life was for people back then.
Of course it is not just back then. Billions of people are struggling on this planet. I have read that there are over 30 wars currently being waged and that 90% of the causalities are civilians. It is difficult to let that in. But it seems to me that it is only in being committed to seeking truth that we can make a difference, such as committing a random act of kindness.
Let’s avoid believing absurdities and instead commit ourselves to compassion. Right now, send someone a message that you love them. Do it right now!