Letter: Helping one another shows best of humanity

From: Tom Lane


I have been watching the news and listening to people who find out that differences do not matter when you are in a disaster. Your color or your religion or your ethnicity or whatever does not matter when you are trying to find a way out of a flood.

We love to talk about how this brings out the best in us, and it does. But what is that “best”?

The best in all of us is:

  • To go beyond the mental frameworks we use to separate us.
  • To see that other human beings need help.
  • To set aside our prejudices and bias toward others and simply reach out.
  • Without our past.
  • Without identity.
  • Beyond the petty divides of politics.
  • Above color and race.
  • Simply seeing what is in front of us and that we can help or be helped.
  • Not on the talk shows.
  • Not at the political rallies.
  • Not in the protests.
  • Not writing angry letters.
  • Not hating those different than us.
  • Not taking sides against everyone who is not like us.
  • What you see in Texas/Florida in these disasters.
  • Where simple folks just lend a helping hand to those in need — no questions asked.

This is the best of our humanity, when we get present to the danger in front of us and just help. In that presence, all the other “thought about” realities just pale to the importance of helping another human being.

Most of us spend our normal life living in our heads — our thoughts, our past knowledge — and ignore what is in front of us, or translate that into our judgments of good/bad and right/wrong. A natural disaster brings us out of that world and puts us into the actual world in front of us. We simply help, and that is the best of us.