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LJ Idol - Week [24] - Hurt for Help

It’s a little bit difficult to avoid all of the suffering, the worry, the fear, the anger, the senseless actions of humans making knee-jerk reactions to other humans that every web page, every news organization, every tweeter that wants a retweet is spewing right now. And Now. And again NOW.

It’s also difficult to negotiate the sidewalks of New York City without nearly crashing into someone so obsessed with their handheld device (I would call it a phone but who uses it for that purpose?) they can’t be bothered to watch where they’re walking. There is far more interest in things and less in other people than I have ever heard or read about in the history of humanity, not that we’re talking about a long time here.

In no particular order, a bunch of actresses had their private photos hacked and placed online. The legislative branch of government refuses to do much of anything. A group of people in the Middle East are seemingly on a quest to determine just how many journalists and kind souls they can decapitate. And everyone is worried they’re going to catch a disease that is extremely difficult to catch.

As disparate as these topics appear to be, there really is a common thread for all of them. It is a simple case of hurting someone when help should have been provided.

We, in the First World, as it is referred, have tended to ignore the plight of those in the Third World. Heck, we ignore people in our own country who are not of our standing, so why would we care at all about people thousands of miles away on a continent we probably won’t ever visit? Now, we’re learning why.

There is no “First World” and “Third World!” It’s all ONE world. The earth is a closed system. Everything is connected. And the horrific conditions in those countries with a dearth of wealth are so dramatically lower than our own, an epidemic of a deadly virus has sprung forth.

But think about it. If you set off a nuclear bomb, or release irradiated water from a damaged nuclear power plant, that stuff doesn’t fly off harmlessly into space. It gets released into the air, water and soil of the planet, and we breathe, drink and eat it. Some theorize this is why Cancer is so prevalent in certain areas of the world.

Bringing this back to our fellow humans in West Africa, what if we had been there to help these emerging countries with the technology they need to get their health care system up to standard, years ago? Maybe there would be no health crisis, today. But we didn’t. So now we are facing these issues, instead. Now we’re the ones asking for help and are facing the fear of hurt.

Similarly, our economic system tends to reward the rich for everything, while the poor must do more and more work just to tread water. Rather than make certain that everyone gets to a reasonable standard of living so that they won’t break their backs just to feed their families, we are more focused on punishing someone for stealing an item because they couldn’t afford to buy it, and more ready to throw them in jail for the trouble. We force people to make the choice between paying their rent or going to the supermarket on a monthly basis.

This isn’t improving over time.

Everything is connected. That means our oceans, our land, our atmosphere and yes, all people are all connected. How are we treating each other? How are we treating ourselves? Are we doing what makes us feel good at the expense of someone else? Are we ignoring someone else’s massive problem just so we can have some more pleasure? Are we polluting one part of the planet just because the people who live there have no voice or their government is getting a payday?

That dovetails into our fascination with those devices, the items that seem designed to lower our humanity even further.

When you’re more interested in texting a person who isn’t where you are than in talking to the people who are, you can’t say our humanity isn’t slipping just ever so slightly. And if you have to ask the person you’re with to put down their iPhone or Android, we’re definitely taking a step backward into the grade school classroom. How we behave, what laws we choose to uphold or ignore is something the rest of the world is watching.

And that leads to the issues of privacy and the celebrity photo hack. Maybe there’s no true expectation of anything that is posted through any online service remaining private forever. But maybe that shouldn’t matter. In the days when Lady Godiva protested her husband’s taxes on his tenants, she rode through the streets nude on horseback and people simply averted their eyes. But that was some 800 years ago.

Today, everyone is all about seeing everything. So, who really cares about privacy? Maybe we all should, when we see how the people who have had their private lives thrown wide open to the internet. This isn’t help, it’s hurt.

So where is the solution? How can we repair this four letter word to be what it should be? We all have to do it. We all have to be there for each other, just like the shore is there for the ocean. We have to think about what we would want, were we the victims in a circumstance. We have to take action to support those that need it, not punish them for a circumstance that caused them harm.

We all have to do this. Humanity is at a crossroads. Will we save ourselves or destroy everyone and everything on this planet? We know the answer, but when will we begin to take action?

We can’t wait much longer.


This thinkpost was created for LJ Idol using the prompt: “The Cupertino effect.”


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
So true. So damn true! AW
Oct. 13th, 2014 12:11 am (UTC)
I wish it wasn't. Thanks!
Oct. 10th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
You took a whole lot of disparate news events from the last week and made them into a coherent whole; I admire how well your thinkposts come together.

And I nearly ran into someone on a run yesterday who was so into their phone they weren't looking at where they were putting their feet.
Oct. 13th, 2014 12:17 am (UTC)
It happens at an alarmingly regular pace in NYC. I don't understand how people imagine that walking and looking at their phones isn't dangerous! It's quite amazing.

