7 Deadly Attitudes: Part 1
January 25th, 2013
In his book Soulwise: How to Create a Conspiracy of Hope, Health and Harmony, Dr. Phil Johnson addresses seven attitudes that can be deadly to our global family:
More locally these same attitudes contribute to the blight of allowing our neighbors to live in poverty relative to the rest of us.
Indifference, the "whatever" response of disturbing fear, describes our uncaring posture--our lethargy to offer options for economic and human solutions for those around us. Indifference can grow out of our feeling that we are just too small to make the vast changes that are needed to right all the inequities of life.
Beating our insecurity
Mother Theresa's statement, "If you cannot feed everyone, feed one," gives us a nudge from our indifference. If the big picture is too big, focus. Start with the one who is nearest you. Nobody can do everything, but most of us can do something.
Sometimes indifference is our response to having tried to be a positive influence in others' lives, and failing in the attempt. "We tried that and it didn't work," is the burned-out cry of individuals and organizations. A more constructive response might be, "What were the components that didn't work and how can we change those to help our neighbors to whatever measure their success takes?"
Failure is ok, but not trying is unacceptable.
Indifference masks our fear of failing. We can't fail if we don't try. If we believe that it is wrong for a vast number of our neighbors to suffer economic hardship when we have more than enough, then we must act.
My brother used to say to me when we were teen-agers, "Do something, even if it's wrong." We do not know what is going to succeed until we succeed. There is lesson and not shame in trying and failing, redirecting the process and trying again. Remember Edison's response to accusations of failure to get his light bulb working: "I have not failed; I have just discovered 6,000 ways that don't work." Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in getting up every time we do, brushing ourselves off, tweaking and trying again.
What are causes you have observed of indifference to the plight of people living in poverty?
What would you suggest as ways for us to overcome our own indifference and motivate ourselves to being present for others?