a-z challenge: k

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies- God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

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It has all been said before. Religions, philosophies, hippies, peace movements, your grandma – everyone and their pet dove whispering and shouting and singing and chanting and writing about it.

Kindness.

“This world has a serious shortage of both logic and kindness.” – Haruki Murakami

Is that true, or simply an author’s subjective observation? How are we measuring kindness? We point at wars and crimes and we grumble, but we don’t even attempt a comparison with all the shining good in the world. Still, another helping can’t hurt.*

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James

No argument there; kindness is a lovely thing (less so when it’s done for the purpose of recognition – which it very, very, very often is). If we’re not careful, the whole thing becomes soundbites and we say them by rote, don’t bother to listen and then we lose the meaning. So what is it, this kindness that we long for?**

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There isn’t enough time or inclination in my life to harvest kindness is… quotes. Too many instagramaphone memes and homilies and motivational posters and inspirational quotes. Once more unto the dictionary, dear friends.

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We cool with that?

Let us flip the concept over, because in my mumbled opinion,*** it simplifies matters.

“Do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Anything at all. It can be illegal, immoral, unethical, self-destructive… anything at all if it makes your life more worth living. There’s only one rule to follow to make that kind of blanket permission work: Don’t be mean.” – Kate Bornstein

If neither of those make sense to you idk … ask a stoner to explain it, they’ll probably use short words and lots of gestures. If, however, you’d prefer to feel stoned and make total nonsense of it, have a listen to the lovely yet incomprehensible  Be Kind by Devendra Banhart.

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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We aren’t thinking, we’re mostly just yapping and then deciding what is needed by people that we can feel superior to. Oh hello man in a dress, I shall save your donkeys while you starve and then I shall say well they just don’t appreciate it, they’re different to us. Or perhaps,  why hello there homeless person, who I am graciously talking to despite the stench, no no no, alcohol bad, food good. No no no I shall not give you money, I shall save you from yourself. Please enjoy this lentil stew along with your delirium tremens. Oh for heaven’s sake, you’ll shake less if you eat decent food; try man, try! There really is no such thing as a free lentil.

I am the asshole/angel that hands smokes to people scrounging cigarette stompies and booze money to old vagrants in dusty, broken towns. If a dude needs cash and asks for it, it’s a request, not an opportunity to save the world and feel smug.

Of 83492011466 available quotes, I’ll leave you with Neil’s new year wishes, because he and it are lovely.

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” ― Neil Gaiman

*didja see what I did there?
**I’ll dangle participles anywhere I damn well please.
**yet another bad, bad, bad pun. I blame the dog.

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Published by

blahpolar

battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

22 thoughts on “a-z challenge: k”

  1. Lots to think about here. When I think about my own capacity to truly show kindness to those I encounter (and feel it toward myself) I seem to come up short so many times. I love the Henry James quote; I will have to make special note of that one. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I frequently see myself as unkind, though in general I’m perceived as being very kind. I think it’s so much more than actions, you know? I can feel a major difference between doing something kind without much thought at all, and thoughts of ohhhh maaan do I really have to. ….

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Amen to that.
    And my friend has been trying to get me to listen to Devendra Banhart for years. He is funny, but harmless :) And mumbled opinion is just genius, don’t blame the dog :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Devendra is funny and harmless? And very sweet – the lyrics of Be Kind make me laugh and what an earworm … I first heard that song whenever the album it’s on came out and have never forgotten it. Ruthlessly relentless folk music lol.

      And thanks very much :)

      Like

  3. K stands for Kbailey, natch.

    I believe one of those memes which says Kindness is what you do when the person is in no position to give back to you, or something like that. Kinda like the smokes you mentioned … Kindness is when you don’t know if the favor will ever be paid forward and you don’t care. Kindness is just compassion turned outward. I have been the recipient of more kindnesses than I could ever hope to give. YOU are kind.

    xo

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think kindness is multi-dimensional – like humans. Can kindness be a pristine or discrete emotion, state of being, action? Often it’s tangled with so much other stuff. I don’t think it’s always obvious why one is kind to another. Sometimes it’s puzzling. When one doesn’t have to think too much about it – spontaneous kindness – I think that’s the best kind.
    Love this post btw.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess there are no discrete emotions? I guess it’s all puzzling too. Thanks very much – my brain has turned to room temp ice cream again, or I’d be able to attempt a decent reply :) *staggers off to shop for a new brain*

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha..you don’t need a new brain ;) My point is that, maybe it’s my own assumption, kindness is seen as a uniform experience for people. When people talk about it or write about it, it’s done in a linear way. When DL talks about it does he mention “right kindness”. I dunno. Communication is complicated. Lots and lots of words to say I feel like Kindness is not a pretty fluffy thing like Little Bo Peep. There’ more to it. Did your room temp ice cream brain get that? If not, it’s ok. Just felt compelled to put in my 2c ;)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. What’s right kindness? I agree about kindness not being fluffy etc – I think it’s fairly muscular (or should be).

          I thought this was interesting:

          “Generally speaking, in the Buddhist tradition, compassion and loving kindness are seen as two sides of same thing. Compassion is said to be the empathetic wish that aspires to see the object of compassion, the sentient being, free from suffering. Loving kindness is the aspiration that wishes happiness upon others.”

          http://www.dalailama.com/teachings/training-the-mind/verse-2

          I’m not a Buddhist, but sometimes it feels like the kindest philosophy.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. It does feel like the kindest philosophy; the most comforting. Problem is it’s hard work – developing the kindness muscles. And the ugly emotions – the Arnold Schwarzenegger ones – overpower the kind ones and have “illegitimate” children.

            Loving Kindess is work; especially to one’s self :-)

            Liked by 2 people

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