The Many Faces Of Kindness Today English Language Essay

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Kindness is an act of compassion, humanity, love, concern and sympathy. Kindness is worship, kindness is religion. Kindness is a behaviour that spreads joy, joy that has no borders, joy that is universal. And its relevance in modern day and every day can't be discounted. Acts of simple kindness make us the humans we are. Kindness of varying degree separates us from any other species. Its kindness and love that people seek and that people give.

DEFINING KINDNESS:

"Kindness is the language which the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear & the blind can see." 

~Mark Twain

kindness_01.jpgKindness is the act or the state of being kind and marked by charitable behaviour, mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others [1] .

It is a recognized value in many cultures and religions.

Kindness - In philosophy

According to book two of Aristotle's "Rhetoric" it is one of the emotions (see list of emotions), which is defined as being "helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped" [2] .

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that kindness and love are the "most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse

Kindness is considered to be one of the Knightly Virtues.

Kindness - In religion

It is considered to be one of the seven virtues, specifically the one of the Seven Contrary Virtues (direct opposites of the seven deadly sins) that is the direct opposite to envy [3] .

The Talmud claims that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments."

Paul of Tarsus defines love as being "patient and kind..." (I Corinthians).

In Buddhism, one of the Ten Perfections (Paramitas) is Mettā, which is usually translated into English as "loving-kindness". Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama wrote "my religion is kindness" and authored a book entitled "Kindness, Clarity, and Insight" [4] .

Confucius urges his followers to "recompense kindness with kindness."

Kindness - In psychology

In a study of 37 cultures around the world, sixteen thousand subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness (the second was intelligence) [5] .

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK:

"I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." 

~William Penn

compassion.jpg

History of Kindness:

Every civilization -the Aryan, the Greek, the ancient Chinese... laid utmost emphasis on kindness and many a holy books have kindness as their central theme. For instance, we find the usage of kindness in the Holy Bible through the following verse.

One of the reasons for salvation and eternal life is to display the kindness of God in the ages to come.

"Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

"Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared"

Components of Kindness:

Kindness is a very broad term. Anything the first person does, to make the second person feel good can be categorized as kindness. However, in our study we would consider the mathematical formula for kindness and the accompanying components in it given by Chuck Wall, Kindnessusa.org.

Mathematical Formula for Kindness [6] :

 A mathematical formula was created to explain the components (K= ∞/∑ CH(R+D)/i=1). Kindness means that compassion (C), humility (H), dignity (D), and respect (R) equal the sum of everything together set in motion by just one person for all time. The four virtues are explained in the following manner. Compassion is empathy and caring about the feelings of others. Humility is to be humble, not boastful or arrogant. Respect is to treat others with courtesy and honour. Dignity is being worthy to be honoured or esteemed.

Put simply, kindness is the conscious act of engaging others in a positive way without asking whether those individuals deserve to be treated kindly. All living beings thrive on kindness. A single, sincere compliment can turn a person's entire world around. Holding a door or thanking someone who has held a door for you can inspire others to practice politeness and make already kind individuals feel good about their efforts. Smiling at people you meet-even those who make you feel like frowning-can turn a dreary encounter into a delightful one, for both of you. Every kind act has a positive influence on the individual who has performed said act as well as on the recipient, regardless of whether the act is acknowledged. Kindness brings about more kindness and slowly but surely takes a positive toll on humanity.

Kindness to an Individual and in a Group:

Genuine and unassuming kindness is one trait that people never fail to undervalue. As someone said, kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers. Kindness is the elixir to happy life. Hence, a positive impact of kindness is to be seen; whether it's to an individual or once one is kind to others in a group. Kindness is all pervasive, it instils warmth in everyone to whom its meted out to, and its difficult for anyone to stay indifferent.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE:

"Of neighbourhoods, kindness is the most beautiful. How can the man be considered wise who when he had the choice does not settle in kindness."

~ Confucius

We would try to review different literature forms, for instance from contemporary art form (books and movies) to different mythological sources for finding reference of kindness there. Lets start with contemporary works, a book on kindness.

A Short Course in Kindness by Margot Silk Forrest:

This wonderful little book is full of stories that inspires and motivates, that are thought provoking and gives perfectly plausible ideas to make world a kinder place. Margot Silk Forrest in her book says Kindness is the wise use of the heart. A purely heartfelt action won't necessary be a kind one -- it could be misguided or uninformed. It takes wisdom and heart to notice when someone needs our help and to see what kind of help they need. Kindness won't necessarily be kindness if it is not put to use. Action is required. Thinking kind thoughts is all well and good. It will calm and purify your mind stream. But at some point, we have to get up and act on our kind intentions [7] . It's this message of moving from kind thoughts to real actions that makes this book different and a fun read.

Kindness in Sacred Scriptures:

Without a single exception, all sacred scriptures talk about kindness to fellow beings and to the greater environment in varying extent. For instance, Colossians 3:12 from the New Living Translation Bible says:

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

Citing from the Holy Quran, it talks about Prophet Muhammad being the embodiment of mercy and he showed compassion and kindness to all those around him - family, orphans, friends, strangers and even enemies.  Quran says Prophet even emphasized kind treatment of environment and animals, with respect and mercy.  He taught his followers that because animals were part of God's creation they must be treated with dignity and due care. Following is our reference for the same, a citation from Quran 21:07.