Thanks for reading and commenting!!
Oct. 11th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
You know, I use my handheld device as a phone so seldom I've had this thing for years and I have no idea what my voicemail password is.
Oct. 13th, 2014 12:22 am (UTC)
I know, right? The only people who call me on a regular basis are telemarketers. And I didn't give my number out to very many! But yeah...

Thanks for reading and your comment!
Oct. 12th, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
i agree with this so much (and it was beautifully written imo :3)
Oct. 13th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Thank you for a wonderful compliment!
Oct. 12th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything in this. (Also, people nearly walking into me because they're fiddling with their phones is a pet peeve of mine).
Oct. 13th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
It's become standard practice around here. I've had to wave at people to make certain they weren't about to walk directly into me!

Thanks for your read and comment.
Oct. 13th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC)
You and my hubs would get along very well. He's taken to calling everyone Earthlings. The Native Peoples could tell us how to live interconnected with the Mother. The 'Civilized' ignore them for paper riches. (Sigh)

Thanks for penning. :)
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for your read. You'll have to keep me posted about where the "earthlings" thing takes your husband.
Oct. 13th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
Love this line: There is no “First World” and “Third World!” It’s all ONE world.

I wish more people thought that way!
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
It's the only way to get things on track! Thanks, as always.
Oct. 13th, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
It is a shame the so called civilized world did not do more to help those in West Africa, well for that matter Africa in general. The world would be in a much better place today.
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
I'm hoping this is a wake up call... it would mean that all of the thousands of people who died in this outbreak won't have done so in vain. Thanks for these thoughts.
Oct. 13th, 2014 11:31 am (UTC)
Quite relevant in today's time..and works well with the prompt as well..Well written!
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
I appreciate this. Thank you.
Oct. 13th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
We have to think about what we would want, were we the victims in a circumstance.
One of the simplest and most effective methods of being a human being, and yet we so often fail it because we simply don't care until the victim is _us_. :(

When you’re more interested in texting a person who isn’t where you are than in talking to the people who are, you can’t say our humanity isn’t slipping just ever so slightly.
This is part of what worries me, with young adults and kids. The everpresent lure of "online all-the-time" has caused people to tune out the actual world around them. We routinely see young parents walking their babies/kids in strollers, and talking on their phones. The message their child will eventually absorb is that they're not interesting enough to be worthwhile--and this most likely will be spelled with helicopter parentings, so it will be too much or too little, all the time. That tends to make kids neurotic. :(

Oct. 21st, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
You are absolutely right, and it is a powerful message that kids get immediately. It's a little frightening in that way because it will shape the personalities of those kids in ways we probably can't understand yet, but maybe know will lead to bad things.

People need to connect with people, at some point! We are headed for some very unique parenting styles, it seems. Thanks for your thoughts!
Oct. 14th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
I think the "global picture" is what the attraction for so many is to scifi. Not meaning to be off-topic, and not intending to trivialize the reality we live in, of course... just thinking we could all maybe stand to learn a little from some of the great idealist writers, and try to work towards an impossible utopia, rather than allowing our actions to hurtle us towards a real life dystopia. Perfection may be impossible, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still strive for it. We just need a lot more minds willing to.
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
It seems the people who are "creating" the problem are doing it mostly because it benefits them, monetarily. If there were no profit in oppression, it would likely fade away. And that's the thing. Though there is profit in it, there's probably more profit in developing everyone to be successful. It's just that the profit in that case would likely go to other people. And the people in power just couldn't have that.

Thanks for making this into more of what my thinkposts are like with your great comments.
Oct. 14th, 2014 02:09 am (UTC)
An excellent essay. halfshellvenus and I have talked about these issues many times, so I will co-opt her comment.
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:36 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Oct. 14th, 2014 08:24 am (UTC)
You bring up so many valid points, I don't really know where to begin. I do know that when I first heard about ebola in the 1990s, I was horrified for those who were afflicted by it. Yet in the years between then and today, not a thing was done to update the health system, or teach people about how to avoid catching ebola.

Humanity is definitely at a crossroads. Hopefully, we will move forward in a positive manner. I worry we won't.

Sorry for the long winded comment. Well done with your piece.
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
I love this sort of comment to a thinkpost, so you never have to apologize, no matter the length!

Ultimately, we have to come to grips with some very basic truths. The planet is a closed system. Humans are all about the same, despite the outward appearances and inward beliefs. We need to help each other at all times or we will surely destroy everyone, eventually.

Until we are fully ready to face these truths, we will continue to suffer with issues like ebola, like starvation, like war and fear. I hope that we can push through and make those connections because we all need everybody, and we will lose a lot if we continue on the current path.

Thanks very much for your comments!
Oct. 14th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
Excellent points. I enjoyed this thoroughly.
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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