A PLACE FOR ME TO FIGURE IT OUT.
An Early Morning Revelation...
In our society, importance and emphasis are placed on grand gestures and large actions. Theses are seen as a viable way to measure the constitution of one’s character. I say this is misguided. A politician may pass a law that favors the greater good of the people, even greater than that of their own constituents, but behind closed doors he abuses his family and is an alcoholic who seemingly only finds pleasure in the arms of a woman who is not his wife. They will argue that he did a great service for his country, when in actuality he is a coward, a thief, and a liar.
I believe that the small, intricate details of ones life are what define a character. Especially those actions that are on the surface and seemingly benign and useless, but really are infected with a simple kindness. Holding the door for someone, for example, seems of little to no consequence, but it can infect you, that person, and even those in the vicinity who noticed, with smiles and thanks. Even if just for a moment, that point in the universe was a more positive place. Perhaps this is where the idea of ‘proper society’ came from, although that was quickly diluted with greed, lust, and contempt. Still, the thought of a world where everyone was at least kind to each other in small acts is a pleasing one; even if we still hated each others guts, there would be an air of mutual respect and validation for each being.
Small actions: the way you interact with people in your day-to-day life (strangers and familiars), how you care for your environment, how you care for yourself, etc. These are the things that truly dictate the ways in which society moves forward. The grand gestures are simply thoughts or ideas up-scaled so that everyone can see them, but have no more substance without accommodating action. When the Union gave the Native Americans land reservations, it did not change the fact that all we have was stolen from them, it did not end their suffering. When the Union forced the Confederacy to rejoin the nation, it did not end slavery, or Jim Crow, or lynching. When we passed the Civil Rights Acts, racism did not cease or desist. When our legislatures gave women the right to vote it did not end the double-standard or misogyny. One grand gesture does not make-up for thousands of smaller misgivings, those little details of life. It can help to move things in the right direction, or not. The details are the most important aspects of life. The fine print on a document can affect the most authority and the most change.
It is in small ways that we can affect change in others as well, for we are, all of us, naturally resistant to making huge changes in our lives. The next time you feel as if your life is meaningless, or makes no difference, smile at that stranger on the subway, help the old lady carry her groceries home, act in small ways from the kindness within your heart. It can do wonders for the soul. Worry only about the things you can control, instead of the things you have no grasp on. This is how we, as individuals, can affect change for the greater society. We can infect the world with our small acts of simple kindness.