People are more important than things, than religion, than politics, than any ideology

A little while ago I wrote a post People Are More Important Than Things

Since that post I have done some thinking and it strikes me that there is a whole area of stuff that I am attached to, you are attached to, we are attached to and it is not things.  What is that stuff?  Ideology, here is the definition:

ideology refers to habits of mind – beliefs, assumptions, expectations etc – which are placed upon the world in order to give it structure and meaning and which then serve to direct our social and political activities.

This week I read an article on the Guardian:  Repeal Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law and asked myself what is it about us that we place so little value on flesh and blood like us – our fellow human beings – and so much faith in the intangible.  So much that we are willing to kill people if they utter the wrong words. Is our faith so little that as soon as someone questions our beliefs, our practices then seek to silence them, to belittle them, even to kill them.

Or take this post at the Adaptive Path blog: The Pernicious Effects of Advertising and Marketing Agencies Trying to Deliver User Experience Design.  What is particularly noteworthy is the 87 comments or so that this post has generated.  How interesting that so many of them are either attack or defend the point of view that has been put forward.  It is particularly interesting to see the response of the people who feel they have been attacked – they attack back.  Yet, if you read the article, the author is not attacking any specific person.  He is pointing out the system structure that drives specific sets of behaviour.  And it is clear that he disagrees with that behaviour.

What a wonderful world we can create together if we all made the following rule, the primary rule, the golden rule:  Life (people, animals, plants) is more important than things, religions, politics, caste-systems or any other ideologies. Lets cherish each other: lets see, create and bring into being the best in each other.  Please watch this from 4 minute video where  Viktor Frankl (a concentration camp survivor) shares his view of man.  Please listen and really hear what he says!

“If we take man as he really is then we make him worse.
If we overestimate him……overrate man, then we promote him to what he really can be.
So we have to be optimists idealists in way so we wind up as the true realists”

This post is directly aimed at you, my friend, Maz Iqbal!

Each one is doing the best that he/she can at every possible moment

In ordinary – taken for granted every day living – we assume that each of us is in charge of our lives: what I think, what I say, what I do, what I do not say, what I do not do…

In ordinary living we tend to be light on ourselves and heavy on others.  We judge our behaviour and the outcomes we generate by our intentions.  Yet we do not give others the same benefit: we judge them solely by the outcomes they generate.  We let ourselves off the hook and cast stones at others – through our thinking, through our words and through our actions.

Some of us do not differentiate: we are equally harsh on ourselves as we are on others. Some of us are masters of another game: condemning, criticising, blaming others and later spending time feeling guilty and being withdrawn: our loved ones pay the price twice – first when we criticise them and attach their human dignity and second when we withdraw from them rather than put balm on their wounds – the wounds we inflicted.

Over the last few weeks, here and there I have been  at my worst.  I verbally attacked one of my sons and later forgive myself as I was not feeling well. Yet, I have not rested as I know that there is no excuse for what I did.  I did what I did because I was imposing my view of the world on the situation at hand and my son’s role in that situation.  He just wasn’t playing the role that I expected him to play.  And he was wasting my time.  There it is: my time is valuable and how dare he waste my time!

The ExtraOrdinary path is right here in front of me, of you, of us.  It simply involves changing our worldview, living into the following:

  • Each of us is being run 24/7 by our operating system – the operating system that we have inherited through our genes, our culture, our environment, our upbringing;
  • Each of us is doing the best that it is capable of doing at every moment;
  • Each of us  is best able to develop and modify the operating system that runs us through mindfulness (meditation, time out, reflection) and through connection with our fellow human beings;
  • Our fellow human beings can best help us to upgrade our operating system by being strictly gentle with us – consistently sharing with us in a gentle manner the impact of our actions on their lives