"And We have sent you O Muhammad not but as a mercy for all of humankind, jinn, and all that exists."

Similarly, we understand kindness we realize the very purpose of life is to be happy. We desire contentment and that's from the very core of our being. His Holiness Dalai Lama says - the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace. [8] Even according to the sacred texts of Hinduism, kindness and hospitality are considered key values. Its a cardinal virtue and finds mention in Vedas - the Hindu holy scriptures.

Kindness is one of the four virtues in Buddhism that if practiced has the power to cause the practitioner to be re-born into a Brahma Realm. According to the Buddhist scripts, these virtues are highly regarded as powerful antidotes to negative mental states (non-virtues) such as avarice, anger and pride. [9] 

Kindness in Modern Art (movies): Lage Raho Munna Bhai:

A study on any behaviour can never be complete without taking into consideration the popular impact. Many movies with Kindness as their theme have been made. We would do a small case study on the hindi movie Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) as it had kindness and non-violence has its theme and comment on the results of a survey, presented in the following pages.

EMPERICAL STUDY:

To study the behaviour of kindness and how people view it, we have adopted the method of survey. A questionnaire comprising 14 questions was circulated among the students of XLRI, with 80 students taking the survey and responding. [10] The survey questionnaire was designed so as to reflect different aspects of the Kindness behaviour and how people react to and practise it, against an individual or in a group. The questionnaire also tried to take opinions on first what they think is kindness and also, the concept of being kind to be oneself, as against being to an individual or kindness in a group. Also, a case in the form of hindi movie Lage Raho Munnabhai was given and the survey included 3 questions on the same. We would take the survey results in the next section as we analyze them.

FINDINGS OF STUDY AND GENERALIZATION:

Let us analyze the findings from the results of the survey. We would do so by taking blocks of questions of varying size.

How important do you think kindness to others is in your day to day life?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=0000e0&chl=Not%20Important%20%5B2%5D%7CImportant%20%5B41%5D%7CVery%20Important%20%5B37%5D&chd=e%3ABmgydl

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Not Important

2

3

Important

41

51

Very Important

37

46

Total Responses

80

100%

The first question of the survey, tried to assess how important individuals think kindness to others is. Results are along the expected line, with 97% respondents attributing varying degree of importance to kindness. This goes on to show that people lay great emphasis on kindness and value it quite a lot.

Do you think people who love you, do so because you are kind and compassionate towards them?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=ff9900&chl=Yes%20%5B30%5D%7CNo%20%5B17%5D%7CMay%20be%20%5B33%5D&chd=e%3AX.NmaZ

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

30

38

No

17

21

May be

33

41

Total Responses

80

100%

Does kindness promotes peace and friendship?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=d00000&chl=Yes%20%5B69%5D%7CNo%20%5B3%5D%7CMay%20be%20%5B8%5D&chd=e%3A3LCZGZ

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

69

86

No

3

4

May be

8

10

Total Responses

80

100%

Do you think your kindness towards people who don't really like you, would bring about a change in their attitude towards you (for instance, from hostility to friendliness)?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=dcca02&chl=Yes%20%5B38%5D%7CNo%20%5B9%5D%7CMay%20be%20%5B33%5D&chd=e%3AeZHMaZ

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

38

48

No

9

11

May be

33

41

Total Responses

80

100%

Do you make a conscious effort to be kind to others?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=00d000&chl=Yes%20%5B37%5D%7CNo%20%5B12%5D%7CSometimes%20%5B31%5D&chd=e%3AdlJmYy

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

37

46

No

12

15

Sometimes

31

39

Total Responses

80

100%

How do you feel about yourself after a random act of kindness?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=9601ac&chl=Good%20%5B67%5D%7CBad%20%5B0%5D%7CIndifferent%20%5B13%5D&chd=e%3A1lAAKZ

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

67

84

No

0

0

Sometimes

13

16

Total Responses

80

100%

In today's competitive world, do you think kindness as an organizational behaviour makes sense?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=0000e0&chl=Yes%20%5B53%5D%7CNo%20%5B7%5D%7CMay%20be%20%5B20%5D&chd=e%3AqYFmP.

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

53

66

No

7

9

May be

20

25

Total Responses

80

100%

Is there any correlation in the performance (and growth) in an organization of an employee because of the kindness he/she shows towards his/her colleagues?

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

High Positive Corelation

12

15

Mild Positive Corelation

52

65

Zero Corelation

11

14

Mild Negative Corelation

3

4

High Negative Corelation

2

3

Total Responses

80

100%

Do you think you are kind to yourself and do activities that are not in conflict with what your heart says?

https://www.google.com/chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=d00000&chl=Yes%20%5B39%5D%7CNo%20%5B41%5D&chd=e%3AfMgy

Response Choices

No. of Responses

Percentage (%)

Yes

39

49

No

41

51

Total Responses

80

100%

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