Friday, February 27, 2015

Kindness Not Random, Beauty Not Senseless

I saw a bumper sticker and I disagreed.

The bumper sticker told passers by to "Spread random acts of kindness and senseless beauty."  I don't like the sentiment or the message of this cheerful and peace loving phrase.

Kindness should not be random.  When you know nothing about who you are kind to, you do not care if they deserve it or not.  Find out about them and it becomes hard not to weigh their 'goodness' against your 'goodness'.  Staying random keeps things easy because you don't have to care at all.  All focus goes off the person onto the giving.  Kindness becomes something arbitrary instead of something unconditional.

Beauty is everything but senseless.  Beauty, in the eye of the beholder, springs from a reckoning of aesthetic to intent.  this holds especially when there is no intent - weather, natural landscapes and postmodernism all have beauty when our senses are - even when they are nonsense - engaging with the art and pronouncing it beautiful.  We connect with something and call it beautiful because we care about it.  Senseless beauty would have no one to pronounce it beautiful, because no one would care.

The bumper sticker is well intended but it emphasises the personal actions of the individual as being most important for beauty and kindness, rather than the relationships and interactions with the wider environment.

Stick that on the back of your car.

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