Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti and Hope

After posting last week on the way hospitals symbolize the best of humanity, I realized that the recent earthquake in Haiti has brought out the good in many people as well. Natural disasters of extreme proportions pull us together, though when numbers of suffering individuals tend to boggle the mind, our empathy can also shut down. In any case, the existence of organized charities, and relief agencies like the Red Cross Red Crescent shows the widening circle of concern, an almost artificial one, considering that we evolved to think of our children, families, and tribes first. Forming even temporary bonds with strangers in other countries is a sign of civilized behavior for sure. Last night, I indulged a guilty pleasure and watched the Golden Globe awards show. Meryl Streep won another award, and once again seemed embarrassed by it. (The phrase "an embarrassment of riches" may have been coined for her!) She did not mention Haiti, as a few other (I'm sure) well-meaning actors did. But she suggested that she felt guilty for all her good fortune while things like earthquakes and so on happen in the world all the time. But then she added that she found inspiration in her mother, a perennially cheerful woman, who urged her to enjoy herself and be grateful that she had a profession which enabled her, essentially, to write a huge check! Whining about her guilt and refusing to accept accolades from her peers and others would not put a morsel of food in a child's mouth. Perspective (and practical use of her wealth) could make a difference. Well said - and quite convincingly sincere. Pity it probably got lost in all the drinking and smirking!

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