Secular Views on the Concept of Kindness Essay
Secular Views on the Concept of Kindness
In our modern world, it is unfortunate that kindness seems to be one of the most neglected character traits people choose to cultivate in their everyday lives. Kindness is listed by Paul as one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit — the nine visual traits that distinguish authentic Christian living — in Chapter 5 of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Confucius instructed his followers to “recompense kindness with kindness.” One of the Ten Perfections in Buddhism is Metta, or “loving-kindness.” According to the Talmud, “deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.”
On a secular note, Nietzsche proposed that kindness and love are the “most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse.” Aristotle pointed out that kindness is “helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.” Some even consider the majority of Shakespeare’s opus to be ‘a study of human kindness.’ In my own humble opinion, kindness is an essential attribute for any person to possess. Kindness is refreshing to both receive and dish out to others worthy of it.
Others tell me frequently that I am a very kind person. My mother and father both are very kind people. I don’t consider kindness as something out of the ordinary, as many others seem to do. In an ideal world everyone would be brought up to show kindness to others; however we are not in an ideal world. I, on the other hand, I was raised to show respect, kindness and compassion to others. I believe that small, every day acts of kindness nourish the soul and body.
For example, when I was younger I used to go visit an elderly, widowed woman named Rose in my neighborhood. She was very limited in the things she could do for herself because she had developed arthritis and had frequent back trouble. She could still do for herself, but she couldn’t get around as well as she could in her youth. I did light housework, ran errands, and offered her conversation. I didn’t expect anything material in return. I just welcomed the satisfaction of knowing I played a part in making this woman’s life easier and more satisfying.
I enjoyed seeing her being able to sit on the porch and enjoy the sunshine. It warmed my heart to bring a smile to her face and to know that I made a positive difference in her day to day life. I did this without compensation for about a year. Miss Rose was such a sweet woman. It hurt me dearly when she suddenly moved away.
To sum it up, I believe that it is acts of kindness such as these that would make life more fulfilling for the giver as well as the recipient. If everyone made made the decision to do one act of kindness for another everyday it would make the world an infinitely sweeter and more bearable place for all to live in. I believe that is kindness was emphasized and cultivated more by those in our society, then a host of problems in our society such as poverty, hunger and violence would be greatly reduced or eradicated.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 January 2017
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