Wow it has been an intense year. My Face Book feed has been filled with disgusting images of violence, injustice and environmental degradation. Many of my friends have expressed a growing sense that these images are harmful, promoting an ever-expanding morass of negative experiences and feelings driven by social media.
It is worth considering, however, that these very images trigger our internal access to compassion in a world where it is sorely needed. Yes, I get enraged at all the digital chaos, yet it is true that my compassion is triggered; my desire to act in a meaningful way is manifested into corporeal action.
It is human nature to avoid things that make us uncomfortable. There are times when I need to disconnect, go dark and care for my self. These times nurture my ability to re engage and bring a small touch of divinity to our collective discourse. It is in fact these objectionable mental pictures that create an upwelling of compassion. They nudge me into a place where the status quo is unacceptable; where by being a member of the human race I am propelled to take action.
While many, understandably turn away; activists experience a very positive emotional reaction, the urge to change the world. Collectively these individuals believe that the world is malleable and can be positively impacted by the hands of compassion. In seeing the image of the starving child or the bloody face of a person of color assaulted by the police we tend to look beyond our revulsion and perceive the injustice as personal, affecting our collective responsibility to act, activists believe that silence is consent.
So the next time negative images trigger disgust, access this emotion to empower you to act on the side of compassion, return again to the youthful and optimistic belief that you can do something to nurture change. Negative images have a place in our world; they water the seeds of an ever-expanding garden of social justice that blooms with ever more diversity as time passes.