MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “assistance”

Napoleon and the limits of DIY

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/9a/22/3b/9a223bbc2b866c93f1b13d8e931f2527.jpgIt was Napoleon who said that “if you want a thing done well, do it yourself”. And we’ve all had that instance when your mother asks you to do something, then you ask so many questions while attempting to do it, that she finally sighs and remarks this exact same Napoleonic quote. (If you haven’t experienced this, you just probably never heard the last part).

Wanting to do things yourself is not necessarily a bad thing. It may be considered part of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Or even as a sign of insanity. But as they say, there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Or rather, as Seneca put it, “there is no great genius without some touch of madness”. Humor apart, we can’t all do everything on our own constantly. It is physically impossible.

And just imagine what it would be like if everyone kept what they know to themselves. Sure, it is good competition, but wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Or at least continue your legacy when you’re gone? After all, the greatest teachers, those who inspire us the most and leave their mark on us, are indeed the ones who want to transmit upon us their knowledge.

So, sometimes, you just need to let go, relax, and acknowledge that you are not intended to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Humanity is supposed to be based on understanding and solidarity. If you can do something well on your own, just imagine how great it would be if your power was multiplied.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Help

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Aggressively inarticulate

http://associationnow.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/0309_language-800x480.jpgIt’s hard to find the right words. Especially when you’re in a hurry or rushing to get it all off your chest, you end up mumbling something stupidly incoherent that sounds like gibberish making no sense whatsoever. Then you sit and think of all the comebacks you could have said and beat yourself down for not demonstrating more verbal authority when you had the chance.

But is this a millennial problem? That we don’t really know what we’re saying? That we have lost any access to an extensive vocabulary, preferring instead to repeat nonsense words such as “like” and “you know”, filling up our phrases with…well, nothing really. We make it all sound “cool” and “hip”, but in essence, it means absolutely nothing. Rather, it all reflects the uncertainty that has dwindled upon us. And the dilemma of having nothing to say, or simply not knowing how to express it.

A fantastic kind of stand-up comedy presentation makes fun of exactly this, and eloquently argues that “we are the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since, you know, a long time ago”.

We no longer speak with authority, because we have none. We are instead overwhelmed with too many choices and selections; so many that we have ourselves become indecisive and unsure of even the slightest of things.

We have lost touch with the joy of learning independently. Of being able to handle things without computerized assistance. To the extent that some jobs won’t even hire you if you declare that you don’t need the aid of technology to do something, but can handle it very well on your own. Is it so absurd that you yourself possess the knowledge someone else fed into a machine to do it for you? Sure, it helps, but what about the satisfaction of accomplishing things on your own?

Being articulate isn’t just about finding the right words, and knowing how to spell them correctly. It’s about the clout that comes from demonstrating a higher level of intellect and the ability to expand your own horizons.

Why do you stray away?

cute stray dogWhat draws a person into becoming a volunteer? (An actual volunteer and not a person who is expected to do professional work without getting paid in kind or acknowledgement.) A volunteer for a cause. Deciding to invest time and energy into something that is important. Like for example, entertaining sick children, playing board games with old people, or taking care of animals found injured and abandoned. It takes strength to do something beyond your own interest. And it is a sad fact that fewer people today choose to do so.

Every day there are tens of animals left in the streets to fight for their survival. People who loved the idea of having a puppy but when it grew up, they decided it’s too much trouble, entails too many expenses, and the kids who were supposed to “play” with it have now found a new gadget that consumes their time. So the apparent solution for some, is to just drop it off and drive away. “It will find a way to fend for itself”.

Hunters adopt Pointers simply for the sake of that season when they wish to engage in the “thrill” of crawling within the bushes and ambushing small, defenseless creatures, because “it is fun” and “it is a hobby”. One in fact that has royal roots – but that is another story. But throughout the rest of the year, these dogs are often left in appalling conditions, locked up in cages outside, with scarce food because according to some that will create a greater appetite that will make them better hunters, and the worse part, if they get sick they are left to perish.

bigstock-stray-kitten-sitting-on-the-gr-18946910As for cats, these tend to reproduce generously, something which frequently causes the discontent of the neighbourhood, as little felines run around house to house constantly searching for food. And in their attempt to stay out of the human hand that seeks to domesticate or punish them, cats habitually end up under some (race)driver’s wheels in the middle of the road.

If only there was some sort of way that these animals could be protected, while at the same time appeasing the neighbourhoods’ request for quiet and stray-free areas.

Animal shelters try to offer some help. But there is little to do if you are fighting on your own. A young couple in Athens set up on their own an animal shelter located in a large field in the suburbs of Attica. They currently offer care to over 100 dogs and on a daily basis issue calls for adoption of cats and dogs alike. Facing huge financial difficulties in supporting this shelter – often at the expense of their own comfort –, they demonstrate their love to these animals (all of whom they name) by refusing to give up on them when everyone else does. The lady described the tender story of how one Pointer was abandoned at their shelter as the previous owner was about to put her down because she had developed a sort of bulking tumour on her chest. Yet after months of tender, love and care, the swelling retreated and the dog was now a joyful, energetic, barking normal dog. One that had almost been killed for no reason.

There are so many people out there who maltreat animals”, she tells me. “And what do these sweet creatures want? Just some love and affection”.

Just recently, in Cyprus, a small stray dog was thrown into a cardboard crusher by two hotel employees “because it was irritating the customers”. The dog did not survive. But just a few weeks later, the story has already been forgotten.

It is strange how we can so easily let go when it does not concern humans. Yet these animals often offer to us much more than some humans ever can. Unconditional love, loyalty, understanding, to name but a few. All you have to do is look into the eyes of a stray to see reflected in them the magnitude of its soul – that despite having suffered so much because of humans, it still has not given up on them. Maybe it is time to return the trust and do something for them in return. Something that goes beyond our own selfish interests for someone who is silently pleading for our help.

Help in need and in deed

charity1It is often said that you never truly appreciate something until you no longer have it. And that is true for a range of things: from material possessions to life itself. It is only when you are found at the needy end of the circle of life when you really even begin to understand the importance of having, of giving and of helping each other. Charities understand that well. And acknowledge it for that matter. And it is why people should learn to appreciate them more, to help them and to contribute in whatever way possible. Because they not only need donors but also volunteers. People who have the courage to deal with these situations on a daily basis. And who will assist such operations. To help them help others. Because that is what they do. Usually without bureaucracy or administration. No added burden. Just aid. In some way, it is like something Lincoln said (in a different context but still applicable): help from the people, by the people, for the people.

It is stunning and quite tragic at how countries that for so long projected to the outer world an image of prosperity, affluence and plenty have now resorted to charities, appeals and pleas for help in order to feed and clothe their people. And when you witness the poverty, deprivation and hardships that exist, you consider yourself lucky you have clothes in your closet and food in your fridge. When people go ashamed, with tears in their eyes to ask for help, when they feel their pride being trampled over by a state that doesn’t seem to care, you consider yourself fortunate for all you have.

Help is needed much more than it is given. And those in need greatly outnumber those that offer help. Not those that can, but those that will. For the rich that would donate to the poor are often few and usually for their own selfish gains. But there are some that do go out and buy things simply to give them away to the less fortunate. With no gains and no self-interest in mind. Just the satisfaction of offering a helping hand. It is people like these the world needs. People who will help their fellow citizens no matter what the cost. Who acknowledge what it means to have nothing and to alleviate the suffering caused by factors beyond their control. To see the faces of children light up as they receive a toy, even if it is used. After all, isn’t that what the world should be striving to save? The future? Our children? Our hope?

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