Saturday, July 16, 2016

The cruelty of people

Sometimes the actions of people can be very cruel. There is of course the obvious cruelty, like the unfathomable cruelty of someone who is able to get into a truck and mercilessly plunge into other people. Similar cruelty seems to be heightened nowadays. People cruelly murder, rape and abuse others without remorse. I am so often reminded of words that were told to me many years ago; “Human beings have the ability to be higher than the angels and lower than animals”. I will never forget these words, but it’s tragic that these days more often I can see how human beings are giving in to our ability to be lower than the animals.

We would like to believe that we are good people, we hide our cruelty in the wake of these bigger actions of cruelty, and while this may be human nature, it hinders us from improving ourselves. When we are not able to recognize the cruelty in ourselves, how will we ever be able to change it?

I came across an example of how we tend to be so cruel towards others without even considering what we are doing, or the effects of our actions. My example is simple, it may seem insignificant in the grander scheme of world events, but I cannot change world events, I can only change myself.

While browsing the internet I saw a link to an article about how some celebrities have become “monsters” with time. Of course the article was referring to the physical appearance of the chosen celebrities and how they have transformed from “beauties” to “monsters”. The list included men and women, (I can’t be happy that it’s not only women who are subjected to this kind of scrutiny when such scrutiny in itself is horrible), but nonetheless, the list included men as well, which is a change in the pressure that is usually placed on women to look attractive.

Back to the point, I initially looked at these images and had common thoughts like, wow, what has happened to these people… Then I started feeling bad. Firstly, these are human beings, and we can put forth the usual arguments such as they asked for the attention and what not, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is really cruel to be making fun of how people’s appearance have changed over the years. Secondly, who even knows if the pictures we see are real. Thirdly, why on earth does it matter! 

This sort of obsession with looks and appearance, the pressure put on all people to be physically attractive, the teasing and mocking of those who don’t meet societies standards of beauty, all of this is extremely cruel, is it not? Yet most of us would like to believe that we are not cruel.

So I had an internal reprimand to myself, how dare I look at these images and wonder things like what happened to these people? So what if their appearance has changed? Doesn’t that happen to all of us as we get older? How would I feel if people started making fun of the way I look?

Like I said, this may seem like something so insignificant. Indeed, in the wake of attacks on human life, of attempted military coups, of displaced refugees and continuous wars, of lives being lost in masses, in the wake of murder and rape and abuse and torture, how does something like this even matter?

But it does!

Because if we allow ourselves to be cruel, no matter how minimal that cruelty may be, then our levels of cruelty just increase, and before we know it the unfathomable becomes fathomable. So we need to recognise the cruelty in ourselves, and we need to stop it and change it now, because seriously, the world does not need any more cruelty! 

Image 1 from here

Image 2 from here