"Looking at humans, as a naturalist would at any other mamiferous animal, it may be concluded that they have parental, conjugal and social instincts…these instincts consist of a feeling of love and benevolence to the object in question…such active sympathy that the individual forgets themself, and aids and defends and acts for others at their own expense. " – Charles Darwin
This contrasts with the popular view that Darwin's focus was our competitiveness, ruthlessness, and selfishness.
I was reminded of the contrast between what he believed and what others declared he believed ( "survival of the fittest" was not his quote but that of his contemporary Herbert Spencer) while attending the 11th annual World Kindness Concert as a guest of Peace Begins With Me author Ted Kuntz. The concert is a project of the Kindness Foundation, its President Lidia Kemeny, one of Canada's most evolved philanthropists and co-founder Brock Tulley, himself a force of nature's kindness.
The concert kicked off World Kindness Week, November 7th to 13th.
The purpose of World Kindness Week is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realize we are citizens of the world.
As world citizens, we have a commonality and must realize that if progress is to be made in human endeavors – if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence – we must focus on what we have in common.
The basic principle of kindness is in joining – in acknowledging that we have a connection with every living thing on this planet.
Echoes of Darwin for sure. More importantly a reflection of the principles that guide most of our lives and behavior. Principles that are overshadowed by the mainstream media's incessant focus on our worst behavior. Or the skeptics assertion that altruism is based on selfish, quid pro quo behaviour. Kindness week is a good time to reflect on our best.
The dove lives in us as surely as the wolf or the serpent. We see the kindness of strangers every day in the Personal Networks nurtured at PLAN and Tyze. I'm sure I speak for Ted, Brock, Lidia and perhaps Charles, being a friend is a kindness most cherished. I know William Blake agrees.
The bird a nest; the spider a web. Humans, friendship.