We all want to be safe. We’re busy. We see something scary or confusing & go on our way.
Above: Protesting Apathy, via Reddit.
When my mom was young, she was mugged in plain sight in NYC. She was beautiful and naive and vulnerable and she screamed and screamed. No one came out to help her. There’s a similar, infamous story about a woman getting murdered or raped under similar circumstances. My mom’s story had a happier ending…she pleaded, shouting to the crook “that’s all I have,” and he actually paused as he ran away, stopped, dropped her purse, and kept running.
In a group or mob situation, we often act—or don’t act—when, alone, we would have refrained from violence or interceded.
Trungpa Rinpoche had an expression: take 12 intelligent people, put them around a table, and they all get dumb. I find board meetings or staff conferences often trend this way: the sum is far less than the parts.
So next time you or I see something wrong—whether it’s online or in real, good ol’fashioned life—jump in. Do so with strength and gentleness. Find out how to help.
In a world full of tragedies, we must stay awake to the plight of others. For in so doing, we stay alive within, ourselves.