“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies- God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
It has all been said before. Religions, philosophies, hippies, peace movements, your grandma – everyone and their pet dove whispering and shouting and singing and chanting and writing about it.
“This world has a serious shortage of both logic and kindness.” – Haruki Murakami
Is that true, or simply an author’s subjective observation? How are we measuring kindness? We point at wars and crimes and we grumble, but we don’t even attempt a comparison with all the shining good in the world. Still, another helping can’t hurt.*
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James
No argument there; kindness is a lovely thing (less so when it’s done for the purpose of recognition – which it very, very, very often is). If we’re not careful, the whole thing becomes soundbites and we say them by rote, don’t bother to listen and then we lose the meaning. So what is it, this kindness that we long for?**
There isn’t enough time or inclination in my life to harvest kindness is… quotes. Too many instagramaphone memes and homilies and motivational posters and inspirational quotes. Once more unto the dictionary, dear friends.
We cool with that?
Let us flip the concept over, because in my mumbled opinion,*** it simplifies matters.
“Do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Anything at all. It can be illegal, immoral, unethical, self-destructive… anything at all if it makes your life more worth living. There’s only one rule to follow to make that kind of blanket permission work: Don’t be mean.” – Kate Bornstein
If neither of those make sense to you idk … ask a stoner to explain it, they’ll probably use short words and lots of gestures. If, however, you’d prefer to feel stoned and make total nonsense of it, have a listen to the lovely yet incomprehensible Be Kind by Devendra Banhart.
“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
We aren’t thinking, we’re mostly just yapping and then deciding what is needed by people that we can feel superior to. Oh hello man in a dress, I shall save your donkeys while you starve and then I shall say well they just don’t appreciate it, they’re different to us. Or perhaps, why hello there homeless person, who I am graciously talking to despite the stench, no no no, alcohol bad, food good. No no no I shall not give you money, I shall save you from yourself. Please enjoy this lentil stew along with your delirium tremens. Oh for heaven’s sake, you’ll shake less if you eat decent food; try man, try! There really is no such thing as a free lentil.
I am the asshole/angel that hands smokes to people scrounging cigarette stompies and booze money to old vagrants in dusty, broken towns. If a dude needs cash and asks for it, it’s a request, not an opportunity to save the world and feel smug.
Of 83492011466 available quotes, I’ll leave you with Neil’s new year wishes, because he and it are lovely.
“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” ― Neil Gaiman
*didja see what I did there?
**I’ll dangle participles anywhere I damn well please.
**yet another bad, bad, bad pun. I blame the dog.