The other day, as I was scrolling down my news feed on social media, I stumbled upon a video of a YouTube influencer who conducted a social experiment on the streets of New York City. The experiment consisted in tying a dog to a lamp post and leaving a text on cardboard next to it that read: “I can no longer take care of my dog. Please take responsibility”. As time passed, most people would walk by the dog without even looking at it. Some stopped and looked at the dog for a few seconds before going on with their lives. One person even stopped to pet the animal for a minute. It was only after a couple of hours that a homeless man came to the dog and offered it the bit of food and water he had with him.
This experiment reminded me of the various videos I see on this other YouTube channel called The Dodo, where people upload videos of they were able to give traumatised animals (cats, dogs, cows and others) a second chance at being part of a family. Throughout the video, the viewer would be able to witness the entire transformation the animal is going through, from being full of anger and/or fear to jumping and playing around in joy with its new family. As heart warming as those videos are, they made reconsider an important aspect of our everyday lives:
What is stopping us from doing the same for other humans?
We live today in a world where close to 9.7% of the entire population live in extreme poverty today (according to the World Bank, extreme poverty is defined by living with less than $1.25 per day). In addition to that, when we take into consideration the effects that COVID-19 is having on people’s mental healths, we can also find à considerable number of people who are depressed today, anxious and even traumatized by some of the events that have taken place near their home in 2020. Why are we often so reluctant to do for our fellow humans what we would willingly do to animals? Are animals worth more to our eyes than human lives?
One of the main reasons is how much we tend to put blame on someone else, saying that it is not our responsibility to take care of that person. Put simply, how often do we blame major corporations and governments for poverty in the world, as well as for global warming as a matter of fact? Make no mistake, I am not saying that the parties mentioned earlier should not take action in order to find a solution to these types of problems; I am saying that they are not the only ones, for such topics affect all of us. They affect our ways of life, our jobs, our earnings and so on. Strengthened in times of COVID-19 and the economic crisis the world is going through, people tend to pay more attention to every penny they spend. This is not surprising in a time when unemployment has risen to 9% in France (full employment is considered at 7% according to Trading Economics) in just the third quarter of 2020. Furthermore, “who has time to take care of others?”
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how trapped we are by our work and everyday tasks and routines that we often tend to forget about everything happening around us. We forget about other people, about nature, about life and its enjoyment. This could be another as to why we pretend not to see the people living in the streets, asking for money or food in order to make it through the day. We are so caught up in our lives and everything we need to get done before the day ends that we genuinely do not see them. However, there are cases where we see those people on the streets, or we see people hurting on the subway or on social media. And yet, we do nothing.
Why is it so difficult to give those people a hand to get back up or a shoulder to cry on?
Is it because we might also be broken inside?
Or is it because we are scared of what might happen?
Sadly, unlike humans, I think it is safe to say that a dog or cat will never betray our trust or become greedy and gain at our expense without giving something in return. Numerous times we find ourselves in such situations, refusing to open up to anyone because we feel that the receiver would react in a way that would hurt us. It could either be by not understanding what we are going through because people are often unable to deal with others’ darkness and pain, or by the way they start using what we will tell them against us. The same can also go the other way around when we try to help someone in pain. Let me ask you something: how many times have you helped someone get through a tough period who, once they felt better and were able to stand on their own again, completely disappeared from your life?
When my dog Lucky came home for the first time, he had a paw in a cast. He was afraid of any ball coming in his direction at whatever speed. You could not even pet him, due to the amount of trauma he had gone through with previous owners. With time, patience and love, my family and I managed to overcome this barrier and convince Lucky that everything was okay and there was no reason to be afraid. Since then, Lucky has been a part of the family for more than a decade during which he has never betrayed our trust a single time. He has always been loyal to the family, taking care when we needed comfort without words, welcoming us with all the joy in the world, whether we had been away for an hour or a year.
On the other hand, I lost count of those who made the most of my kindness and then left without saying a word. I lost count of the times I opened up and got stabbed in the back because I was misunderstood or because people just did not care. The human persona is quite an “interesting” concept. A concept that will never cease to amaze me.
This is my opinion.
I am not a pessimist of the human race.
I still strongly believe in the good in humanity, yet I have accepted to see the world in all of its ways.
I am more than open to discuss that topic with you.
Let me know what you think.
“What good can the Scriptures do to a man who has no sense of his own? Of what use is as a mirror to a blind man?”