Thursday, June 12, 2014
Wonder - Kait's Mixtape
The first time I heard Emeli Sande she was standing on stage at the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. I was watching the ceremonies on catch-up several days into the event.
I'd expected London to be awful during the Olympics. Most people did. The newspapers certainly prepared us for the worse - crammed tubes, inadequate bus services, crowds already too large doubling or even tripling in some areas.
A pessimist could say the expectation that everything would be awful led the city to have a pleasant surprise but I genuinely believe what happened was people showing their best.
This is a tiny island with not enough space and London is a city where space is at a premium and culturally, there is a strong need to look out for 'me' and 'mine'.
But during the Olympics and Paralympics, the city transformed. The whole event seemed to bring out the best in everyone. People actually acknowledged one another on the underground. Strangers smiled at each other. Locals stopped to offer directions to lost or confused visitors. People helped out and gave their time willingly.
It was, for me, a beautiful demonstration of basic goodness. It's something which comes out often during a crisis. We heard about it in report about the Tsunami in Japan or around ground zero in New York. When our world is falling to pieces around us we reach out and help.
But at times of great collective joy and celebration the same thing happens. We remember that the person sat next to us on the bus looking a bit queasy or the person who looks dead on their feet as they stand on the tube is another human being with which we share the planet.
And it's because we have seen so many people collectively catch their breath in celebration and we want to share the best side we have to the people who come see us from miles around. One could argue that the motivation is selfish and yes, it is. But in a positive, uplifting way. It's about self interest because of the appreciation we have for life.
I want to be happy so I understand happiness so I can share what it means to be happy so others can be happy.
I think that's a wonderful way to be selfish and one well worth pursuing.