Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Flickering Pixels - Together Apart

“The human psyche isn’t designed to withstand the full gravity of planetary suffering. Numbness and exhaustion are natural reactions. Feeling helpless and hopeless is nearly inevitable. The heart can only stretch so far so many times before it is worn thing and wrung dry. This is empathy at a distance…
Direct service to people around us heals our feelings of helplessness and apathy. It is quite possible that the needs in some far-off place are greater. But you aren’t there. You’re here, and there are needs galore in your own backyard. We do what we can, where we are, and watch the world change life by life
Who do you know locally that is in need? Practice compassion with them and be made whole again.” 

-Shane Hipps in Flickering Pixel ( Pg 110)

How pressing of a need is the fatherless boy next or the lonely widow when images and sounds of horrific earthquakes bombard our emotions on a daily basis?

It makes the distant closer while making the closer ever more distant

I read this excerpt in the days following the earthquake in Haiti. I couldn't help but think how new technologies were used to connect us with the disaster. In every news report, in every form of media, donating to Haiti was merely a text message away.

Does this allow us to instantly "do our part", and put our hearts to rest, the minute we see and hear the horrific news?

2 comments:

Anna said...

As opposed to what? Never hearing about Haiti, so that we never do anything to help? Maybe it did soothe people's feelings to be able to donate money and then leave it alone. But in most cases, money and prayer was all that people could or should do. If that risks distracting people from continuing to help people in their immediate vicinity, it also reminds people caught up in their own lives to keep some perspective about how much worse it could be.

DK said...

I'm not saying it is inherently bad that we are more connected to global disasters, I'm saying it's important to at least think about how being so connected affects us.