Kindness, Activism, Ego, and Social Skills
“The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
Kindness, Activism, Ego, and Social Skills
By Mickey Z. / worldnewstrust.com

Every now and then, we get a reminder of just how far we have to go… of just how much work lies ahead of us. I recently had such a moment when, while perusing a fitness journal, I came across some research being done at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE)

The first reality check was that we need a “center” to focus on compassion and altruism. From there, I read about work being done by two M.D.’s, Lloyd Dean and James Doty, which showed that “when patients are treated with kindness -- when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them and respond to their needs” -- it can lead to the following outcomes:

  • faster healing of wounds
  • reduced pain
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced blood pressure
  • shorter hospital stays

 

Dean and Doty also found that the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who provide the kind treatment benefit as well. “A kinder work environment helps employees feel more engaged and less exhausted, which is incredibly important to caregivers who often work long and unpredictable hours in high-pressure jobs,” they explain.

This is usually the cue for someone (like me) to rant on the myriad factors (from capitalism to religion to technology and beyond) behind a culture so warped that the value of fundamental social skills is breaking news. Next, I’d smoothly segue into a plea for more activism. After all, who better than activists to lead the way when it comes to empathy and compassion and altruism and the all-important community?

Right?

(insert sad trombone here)

Predators in our midst
As I recently wrote, the issues and factors that splinter communities in the general population -- privilege, propaganda, ego, fear, and so on -- very much exist within the activist world. Radical circles are infested with humans ready to pontificate about justice in the abstract but unready to occupy even the most rudimentary of social skills. This alleged community is devoid of manners, sensitivity, even eye contact. But hey, why bother with basic niceties when there are Instagram likes to be counted?

Thanks to social media and smart phones, our every radical move is being documented in real time and damn, it’s intoxicating. A whole new breed of virtual hero has been spawned -- measured by Facebook shares, Twitter re-tweets, and donation page tallies.

This ego-fueled climate has turned the status of “activist” into the upper rung of yet another human hierarchy. If you need a reminder of how smoothly those on the top justify their actions based on their dominant position, please contemplate the endless examples of devious and despicable sexual predators -- and their enablers and apologists -- in our midst.

If you also need a reminder of how all this dysfunction kills any chance of social change, take a good, honest look around. While we bask in the glow of our “fans” regularly tuning in to our livestreams or sharing our photos or quoting our statuses, every form of life on earth is under assault with no hint of imminent reversal.

Let’s re-cap
We dwell within a culture so distorted and twisted it requires a study to recognize that compassion, altruism, empathy, and communication might be good ideas.

Within this same culture, those we look to as defenders of justice -- activists -- are choosing ego over solidarity and thus replicating the paradigm they claim to be challenging.

What can we do about this in the face of looming ecocide? As I also recently wrote, a good start is accepting that we’ve gotten it all wrong. For activists, this means admitting that the tactics and methods we so passionately cling to and defend don’t work and some have never worked.

How do we discover and implement new tactics and methods? 

Perhaps we go back to basics like, um… compassion, altruism, empathy, and communication. 

Perhaps we learn to listen to and heed the voices most often drowned out by the din of privilege. 

Perhaps we do the work to cultivate authenthic communities in which everyone is held accountable for their behavior. 

Perhaps we start refining and honing our own face-to-face social skills.

Perhaps we challenge ourselves to make eye contact… 

Any other ideas?

***

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

©WorldNewsTrust.comCreative Commons License

3.8 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied
Nika Knight · 14,738 views today · 'For the first time in Native American history, they heard our voices.'
All the News Is Fake!
3 min · 9,838 views today · Jonathan Pie finds nothing new in the idea of fake news.
How Romanticism Ruined Love
5 min · 8,508 views today · The set of ideas we can call Romanticism is responsible for making our relationships extremely difficult. We shouldn’t give up on love; we should just recognize that it’s more...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 5,835 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
After Historic Protests, Army Corps of Engineers Blocks Current Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline
3 min · 3,012 views today · The $4 billion dollar project could still be approved by President-elect Donald Trump who is heavily invested in the pipeline. Help support The Real News by making a donation...
The Numbers That Tell the Story of the Standing Rock Sioux's Victory
Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn · 2,529 views today · The Army Corps announced Sunday that the Dakota Access pipeline will be rerouted. Here are the numbers that show what lies ahead.
Post-Brexit Visions of The Possible: It's Time to Imagine a New European Community
Martin Winiecki · 2,339 views today · We live in the beginning phase of a global revolution which will turn societal conditions upside down. We cannot stop this transformation, but we can influence where it will...
Bikini Was Just the Beginning, Bombs Still Threaten the Islanders
John Pilger · 2,281 views today · I was recently in the Marshall Islands, which lie in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, north of Australia and south of Hawaii. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they...
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 2,193 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Lifting the Veil:  Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy (2011)
114 min · 1,967 views today · This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the "graveyard of social movements", the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd...
This is an Anthem for Our Times
6 min · 1,853 views today · I think the world deserves to see the truth about #NoDAPL I tried my best to portray what I felt at camp, I felt LOVE. Love for all people, all living things, Mother Earth...
United Natures: a United Nations of all Species (2013)
103 min · 1,824 views today · United Natures explores the Rights of Mother Earth, Environmental Philosophy, Wisdom, Spirituality and the potential for a Neo-indigenous future for humanity. Directed and...
10 Practical Tools for Building a Resilient Local Economy
Environmental Change Makers · 1,348 views today · The economy is changing. Dramatically. Coping with these changes means changing the way we do things. The path of the future involves root level, radical changes. Things we...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,341 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Venus Project by Jacque Fresco
4 min · 1,228 views today · For more information visit the official web site: thevenusproject.com Facebook: facebook.com/TheVenusProjectGlobal Music: Salomon Ligthelm - Close Horizonz Hanz Zimmer ...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 1,128 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 897 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited 'Fake News' Blacklist?
Adam Johnson · 804 views today · The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million...
Austrialian Government Promotes Crap with Adani Carmichael Coal Mine
2 min · 718 views today · The Australian Government just released this advert about the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and it's surprisingly honest and informative. 6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP CCRAP: 1...
The Fight for Clean Water (#NoDAPL)
2 min · 635 views today · Clean water or Corporate profits? What’s more important? #NoDAPL Energy Transfer Partners: (214) 981-0700 U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers: (202) 761-0010; (202)...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Kindness, Activism, Ego, and Social Skills