My 4am fretting the other morning was about how little kindnesses keep us all human. I was half dreaming a quite disturbing state of mind where I had spiralled off the bottom of the ladder into the sort of dangerous mess that society would naturally shun. I was all over a bleak tangle of spikey shards, shattered and hopeless, and it felt like I would never recover until the day I died, shut off for ever from the warmth of other human contact. The only way this debased, dehumanised, abject condition could be ameliorated – so my thought process ensued – was the shaft of light brought by some small kindness shown by someone, anyone. Just a brief gesture of sympathy, of understanding, a touch, a smile, something unironic, a simple reaching out, even just for a moment. This kindness wouldn’t have saved me – not charity to place me back on the straight and narrow in a practical way. My imagined state of removal from normal life was too far gone for that. This was all I could hope for, and so given, I would be reminded that I am still human, that there is still something connecting me to some sort of salvation, or redemption – at least in my own mind.
Then in a lighter frame of mind (the dismal one only lasted an instant), I dwelled on little kindnesses, and how we may forget to act them for what ever reasons of busyness, embarassment, lack of courage, past rebuttals, ingrained selfishness, etc – and how easily they can be to do, and how rewarding they can feel. The sort of small acts that have no strings attached – you’re not trying to look good, score brownie points, manipulate somebody, and so on – almost an involuntary move to help somebody else. I optomistically believe that the human genetic makeup is wired for us to find the capacity for this, even seemingly out of nowhere, and that this doesn’t depend on the motivation of Christian or other faith either, but that our religions have grown out of what we already naturally are. That this goes awry in people is unfortunately true, but is that more likely of a non-believer as it is in a Christian? Discus (sic).