Thursday, February 26, 2009

These eyes

Picture this: you are running towards the elevator; you make eye contact with a guy standing in it; you notice the doors are closing; your eyes plead for some form of intervention but you realize that *guy* is not and will not be making any effort to hold the elevator... Finally, by the time you get there, the elevator and *guy* are gone!

Beyond the frustration one feels, one wonders why *guy* didn't do anything to help. After all, the eye contact should have created some sort of communion. But, instead of compassion, sympathy and desire to help, all one was able to read in *guy*'s eyes is pure emptiness.

In this situation, I usually first tell myself that *guy* possibly didn't notice me; that his mind was elsewhere. Then, as I wait for the next elevator, I grow angry and plan my revenge... Ultimately though, I let it go and move on but still I wonder, why...

These eyes that were looking at me, why did they not tell *guy* to react? Is it laziness, selfishness, lack of empathy? I think it's just the way we all are now; a sign of the times... We live in a world of WIIFMs (what's in it for me) and, obviously, *guy* could see no benefit to him in holding the elevator for me so, why bother. After all, the question is there isn't it: why bother? Why do something for someone else when there is nothing to be expected in return? Some will say that it is because people don't believe in God anymore or some other similar esoteric explanation. I would venture to say that religion and beliefs have little to do with this: there are good and bad believers and non-believers... Maybe WIIFM is just an old character trait from our survival of the fittest days... Maybe WIIFM is what happens when a society equates success to accumulation of wealth by any means necessary and not to kindness, self-sacrifice and empathy.

So, I solemnly swear to perform a minimum of one act of kindness per day... just not for *guy*...

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