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Stand or Fall

As soon as he fell, the six of us waiting for the bus ran to his aid. The old man, and his motorized chair fell from the raised sidewalk to the street in almost slow-motion. I yelled to the bus driver as I ran, "Get on the horn and call some help!". We all naturally grouped according to our abilities. One guy (with the people skills I lack) calmly re-assured the old man and checked for injuries. I scanned for traffic to stop and divert. Eventually, we righted his chair and got him back in. His coffee was all over the asphalt, and his pride was injured, but he was okay.

No one told us what to do. We all just did the right thing.

People will do that. When one is in need, or thousands need help. It's a natural impulse. You see it in children too young to even speak. I've seen it in hard men, that when no one is looking, care for total strangers. These acts fly "under the radar", or are seen as a "one-off" event. They are not isolated incidents, they are part of who we are.

The modern electronic world has obscured this truth in a fog of negativity. "If it bleeds, it leads" means that you'll only see the one soft news story at the end of the broadcast (that is my wife's favorite). No, the world isn't all fine. We have problems. But it isn't the cesspool of filth we are brainwashed to believe, either.

I trust my fellow man... generally. I do not trust how tribal groups are being formed like a creature on Doctor Frankenstein's lab. These conglomerate abominations force everyone to abandon their individuality in favor of the strength of the collective. People deserve better.

You are strong. You are good. You don't need to be part of some group to have an "identity".

Someday, it will be more than some old guy needing a hand. Or, a large metropolitan area. There may be people falling all around you. Do not shirk your responsibility. Embrace the opportunity. You do not need permission. Don't wait for someone else. YOU are that person.

Be strong, and be ready.

Comments

"No one told us what to do. We all just did the right thing... People do that... It's a natural impulse."

I'm totally with you, Winston. I guess it's the same reason why I decided to help Bob in my journalism class, a guy about my age who I'd never seen before in my entire existence until that very day. This Wednesday I'll be giving him a USB containing pictures of every single page in our textbook, free of charge. I committed to this almost two weeks ago, and I still don't know why he couldn't just get the textbook; I didn't ask and at this point I don't really care.

Or in my English class, suddenly I'm the captain of my group? Nobody else was showing any initiative of carrying the load, so to speak, but if somebody doesn't carry the pack up the mountain then one of two things will happen: we'll be fucked, or we won't start the hike at all. So I took the responsibility. And now I'm in charge of leading group conversations, keeping track of contribution and the quality of contribution by each member.

Now that I'm done tooting my own horn, seriously, good job on your part. There's a tendency in groups (or in public) for nobody to want to take responsibility because "somebody else will do it". Thankfully it's true, somebody else will do it, and that somebody was you and the other Musketeers. While the old man's pride may have been hurt, I'd wager his faith in humanity was bolstered.

Your post has me thinking, which is a dangerous thing at 2:00 AM. I really need to get to bed (evidenced by the fact that my response is longer than your original post here). But just so I don't forget in the morning, this post, Winston, reminded me that the best leaders are those who lead - ultimately - by necessity. It's inescapable that with leadership can come a multitude of other fortunes, whether it be fame, power, wealth, popularity, etc. At the end of the day though, the special ones are those who, at the very least, did not initially run for office or want to become a leader simply for selfish gains. Rather, the gains were an inevitable result of the honest and sincere fulfillment of the leader's duties, which is to serve his trustees.

The second thing this post has me thinking about, is the relationship of the collective and the individual. I think both are necessary. However, serious problems arise when one forgets that a collective is COMPRISED of individuals. Now, the one thing I always say is that you need to ask yourself, "Do you know why you are a follower? A part of the collective?" That is to say, do you *really* know why you are a follower?

If you're a follower and you don't know why, or you don't like the answer, that indicates you need to change.

It's one thing for me to wear popular name brand clothes because I truly feel like they express who I already am. See, I want my clothes to reflect something meaningful, or something informative that's true about myself, rather than be a materialistic status statement.

That being said, it's another thing to buy name brand clothes because "girls will think you have a lot of money". Or wearing name brand clothes when you don't even know who the brands are or what they represent. Such is often the case with those who have no sense of identity, thinking they're going to find their brain in a Nef beanie or their dick in a pair of Calvin Kleins. What they should really be doing is finding out who they are first instead of going about it ass backwards.

People say shoes make the man, but I don't buy it. Men--and sadly, too often boys and girls in sweatshops--make shoes. I buy them and make them work for me, not the other way around.
 

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