Love Thy Enemy

What would a society based on kindness look like?………

Jacob Holdt, Danish Vagabond and Photographer writes on the subject….. “It is easy to be kind to people who are kind to us, to people who radiate surplus energy and goodwill and to people whom we like.  But what would the world look like if we were to try being kind to our enemies, to people who have been deeply scarred or marginalised in their upbringing, to people we don’t like or who we have every reason to fear?

As a traveller, I have had a chance to try that out through my long-standing policy of saying yes to everyone I meet on my way – without exception.  To say “No” – to turn your back on even a single individual, is to participate in the systematic marginalisation of human beings.  Saying yes to people you meet can, on the face of it, resemble a kind of selfless generosity of a neighbor, like the good samaritan.  But the starting point is and should always be one’s own selfish interest:  you simply deny yourself invaluable adventures by saying no to people who challenge you.  You deny yourself, perhaps out of fear for your personal safety.  But these are the barriers that divide us.

Displaying kindness and openness toward the very people who directly challenge or frighten us is simply the best way to guarantee our own survival.  There is not a single person in the world you need to be afraid of.  (Cars you need to watch out for, but not people).  Early on in my travels, I began to free myself from a paralysing fear of “otherness”.  Since then it has been a true miracle to travel.  All the positive time I spent with the many inhabitants of ghettos has helped me to see the humanity behind the threat.

When you stop fearing others, the doors open up for you to a universe truly without borders.  To show people trust is to declare your love.  All people are starving for love and affection, even the most dangerous or threatening people who are held captive by a hunger for love.  If we are to create a world without crime and terrorism, we must embrace the anger behind it all, to try to be kind to the marginalised people of the world rather than further marginalising them with our unfounded fears of them.”

Found in book, ‘The Revolution of Kindness’, Edited by Anita Roddick.

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