Saturday, January 12, 2008

Finding Our Humanity

On my computer, I have a file folder where I keep some of my favorite photographs. Some are in there because they are simply outstanding in their beauty, others are in there because of there uniqueness while others are there because they portray the many facets of man. It is the third reason that fascinates me the most.

None of these photographs were taken by me and, as a matter of fact, I do not know of the identity of any of the photographers and so I apologise for not giving proper credit. All I can say it that I take no credit for any of them.

Throughout the next few months, I shall be posting a few of the ones I found so very profound and will be telling you why I find them thus.


The focus of today's society appears to very "idolistic" in nature. We spend millions of dollars watching and following the Tom Hanks, Tom Cruises, Angelina Jolies and Elizabeth Taylors of the silver screen. We put down untold sums of money at the many basketball, football, soccer, baseball and hockey venues in order to see the Michael Jordans, the Terry Bradshaws, the David Beckhams, the Hank Aarons and the Wayne Gretzkys of our society. We pull out tons of cash for the many concerts that dot our landscape. We follow stars like they are gods in a society that often shuns who many religiously believe is the one true God. How ironic!

... But what about the unfortunate, the failures of our society, the poor, the homeless and the disabled... Who focuses on them?

What captured my interest about this photograph was not necessarily the man on crutches but the messages he was attempting to convey.

HUNGRY - How often do we forget what it feels like to be hungry and not know where our next meal will come from? Throughout the world, hundreds of millions of people go without enough food. How often do we fill our faces or throw out plates of food without even giving poverty a second thought?

PLEASE HELP - How often to we see someone in crisis, someone in pain or someone in need of basic amenities and yet we walk away pretending to not notice?

GOD BLESS YOU - How often to we just plain forget about how often we are blessed to have almost everything we not only need but also blessed with whatever we want? How often do we take this for granted while forgetting that many don't even have what they need and can only dream about what they want?

DON'T FORGET... HUG YOUR KIDS TODAY - How often do we forget the simple blessings that run around our houses and between our legs? We spend so much time with our jobs, our fun, our problems and our expenses that we forget why we have kids in the first place.

Thousand of cars fly by and many more people walk by individuals such as the gentleman in this photograph without even focusing on his troubles let alone focusing on the words scribbled on the cardboard hanging out of his mouth. We make excuses such as "we have things to do" or "we just don't have time" to justify our apathy towards the less unfortunate. We forget that this man is as important as any other human being on this planet and therefore we have a responsibility to focus of these individuals as well. Maybe if we focussed on at least what it is he is saying we would be a step ahead of the game.

Now I know that this is not as simple as I may be stating but if we all start focusing on humanity as a whole and less on the "upper crust" of humanity, history may one day view us as the humanitarians we so religiously believe we are!

... Just something to think about.


Portia said...

Something to think about indeed. It is simply amazing how much money is wrapped up in the entertainment industry. You bring up some wonderful points, things to be aware of and pass on for sure.
I hope you are having a good weekend!

alicesg said...

Your photo reminds me of a quote which I find very meaningful. Quote: "I complained that I had no shoes till I saw a man that had no feet." (Anyone know who is the author of the above quote?). We should be thankful and contended with what we have.

BBC said...

As a man that has spent a lot of time around the folks with cardboard signs and in soup lines observing people I can pretty much assure you that most of those people don't need the help.

They are just trying to take advantage of you. Most of those people are just bottom feeders that you already help support, they are just trying to get more out of you.

The folks that are in real need are not out there with signs.

I do not give money to vets with cardboard signs for example. Disabled vets get money and health care from the government, never mind what the media tells you about how lousy it is.

I'm not saying it is perfect but they do get enough to get by. They are out there with a cardboard sign hoping you will give them some money for their drug or booze habit.

But if you want to help feed it, feel free.

Sandy said...

This is a darn good post and very thought provoking. Just today I saw a kid being interviewed on TV who is like 13 maybe. He decided to get the laws changed in his state, about restaurants throwing away good food because of fear about lawsuits if they give the food to the hungry at the end of the day. We need more kids like him. The restaurant owners are afraid that if people get food poisoning they will sue them, so tons of good basically fresh food is dumped daily.


geewits said...

That's why I've been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 7 years now. It's just a drop in the bucket, but enough drops will fill the bucket.

Akelamalu said...

You made me think today - thankyou. x

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I see images like this everyday when I go out. There are men, women, children, mothers with babies, disabled people. It is easy to ignore them but it is so much harder to look them in the eye and accept they are there as much as I am.

That said, I am also aware that the people out there with the signs are out there because being there has proved to be lucrative for them. They may be down and out but this is how they choose to make their living. It is easier than doing a regular day's work - I know because I've had friends who've tried to help, to offer jobs - it's not what is wanted - likewise, giving food can result in having the food thrown back at you.

We live in a funny old world.

Gypsy said...

Sometimes we really want to help but the way the world is today makes it difficult at times, even dangerous. For example: I used to work in the city in the middle of the night in an office by myself. On the way there I had to pass the city parks and there I would see a lot of homeless people trying to keep warm in the bitterness of the cold winter nights.

I would have dearly loved to get them in the car and let them sleep in there or in the office while I worked but that would be very foolish from a safety point of view. It would have been such an easy thing to do and would have given them a few hours of respite but I would have been silly to compromise my own safety. Such is the world today that it makes it hard to do a good deed for someone less fortunate.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Good photo, great post and powerful points. Thank you for challenging us to examine ourselves. This is why I enjoy visiting your site.

Josie said...

Dave, great post! I also believe that charity begins at home. The Brad Pits and the Angelina Jolies are busy helping people on the other side of the globe, and the people in their own neighborhoods are forgotten.

The most important part of that fellow's sign is DON'T FORGET... HUG YOUR KIDS TODAY. How many childen would not end up like this, if only they were hugged more often?

Wanda said...

Oh Dave this is something to think about...but how much better if each of us would just do one or two things to help!!

I know there may be some truth in what bbc said...but we can't use that as an excuse not to reach out to the homeless, the sick, the needy.

Wonderful Post!

simonsays said...

I do try to help, and yet no matter how much I do, it's never, ever enough. There is so much pain, suffering and heartbreak in this world, that I have a hard time handling it, I want to make it all better for everyone...

Thank you for the great post Dave.

Ash said...

Beautiful and thought-provoking.

Thanks for visiting my blog. You have a great blog in here. And oh, I love Fleetwood Mac too :)

alexander said...

Beautiful photos!
This photo really touched my heart!

Alex's World! -

Jocelyn said...

These little nudges back to what's really important are always appreciated. YES, my friend. Yes.

K M F said...

nice post

abbagirl74 said...

Thank you for this post.

Margie said...

Wonderful post!
Thank you...thank you!

Very nice blog!


HelenMH said...

Very thought provoking. thankyou.

CS said...

Lovely meditation, thank you. It is good to be reminded.

Mother of Invention said...

I love the sign and notice that there is not even a pot for money in the picture that I can see, which would make the message all the more powerful.

Andre said...

Whoa! Amazing post. You should've added a disclaimer to this one:

"Warning: The following commentary will provide deep, reflective, powerful, yet potentially sorrowful observations that will likely cause the reader to examine their own life in a shameful manner..."

Though that warning might not be applicable to all, it certain was for me.

Nicely done!