September 17, 2011

Lifting Burning Cars And Other Acts Of Kindness

"I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."  ~ William Penn 

The recent viral video showing the good Samaritans lifting the burning car off of the motorcyclist is a dramatic example of the universal acts of kindness that take place every day across the globe.

The media and entertainment industries churn out manufactured fear designed to keep us apart and dependent on the system, but our instinct toward kindness and cooperation is not easy to stifle.

If I learned anything during a year of international travel it is that the world is one beautiful, peaceful, non-threatening place, benign even. It did not matter what country I was in - wherever I went I was met by good people doing good deeds, and nary a terrorist in sight.

Over the 365 days of my travels I discovered that the world was not the scary, thug-ridden place depicted by media and movies. Nor did I find it to be like the competitive, selfish, dog-eat-dog model promoted by our economic system. Everyone I met was kind, generous, supportive, and eagerly cooperative.

We are not as self-interested as we are told we are by the greed industry. For the most part we do what the burning car heroes did - we give in to our natural instinct to help each other, to do the right thing. It is what we do best when not impeded by "You vs. The Joneses" messages.

When the media is so focused on keeping us fearful of everything, including each other, it is easy to lose our perspective and forget what a wonderful world we have. Most people, I hope, experience humanity's enormous capacity for kindness on a daily basis. But it doesn't contribute to the GDP so you won't hear much about it.

Unless a group of people lift a burning car off someone.

We can defy those who would control us, and refuse to give in to their manufactured fear. Love and kindness are our tools for dissolving the hate and greed that they market.

Together we are strong, and together our love and kindness will triumph.


  1. Anonymous9/18/2011

    That quote is often mis-attributed to William Penn but actually it is more likely to be from Stephen Grellet.

    Initially I thought it was a Ghandi quote which prompted me to look into it, just shows what I know!

  2. Anon,

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Although it is most likely an old Quaker saying (and a good one, too), it is more properly attributed to Stephen Grellet.

    It does sound like a Gandhi quote. Words to live by.


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