Really Why Should I Give A Damn?

About 4 minutes to read

A picture of little Aylan face down on the shore speaks more about the state of our humanity than a million, trillion words.

His parents were prepared to pay the price for a better life, in dollars that is, not with their lives.  They entered into an illegal transaction and 75% of a family dies, shattered dreams laying rumpled upon the shore.

They were unwanted, rejected, deemed unworthy, yet still they wanted more, still they hoped, wished for a better life, investigated leads, pursued all avenues.

Enter those that are literally making a killing through human trafficking.  The reports vary, some say the Kurdi family paid $4000 others say €10000, regardless of the sum, a transaction occurred and some middle man somewhere profited from the desperation and hopes of others.

What I want to know is why are we ignoring this greed?  Who is profiting?  We know the cost – we see it every day with people drowning at sea, shipwrecked humanity refused rescue, internment camps overflowing with masses of people.

Tally it up!  Hundreds of thousands have crossed a sea in a boat, they have paid for this transaction, where are the traffickers?

Perhaps as in other areas where there is blatant greed and profiteering at the expense of others, we look the other way; Illegal diamond mining, the drug trade, the illegal sex industry to name a few.  Oh yes this is all terrible and so distant from my life, and really why should I give a damn?

I ask you, do we not accept this rampant greed and profiteering each day in our lives?  We call it business, commerce, capitalism, getting ahead but who is paying the price?

Ultimately, we are.

You see, we are all interconnected, in some way we all form a part of the whole giant mass we call humanity.  We may look and behave differently but we all have one thing in common, our basic genome.

We may be interconnected and have a genome in common but perhaps we don’t give a damn because we are not connected to ourselves first.

My friend and colleague Anne Skinner is what I call a Serial Contributionist.  She lives and breathes contribution, and wants to make her world and the one around her a happier, more joyful place through contributing.

Through her, I am learning and remembering what it means to contribute.  You see contribution is actually about connection.  It is the connection we have first to ourselves, followed by the connection we form with others.  If you want to contribute to a person or a cause, a company or a sports team it is because you feel a connection, you do give a damn!  The more you nurture that connection, the more you want to connect, contribute, and create a positive difference in the world.

This is of course also true for Neo Nazi groups, organised crime, human traffickers etc.  They too feel a common connection to one another and the causes they espouse, thereby making effective contributions to their cause.

What does this have to do with greed and dead children you may ask?

In photographing Aylan’s lifeless body, the photographer Nilufer Demir said, “There was nothing to do except take his photograph … and that is exactly what I did.  I thought, ‘This is the only way I can express the scream of his silent body.'”

This was her contribution, she connected with what his lifeless body was screaming, and she used her voice – her camera.

You see, you and I might be safe, employed, well fed, and clothed.  We may “care” about social issues and find these things abhorrent but we may feel disempowered to make a change and contribute something to the world.

However, let us be honest, is this really true?  Are we truly disempowered or are we making excuses and turning a blind eye?

As we allow our governments their corrupt practices, to wage wars and fund terrorism covertly, turn back boats and intern people on the distant Christmas Islands to build walls (literally) between nations and regions we are contributing, albeit it mutely, to the progressive rot that is unfolding amongst us.

By not making our voices heard, by not giving a damn about ourselves, our families, neighbourhoods, colleagues, fellow citizens, and strangers we are contributing in a way that will not sustain happy fruitful lives for future generations.

What can I do you may ask?  Well Gandhi said it best with, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

This requires self-responsibility and actually doing something about yourself first.  The highest emotion we all have within us is LOVE.  So let us start by truly loving ourselves, accepting ourselves and from that place of wholeness start giving to one another.

Ultimately, the connection to and the contribution of love is the highest we can give to others and ourselves.  In his film The Shift, Wayne Dyer say, “Even after all this time the Sun never says to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’  Just think of what a love like this can do.  It lights up the whole world.”

I initially started this post with, “Lately I have been feeling so fucking enraged I could scream!  AAAARRRRGGGG!” however, I had to ask myself is this really going to help.  The answer is no.

What does help with all the woes I feel about myself and the world in which I live is to moment by moment make powerful choices founded in love that will keep me connected to Source and making a positive contribution in the world.

Perhaps this could work for you too, but ultimately it is your choice to really give a damn.

Picture credit: AFP Getty Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik

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Jean-Jacques de Korte - 4 years ago

Hi Angela, friend and fellow Pilgrim 🙂
Thank you for this great writing. I totaly get it, and will keep doing my best to be positive about myself, more carring, Loving. My first reaction to all this pain and death is, flight and retreat. I gave myself up quite some time ago now…so its so hard for me to see possibilitys and hope for the future. U make me understand that it’s not only about me..that the wrincles of my actions go further than i can see or do realise.
I realy would like to care again, to be proud and more confident about myself. That would realy help me to help others. I will read this a couple more times to let it get thru to me, understand it and eventualy make it my own is what i hope.

Thank you Angela
Big hug

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    Angela Barnard - 4 years ago

    Dearest JJ, Friend and fellow Pilgrim
    I know how it feels to feel overwhelmed by all we see and experience around us and yes, flight does seem easier sometimes.
    But JJ please never forget your immense worth and the wonderful contribution you make to the world.
    Sometimes the very things we suffer from or with in life, are the very things we need to help others with. So please my friend don’t hide your beautiful light away under a stone, let it shine! There is someone near you just waiting to receive that which is uniquely yours to give.
    Buen Camino my friend.
    The Way isn’t finished with us yet 🙂
    Angie

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