I have always looked up to people who I feel are generous, people who are interested in other people, who are helpful and good listeners. This people seem to have the purpose in life to contribute more than they take back. This is inherent in some people whereas for others, myself included, this is an effort that often requires a lot of concentration and work. It is also very noteworthy about this good and decent people that they are very often female. The reason for this is undoubtedly both biological and cultural. I am not at all generalizing about all women being like this or all men being like that. There is a small man and small woman in all of us, different amount of hormones.
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The idea behind this approach is not without foundation, it is based on a certain philosophy, the belief that we, as human beings, are not just separate and self-contained entities, but also, and even much rather, just different manifestations of the same body. We are all connected. There is but one human being, and we are copies of it. It is our duty, or purpose, to assume responsibility for this copy on our mutual way into the future. And with responsibility comes certain compassion for others. What we experience ourselves forms our attitude to others.
Pointless to judge others
I have for the most part of my life tried to live by this. It has often been difficult and frustrating, but also nourishing. I have tried to be responsible. I don’t allow myself to be a victim or a burden to others. If I don’t have anything constructive, intelligent or fun to say, I try to keep quiet. I try to keep people around me informed about my condition each time. I don’t say everything is OK if it isn’t. I don’t pretend to know what I don’t know. And I don’t pretend to manage situations that I cannot cope with, to keep some kind of supposed composure or a false image. I try to repay the good with good, and I also try to repay the bad with good to strengthen the good.
When you realize that all people are part of the same whole, and in effect all in the same body, your attitude to life changes too. Instead of dissolution we get union and solidarity. Competition does not really exist because we are all striving for the same thing, just with different methods. Our core values are the same. And then other people’s errors and blunders become more understandable and acceptable. It becomes pointless to judge others. People stop irritating you and you have no enemies, because when you love yourself, you love others because everybody else is part of yourself. And you learn to forgive, so other people don’t have unnecessary control over your life and your state of mind.
We dance in step
There are people who do not agree with this view of life. Some choose to storm through life and seize whatever they want, when they want it, with no regard for others. Many even think it is all right to use, and even abuse, other people in order to reach their selfish goals. People even use violence. This may at first sight seem like a good approach. But in my experience this is just a quick solution and a very bad one in the long run. The hard always breaks in the end, because it cannot bend. But, then again, there are many approaches in between.
I don’t know what to call this method of mine. This is some kind of a Taoist humanism based on my research and experience. But it works well. It is really more blessed to give than to receive. If I buy a new smartphone, it gives me certain satisfaction for some time. If, however, I choose to give it to somebody else, the good feeling becomes thousand fold better and I am really serving myself better than by buying a new phone for myself. The same applies to attention and time. This is a certain mystery that has to do with the invisible laws of the universe. The universe has rhythm and we dance in step whether we like it or not. When we realize this and accept it, not only does life become simpler but also much more delightful.
For a long time I have been an advocate for Reykjavík and all of Iceland taking more initiative when it comes to those so called matters of peace.