Random Acts of Kindness

When asked how to change the world for the better its easy to make grandiose plans on how to restructure the system to make it more just and ecological. These plans can become so big that you are overwhelmed and can’t see where to start or how you personally can contribute to the Herculean task at hand.

daffodilSometimes a simple gesture of kindness can be a good place to start. Earlier this week I was walking down Rundle Street and was handed a daffodil and told I was beautiful by a young women. She and her two friends had a bunch of daffodils which they were passing out to people as they walked by. A smile, a kind word and a flower and yet it instantly made me feel happier.

I am not suggesting that we all need to start handing out flowers, but maybe next time you pass someone on the road say hello and smile. We are social animals and yet these days many of us live very isolated lives. So the simple act of making a connection with another living being, however fleeting, is making a chink in the impersonal system where the opportunity for random human interactions are increasingly being replaced by machines.

The need for these simple acts of connection is perhaps highlighted by the huge popularity the Free Hug Campaign. The following video of the Free Hug Campaign made in 2004 was one of the first videos to go viral with over 7 million people watching. Its interesting to note that officials in Australia tried to ban the campaign under the context of Public Liability. A sad world indeed when when even a hug isn’t free!

Free Money Day taking place on 15 September is another interesting and fun global campaign based on giving something away for free to complete strangers -in this case two coins or two notes with the recipient being asked to pass one on. The aim being to “raise awareness and start conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing, as well as offer a liberating experience to inspire more critical and creative thinking about our relationships with money and how we can have new types of economic activity”.

These might seem trivial but creative acts such as these are one way to disrupt to the status quo and perhaps reach a wider or different audience to that which would be reached by scientific papers and conferences.

Are there any random events that you have experienced that have made positive disruption to a otherwise mundane day? Or piece of art that has made you look at the system in a new way?

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