The Benefits of Being Kind
by Norah Babington
What is a Human Being?
What and who can define what traits and characteristics that in sum represents such a species as the human animal?
If you ask an evolution biologist, you might get the reply that the ability to think in terms of morals and ethics are part of a toolbox for survival and therefore not only beneficiary, but crucial for survival of the human species on this planet.
If you ask a sociologist you might get the answer that the terms of human behavior are dictated from social conventions.
And if you ask a religious person, you might get an answer that tells you about the divine laws of good and evil and that a human being will be struck with divine punishment if it chooses the dark path.
Even though there are differences between the world religions, there seems to be a core that connects them to each other in that sense that they say we should treat others the way we would like to be treated.
And if you ask a psychologist or a psychotherapist, you might get an answer that tells you about how a human being is built up of several, parallel universes; the spiritual, the social norms taught, the genetical, biological as well as emotional and the individual capacity to seek a greater understanding and consciousness of ones self, if given the influences necessary to develop such an insight.
Such an insight means a strengthened identity of self which will make a human being equipped to meet the challenges that is being presented through its surroundings during a lifetime; ethically, morally and otherwise.
Without this identity, the ability to make the choices that feels right and thereby prevent inner and outer conflicts that would further weaken an already underdeveloped sense of self, would again lead to a downward spiral where the individual lacks the capacity to separate right from wrong, good from evil and have no platform to decide whether a choice is morally or ethically beneficiary for its own survival.
And if you ask a child, you will get the answer: I am you.
Where it All Begins
A human child is born into this world with a natural connectedness to all in this Universe. It reacts spontaneously, emotionally and uncensored as responses to elements large or small; a flower, a puddle of water, a straw of grass, a butterfly, an animal. What the child lacks of skills to differentiate between its yet not developed sense of self and other individuals, it surely compensates with this innate ability to identify with ALL, much to the amusement of adults, restricted, dictated and shaped by social norms and the other elements mentioned above.
But because the child in its developmental years yet does not have the capacity to embrace an internal sense of self, it is much like an empty vessel towards the surroundings. Whatever the surroundings do, the child becomes. There are no filters and no abilities in the child to protect its inner being from exterior influences, because it does not have the consciousness of a self to protect.
In this vulnerable state, a child identifies with the surroundings and its behaviors, words and actions. A child is totally subjective and can therefore not objectify actions and behaviurs from others and make up its own opinion, based on its own set of moral or ethical values. A child is choiceless. A child is voiceless. An empty vessel being filled with whatever the surroundings dictates. For better or for worse.
In the first years of a human being's life, all parts of the child is focused on survival in order to be able to grow up. The whole organism of a child down to every cell is programmed through millions of years for survival. It needs a pack to survive. It needs connectedness in order to feel protected. And it needs to be taught survival skills.
When showing kindness and compassion towards the child, the child meets a world that tells it through actions that this world is a safe place to be in. When this kindness and compassion is being given to the expanded world and people around the child thereby shows consistency in their actions, the child learns to trust.
Trust, consistency and integrity in actions are the vital elements needed for the child to slowly, over the years, be given the influences necessary to build up an integral and whole sense of self.
If the acts of empathy and care are diminished to only include some, while others, for example animals, are abused and treated cruelly in front of a child, the potential platform for a healthy development becomes a swamp and the child's abilities to trust itself in the world or the world inside itself, collapses.
Kindness is in other words the one, most important survival skill that infuses the child's development in a healthy direction and secures its future as an autonomous human being who will in adult years be able to act respectfully and empathically towards others, the same way the child has been taught through close surroundings as well as through the greater society, to respect, protect and nourish its own inner self.
The Tragedy in Romania
The systematic, immense animal cruelty that has been going on for many years in Romania, only to escalate even further after the present government implemented a mass killing law of stray dogs in September of last year, has enormous tragic human consequences - the actions of sadistic animal cruelty have exploded not only from the publicly hired dogcatchers, but also amongst the population itself.
A society that systematically spurs the population on to act out abnormal rage, aggression and sadistic behavior that in itself is a manifestation of a dysfunctional, disconnected and disturbed mentality, is an alarming signal of whole society lacking survival skills.
We cannot phatom the consequences. But one thing is for certain; innumerous children in Romania are now as you read this, being deprived of a sense of self for the rest of their lives and all that is left is adopted behavior from dysfunctional surroundings, inflicting traumas and therefore rage in need for revenge for the pain they have been exposed to and thereby suffered.
In a child's mind, compassion and love does not mean hug the child and torture the dog. Nor does this mean love or compassion in any adult's, well developed personality. When such inconsistencies become a societal norm, whole generations are brought up with no trust, no self-identity and therefore no coping skills to cooperate with the exterior world.
The Illusion of Separation
Another tragic consequence of ignoring these facts, is what now is being played out on the European, political scene.
To create an illusion of autonomy from the ripple effects that spread, regardless of humanly created boarders, governments and nations, is just as detrimental to collective moral and ethical values as it is to inflict cruelty on a child by forcing it to witness sadistic distortion of animals and then deny the dramatic, mental damages that the child, and therefore the whole society, will suffer.
The data of these mental damages are overwhelming and on European soil, the 'Making the Link' project together with the newly published book through OFA [Occupy for Animals], 'The Invisible Rape of Europe', present daunting facts and warns of consequences already taking place.
By EU ignoring, EU contributes.
There is no middle ground. Romania is one of the greatest contributors to export of crime: exploited children in forced labor and begging, human trafficking   and over 3 million Romanians now live outside their country.
This has been of great beneficiary for far right and Neonazis again marching in exceeding numbers across Europe . The Neonazi Party 'Jobbik' in Hungary uses Romanians as the target to gather votes, based on fear and therefore hatred and its support have exploded.
The Austrian Nazi Party with the misleading name the Freedom Party, have used hate campaigns like "the Romanians are coming" since the beginning of the 90`s and is now Austria's most powerful oppositio nparty.....The dark list is long and it is growing.
We cannot separate ourselves from these alarming facts any more than we can pretend to be separated from creation or separate an atom without suffering the devastating consequences.
In any society is mirrored the same dynamics as in the mind of a child: the eventual lack of nourishment for developing an essential core of being which constitutes the basis for making ethical,moral choices that upholds itself and therefore the world,creates a void which will be filled with its opposite: the degenerative need for selfdestruction, or as the poet William Butler Yeats described the modern man in his poem "The Second Coming " :
"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
The Universal Secret
The physicist Kapra once said:
“Particles are not what you first assume them to be; only small grains of materia.
They are sketches of a pattern of fantastic possibilities and behind this pattern is hidden another pattern of endless opportunities.”
If you ask a physicist what a human being is, you might be told that we are part of this universe made up of eons and neutrons and atoms and electromagnetic waves and gamma waves and ultraviolet waves and that all was created – and we in it – by opposite poles of negatives and positives that circle around each other, upholding each other and therefore upholding the whole universe. Like the human DNA, built up of molecules faithfully dancing around each other in an eternal, circular dance. All alike but all unique.
In other words: All of creation built up and sustained by cooperation.
And what is cooperation?
It is the ability to see the other because one sees oneself. The child, the neighbor, the animal, the flower...
When children are born into this world, even their DNA whispers this mysterious knowledge of connectedness to ALL in creation.
When this connectedness is deceived and even crushed as it is in Romania today, all that will be left is trauma, rage and lack of recognizing where one person ends and another person begins, because the seed, the child's inner sense of self was starved to death by the lack of being taught the universal secret of survival through their surroundings, the greatest and most precious secret of all: KINDNESS.
Psychotherapist, Human and Animal Rights Advocate