Recently, in my World Religions class, we viewed the documentary, "I Am" by Tom Shadyac. Shadyac interviewed famous scientists, philosophers, and successful individuals and asked them one question: What is wrong with the world? The focus was around interconnectivity between humans and the separation of humanity from the natural world.
If you think about it, humans are all connected. The air we breathe has been circulating our atmosphere for a long time. Even though we are all connected, there is a barrier between us. Every single action we take affects others, whether we realize it or not. According to the film, there are 53 random number generators around the world. On 9/11, all 53 generators displayed some sort of pattern. This is because of the emotions and heartache people were experiencing on a global level. Our feelings collectively impacted these generators. If three people were to watch a video clip of puppies playing in the grass, most likely all three people would experience some sort of happiness and tranquility. If the same three people were shown a video of someone getting his or her head decapitated, they would most likely experience an emotion of sorrow and pain. To quote Shadyac, "sympathy is the strongest insight into human nature" We are all connected by one thing: sympathy. Sympathy is defined as, "an understanding between people; a common feeling." Sympathy connects us, whether good or bad. And during times of tragedy, we can't help but to physically feel the aches and pains of others.
So the question remains, why must it be a tragedy that unites people and brings them together? To name a few recent examples, the Sandy Hook shooting. The attack on the church in Charleston. Brussels bombing. Pulse nightclub. The Boston bombing. The attack on Nice, France. We've all tried to feel the heartache and pain the victims of these tragedies experienced. There remains a pattern to these acts of terror. After each one, you see on your television, or maybe you experience it in person, strangers coming together to mourn. There's flowers, posters, and memorabilia stacked high. It's a tragedy that brings out the best in people. The documentary made a reference to a worship service. Once a week, people of all backgrounds come together to common worship places, perhaps a church, synagogue, or mosque, to pray and be together for one hour. There is praying, embracing, and communal love. However, once that hour is over, we go back to our crazy, busy lives. The man you put your arm around during 8:30 mass, might be the same man on the streets who you ignored and pretended you didn't exist. Communities coming together after times of tragedy and communities' gathering every week for worship are one in the same. I truly believe if we can put the same love and passion we experience together in worship, or come together without a tragedy having to occur, we are one step closer to world peace.
This video also taught me that there are two essential factors in human nature: cooperation and domination. With that, comes competition. If my brother hits me, it is my immediate response to hitting him back. Hitting him back would provide instant gratification. Gratification seems essential in society today. The effects of our actions, whether big or small do make a difference. Over time, these small actions add up and can affect the world. It is obvious that people function better in a state of positivity. If everyone radiates happiness and positivity, there will be a better vibe among everyone. According to the film, in Charles Darwins "Descent of Man," he mentioned the survival of the fittest twice, and he mentioned love 95 times. He mentioned "survival of the fittest" only twice. It may sound cheesy, but if you wake up every day with a positive mentality on how the day will go, you will affect others and the people you affect will affect other people and so on.
To wrap it up, this video taught me that we are all connected, whether we like it or not. Sympathy is what connects us all, and if we can just train ourselves how to channel those feelings of togetherness and kinship, society can evolve into something great for the generations to come.