People should be nicer to each other. I think we all agree, yet we’re not doing a very good job at it. Read the newspaper and you know that this world can be scary, hostile and brutal. Reading the newspaper and watching the news installs fear in people and fear in general moves people to be defensive, hostile and suspicious. Fear doesn’t motivate people to be kind and caring.
The neighbourhood where I grew up and where I’m staying at the moment has been experiencing an alarming increase in cases of armed robbery, violence and even murder in the past couple of years, and this all just around the corner or a few streets away… I too feel uncomfortable walking home late at night and I’m very suspicious of almost any person I come across (just as they might be suspicious of me…). The general impression in the Netherlands is that our society has become hardened. Being kind is sometimes mistaken for being a wimp; tough is cool, being kind is not. This concern even moved the Dutch government to initiate a campaign titled ‘aardige mensen’ (‘Nice people’) about a year ago urging people to be kinder to each other.
Today I came across a manifest that moved me. The manifest has been initiated by Susan Piver, she’s a writer and Buddhist student. Her writings are inspirational, funny, wise and comforting.
She urges people to commit to being nice to each other. Some quotes from her blog:
‘ To be nice (kind, decent, etc) is predicated on opening your heart and letting the world touch you, without agenda and without judgment–and then responding to humanity with humanity. This takes exceptional courage and intelligence. ‘
‘Kindness can and will and does change the world.’
The manifesto is copied below:
The NICE Manifesto
Please print (or take a screen shot) and (electronically) sign. Feel free to add more stipulations.
I, ___________________, being of sound(ish) mind and body, do hereby commit to the path of NICE, fully recognizing that NICE could mean any number of things and is not merely (nor will it ever be limited to) exhibiting sweetness. In addition to sweet and depending on circumstance, NICE could require one to be tough, giving, angry, remote, strong, generous, and/or soft.
I know being NICE can change our world into a peaceful one. To demonstrate my commitment, I agree to the following:
1. I recognize that only by being aware in the present moment will I know which kind of NICE to be and so recognize that the path of awareness and the path of NICE are inseparable.
2. I will exhibit extreme good manners, even when no one is watching. Good manners include (but are not limited to) qualities such as friendliness, generosity, patience, discipline, respect, discernment, dressing appropriately, and always, always cleaning up after myself.
3. When encountering those who disagree with me I will continue to view and treat them as human, no matter how barbaric or threatening I may consider their views. This means not wishing they were dead or thinking such things as, “The world would be so awesome were it not for _______ (Sarah Palin, Michael Palin, Islamists, Feitishists, Night fears, Stephen Frears, Darwinians, North Carolinians, Psychiatrists, Physiatrists, Bad drivers, Noisy neighbors, Townies, Junkies, Flunkies, Spelunkers, Circus Buskers, Motherfuckers, People who like Justin Bieber, and so on).
4. I will practice speaking clearly, honestly, and skillfully, which means also knowing when to shut up. When others are speaking, I will not use that time to think of what I will say next, but will instead give myself over to listening completely, fully, and properly.
5. I acknowledge that love is the most important thing in life and vow to give my heart away at the least provocation.
Feel inspired? Read the original post by Susan Piver and sign the manifest at:: http://www.susanpiver.com/wordpress/2010/04/26/nice-manifesto/
Wishing you all a very NICE day!