We have become complacent. And in error, we desire to be content, above all else.
In my early twenties, I had come to the conclusion that judgment was indeed something to be avoided, at least consciously, in so much that I had no right to compare my losses to those of others; no right to judge my experiences as better or as worse. By extension, I had no right to offer advice either directly or narrowly, for to do so required a judgment of what was best for someone else. Such judgments once seemed reckless, for who was I? Whether it was complacency per se, I am not quite sure. But despite its original intentions of respect and acceptance (as well as a recognition of the natural variability of human experience and perspective), my commitment to all suggestions absent of shoulds and should-nots has at times resembled more of an easy way out. There is no risk in highlighting options; no potential harm in the suggestion that all choices made are the correct ones – so long as you go with your gut, or follow your heart. Mere passing instincts, wrapped in poetry. Accountability and responsibility have been removed, or perhaps avoided.
It’s as if we’ve given up on one other. We have turned our relationships into meaningless binaries of human interaction in which neither person is entirely forthright; or dare I say it, in which no one is relentlessly and selflessly protective of another, or of the right thing, or of anything. We have become cheap counsellors of sorts – therapists whose trepidation of malpractice prevents us from offering actual advice. We want to sound enlightened but fear being labelled otherwise, even for a moment. We fear being doubted, or questioned, or belittled by incorrectness (we shun the mere possibility of it). We are onlookers of the homeless and the helpless, and the frightened, forever bound by our insecurities.
But what good are we to one other? What good are we if all we do is highlight options, recommend sound decision-making practices, and suggest purpose in all possibilities? What has happened to real advice? What has happened to wisdom?
We have all lived, and we have all had experiences worth sharing. Should one decide not to impose those experiences upon a friend or a colleague does those experiences a mad injustice. And even if we are unable to endow our experiences with any true value (a sad state, most certainly), we still have morals to share. We have values, and beliefs, and insights…don’t we?
We have become complacent to the happenings of our fellow people. Our standards have been abandoned. Our morals and ethics have been diluted and nearly washed away. But it can’t stand for long, because it’s not good enough. You aren’t good enough. None of us is doing the best that we can. When was the last time you did something because it was the right thing? When was the last time you sacrificed your own needs, turned your back on ego? When was the last time you fought for what you believed in, defended your life lessons, or shared your wisdom? When was the last time you acted – no, felt – wise?
It’s time to human up. It’s time to put aside ego and be accountable to one another again. It’s time to think about things like honour, respect, and justice. It’s time to think about loyalty and trust. Maybe it’s even time to think about charity. It’s time to be an idealist, for without our ideals we are something less than human; surely, we are something less than decent. It’s time to get really bothered, and it’s time we started bothering one another. It’s time to be worth something again.