My biological reaction to anything traumatic is to instantly recall all the times I’ve been there before either physically or emotionally. Sometimes things happen so fast that your brain struggles to keep up and goes into play-back mode, replaying every scene in your head in an attempt to comprehend what you’ve witnessed.
It occurred two weeks ago when a car had accidentally knocked a motorcyclist into oblivion. Even though he was wearing a helmet, he was hurt and immediately everyone in the vicinity stopped, pulled off in their vehicles and ran to his aid. I instantly recalled when I’d felt like this before... kneeling on the side of the road watching Mother administer CPR to the little boy who was unconscious while his Dad was sitting on the floor, covered in his own blood and his little sister cried on my own sister’s shoulder. I was in my early teens then.
And then there were other times when Mother was a hero, saving lives... to the detriment of my Adrenal Cortex and Hippocampus.
But something clicked while I watched the Motorcyclist laying unconscious on the tar road with hoards of people trying to help him. I thought to myself this is human nature in its purest, most natural form. As human beings, we are naturally wired to want to help others. The people helping the Motorcyclist didn’t care if he was White or Black or Asian; they didn’t care about where he came from or what he believed in... in much the same way that Mother didn’t care if the little boy she resuscitated was Muslim or not... the same way most of the World didn’t care about race, ethnicity and religion when natural disasters struck in Banda Aceh, Haiti, Japan and New Orleans etc.
All that matters in those moments are that the people receive the help that they need and most people are willing to give whatever they can to help. It’s primal human instinct to want to preserve life, not take it. How many times aren’t people moved to tears just watching someone else in pain? Nelson Mandela was absolutely right in saying that we weren’t born to hate and discriminate. That’s learned behaviour. And if people can learn to hate, then surely they can learn to love too.