Tag Archives: RECK

The Dystopian Future is Now

Imagine a future in which elementary schools are attacked by men with guns who have lost even the most basic respect for human life. These men, so warped by the violence depicted in the news, popular culture, the internet, and even video game, take to playing a sick game of their own in which they prey on the lives of the most innocent among us in savage attacks. In this future U.S., society has become so plagued by random acts of violence and mass shootings that some cities are considering placing emergency tourniquet kits in public places in a desperate attempt to save innocent lives. This future, rife with misery and near-daily news of despicable, horrible acts, is now.

This week began with news of another mass shooting. This time at a Waffle House in the Nashville. Just a few weeks ago there was news out of San Diego that their city council is considering posting tourniquet kits in public spaces so that they can be better prepared when these seemingly inevitable mass shootings occur. These are dark days in the United States and we have no one to blame for them but ourselves.

For decades, we have been celebrating violence as a nation through our television shows, movies, music, video games, and sports. We have attached violence to masculinity as if the one was inherent in the other and inseparable. We’ve created gun laws that are less strict than driving laws. We have desensitized ourselves to violence and made the tools for violence readily available. And now we wonder why we have a problem.

If we want to leave the dystopian future that is now, then there is not just one thing we must do, there are many. But all of these things – from enacting common-sense gun legislation to improving mental health services to calling for a reduction of violence in media – do boil down to a single thing: restoring respect for human life.

We must relearn holding life sacred. We must recapture the desire to love and be kind to one another simply because it is the right thing to do. We must teach our children to be sensitive and gentle – yes, even our boys. We must care for our mentally ill. We must encourage compassion. We must sow the seeds of peace as we once sowed the seeds of violence. We must work toward a brighter future.

I hope you will join with me in pledging to treat one another with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. Together, we can transform the U.S. and the world. Real change is possible. We just need to want it badly enough to be willing to improve how we treat one another. I love you. Please love one another.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.

In Changing Hearts and Minds, Are The Golden Rule and Altruism Enough?

Why do you treat others well? Is it because you hope they will treat you the same way in return (the Golden Rule) or is it simply because you believe that others deserve to be treated well (altruism)? Personally, I think either or both reasons are valid and justifiable.

I often find myself wondering how I can “sell” my idea of RECK to the world. I believe deep within my core that if everyone in the world treated everyone else in the world with Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness, then we could create significant change for the betterment of the planet and future generations. Think of it: a world without war and free of violence and terror.

It might seem impossible, but I believe it is within our reach. We just need people to truly embrace the principles of RECK and behave accordingly. It’s a simple, but hard. Easy to describe, but difficult to adhere to on a daily basis. Still, I’m hopeful for a brighter future and I feel like RECK can help us get there.

But how do I convince others that I’m right? For me, it’s a simple matter of altruism. I believe that we all should be unselfishly concerned for the welfare of others. So, I work very hard to treat everyone with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. It can be challenging at times, but for me it’s an important day-to-day and minute-to-minute practice.

I get the feeling that many people agree with me – especially when referring to people whom they love. But what about our enemies? Personally, I try to have none. But there are certainly people in this world who have enemies and how do I convince those people to act toward their enemies with RECK? Altruism might not be enough to sell them on it. And if they treat their enemies with RECK with the hope of being treated the same way in return, there is a high degree of likelihood that they will not get the same treatment in return… certainly not right away.

So what then? Where does that leave me? How do I sell my magical elixir to the not-so-easily convinced? I suppose I could cite scientific studies or quote the Dalai Lama, but even that might not do the trick. I need to change hearts and minds. This is serious business. Should I become a minister and spend my life preaching RECK as if it were my gospel? Do I become a televangelist for RECK? Should I give up all of my worldly possessions and roam the earth working to spread my message?

What do you think?

It’s About Respect, Mr. President

I’ve spent the past week reflecting upon President Trump’s having referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations at “shithole countries.” This is the latest in a growing history this President has of racist remarks going back notably to when he announced his bid for the presidency and referred to immigrants from Mexico as criminals and “rapists.” I’ll admit that I am often shocked by such statements.

President Trump has repeatedly stated that he is not a racist, even though his own comments and actions seem to contradict him. And here’s the thing about that, I believe the President is sincere in his assertions. I believe that he does not think he is a racist.

I grew up in a mostly-white mostly-middle class rural area of the United States and encountered various people who most people would probably call racists. Yet, to a person, these people did not think of themselves as racists. I believe this is because racism actually exists on a spectrum that includes things that aren’t racism.

I’ll explain. People who hold views the rest of us describe as racist see the world through the spectrum of social hierarchy. I am willing to bet that you could poll people who have racist views about things completely separate from racism and be able to identify those people with racists viewpoints very accurately. Chances are that the people who have racist views also would say that people who drive nice cars rank higher on the social scale than those who drive less-nice cars. Taller people rank higher than shorter people. The physically able rank higher than people with disabilities. The color of a person’s skin is just one factor among many that these people use to rank and categorize others.

Such is the case with President Trump. He doesn’t think he’s a racist, because he judges people based upon the color of their skin no more than he judges them based upon everything else about them. And he judges everyone based upon everything about them.

This brings me to the title of my post: It’s about respect.

We all need to work to view and behave toward one another with an equal amount of respect. The fact of the matter is that human beings are all basically the same. We all desire the same basic necessities of life. Our President doesn’t have a problem with race (or at least not just with race), he has a problem with disrespecting people he sees as beneath himself in the social hierarchy. And as a wealthy white male, he sees just about everyone as being beneath him.

So, Mr. President, I’m calling upon you to respect your fellow human beings. We are all the same. Please work to treat everyone with respect and in time you might find that people will stop accusing you of racism. It’s never too late to change. Together, we can build a better tomorrow.

Respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness: These are the the things the world needs more of.

Imagine All the People Living Life in Peace

In John Lennon’s famous song “Imagine” there is the line, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” That line used to make my heart ache, because it seemed so far off, so impossible. This past September, however, I proposed a new philosophy – one based upon mutual acceptance and understanding. It is comprised of four key components. They are respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness, or RECK for short. Since that time, Lennon’s classic line has taken on a new sense of hopefulness for me.

Now, each time I hear, think, or sing that line my mind opens to the possibilities of what RECK could do if I were able to spread my message and have others embrace the philosophy. It’s corny, I know, but I am hopeful. It fills me with joy, excitement, and anticipation in a way that nothing has for a very long time. And I don’t say these words lightly. After all, I have spent that past 12 ½ years trying to make the world a more compassionate place through my nonprofit Century of Compassion. And I spent several years as a student of compassion before that.

Over those years, both through Century of Compassion and before, I dreamt of a more compassionate and caring world. However, I often sensed that Compassion alone wasn’t going to be enough to get us there. There needed to be more. Many times, I would find myself telling people that they must also have respect for others and must first feel empathy before they could achieve compassion. Even the Dalai Lama himself preaches a doctrine of loving-kindness beyond mere compassion.

I spent most of 2017 feeling that Century of Compassion just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I felt a substantial urge to both expand and hone my philosophy to include these elements I so often called upon in addition to compassion. It was from this contemplation that RECK was forged.

One happy accident with RECK is that reck is a word unto itself. It already existed. Its definition is “to have care, concern, or regard.” It’s the base word for words like reckon and reckless. I delight in the fact that my word that stands for “respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness” also means “to have care, concern, or regard.”

Through RECK we can put an end to much of the world’s plight once and for all. We will be able to encourage people to talk out their problems and work out their differences. If everyone treated one another with RECK, there would finally be no more war, murder, or genocide, because you can’t harm someone you respect, have empathy and compassion for, and treat with kindness.

True peace and lasting peace is possible. Each of us can make a difference. We really can change the world.

So, let’s have RECK for one another, everyone! And all the people can be living life in peace.

Let’s Talk About Respect

Last Friday, I proposed four key ingredients we need to cultivate within ourselves if we want to work to reduce tensions in our society and bring about a more peaceful and loving world. They are: respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. When combined, these four values become a powerful force for good.

Today, I focus upon the value of respect. I’ll begin by restating my original call for respect: “We must commit ourselves to valuing the worth and dignity of each individual being. Mutual respect lays a foundation upon which we can build mutual understanding. Without respect, people’s voices cannot be heard. When we work to respect one another, we can achieve tolerance and even acceptance of one another.”

I want to be clear that the type of respect I am referring to is the kind of respect that values each individual being, their right to life, and their sense of self worth. I am talking about respect for all people by all people.

In the wake of the horrific act in Las Vegas on Sunday night, televangelist Pat Robertson spoke about respect. He said, “we have disrespected authority. There is profound disrespect for our president… disrespect for the institutions of our government… All the way up and down the line, disrespect.” Here, Robertson is referring to an old-school style of respect that says ‘you should not question authority.’

First of all, let’s look at the fact that Pat Robertson is speculating about a horrific act being caused by a lack of respect and completely missed the point that the most basic type of respect we as human being can show one another is a respect for our right to exist. It is true that Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock perpetrated his hideous act because of disrespect, but it was his disrespect for people’s right to life. It was his disrespect for people’s worth and dignity. How Robertson could talk about respect and miss this point is surprising.

Next, I want to make a clear distinction between the type of respect Pat Robertson is talking about the the type of respect I am talking about. I do not mean a blind respect for authority. I mean respect for the sanctity of life. I mean respect for people’s dignity. I mean the type of respect that people in authority all too often deny to those they see as less than them. Respect for each and every person’s potential for good, for their right to prosperity, for their happiness.

Let’s all show each other respect. Let’s practice being respectful toward one another even when we disagree. Let’s take action in a respectful way to advance equality, justice, and peace.

Love to you all.

In the Wake of Vegas Tragedy, Reach Out with Love

Late last night there was another mass shooting in the United States. This time on the Las Vegas Strip. The Washington Post reports this morning that this is now “the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.” Over 50 are dead. More than 400 are injured. It’s tragic. It’s senseless. It needs to stop.

Often, in the wake of such tragedies, I want to know why it happened. What were the gunman’s motives? What would motivate such a heinous act? Over time, I have concluded that even when there is an explanation, there is never a justification. No motive could justify such a horrific act.

And when there is an explanation that sheds light on such a tragedy, at its root is always the same set of ingredients: anger, hatred, rage. Regardless of who acted and in what way to create such an event, whether the person acted alone or as part of a larger network of terror, the root cause is always anger, hatred, and rage.

So, then, we must combat these problems, and the best way to do that is to act out in love. We all must do what we can to honor and respect life, to empathize with and love one another, and to increase the amplitude of love, compassion, and kindness in our world.

There is only one true hope for humanity, and that is to work with all our might to come to a greater understanding about one another, to try harder to get along with each other, and be compassionate toward one another to such a degree that we could not possibly harm one another.

I said it on Friday in this blog and I will repeat it again today in the wake of this awful tragedy. We must act out with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. We must love one another.

So, this is my appeal to you, today. Do everything you can to fill this world with love. Pull your loved ones close. Reach out with kindness to a stranger. Help dissolve the anger that is fomenting in this world. Be the change you want to see in the world. We can make a difference. We will turn this tide. Love will win.