Forgetting the people, the humanity, and the real life is a harsh reality of our society. I'm not sure if it's getting better or worse as technology evolves, but it certainly isn't gone.
It's easy to forget that the mechanic who just changed our oil might have a daughter at home with leukemia. We don't imagine that the software developer who failed to implement the feature we really want might be struggling with gender identity. We ignore the fact that the teacher we're yelling at because our Honor Roll student brought home a B might be dealing with anxiety and depression.
That grocery store clerk who's slow ringing up the person in front of you -- the one with two carts full of stuff, buying in bulk because she's caring for her kids as well as the kids of her sister, in rehab for alcoholism -- he's trying to figure out how to learn to read and write in English while simultaneously getting his kids into school and apply for citizenship.
David Foster Wallace said it best in his amazing speech, This is Water:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
We're free to ignore these very real, visceral aspects of life and other people, but that's not the freedom that makes life worth living. The freedom that makes it all worth it is the freedom to be compassionate and to share what we have to elevate each other and bring us all closer to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Build for each other. Serve each other. Help each other. And through it all, be aware of each other.
It's not the cars, or the software, or the grocery stores, or the buildings, or the money that make this world beautiful.
It's the people.
Header photo by Jenna Tormanen