So I was reduced to a blubbering mess of tears the other day. The reason is not as important as the observation and the lesson.

Paying witness to the mess of blubber, a stranger to me made a promise that would have made things easier for me.

I was still a mess, but the kindness of this lady made me feel better.

Her promise was never to be kept. So, I got to wondering – is a promise, even to a stranger, a moral imperative?

Are we, as a species, losing our moral compass?

Or is she absolved from any morality because I was a stranger?

Or – as I suspect… Was she merely saying what she needed too to get her through an awkward moment?

But then why make the promise?

I think too many of us find it far too easy to logic away our morality. The world would be a better place if we only made promises we intended to keep – and if we indeed kept them.

And what about implicit promises and morality?

As a human, and supposedly a higher life form, do we not owe it to the world around us, the animals and native peoples who chose simplicity, to be better? Better at protecting them? Better at keeping them around? Better at being compassionate?

Yesterday, I was for the first time in a long time, ashamed to be South African. Don’t get me wrong – I love my country and am a fiercely proud South African.

But yesterday an idiot transporting giraffes in an open topped container alone a major highway, killed one of the giraffes when the giraffe hit its head on a bridge. I have no words.

True – there are idiots everywhere. But this was one of our idiots.

Yesterday, an untouched and remote tribe of people emerged from the Amazon because drug dealers / loggers / governments / whoever had destroyed their way of life. Their home. Their place in the world.

Yesterday a Palestinian baby was buried at the same time as an Israeli soldier.

Have we never had a moral compass? Or is it so bent out of shape by the world we live in that nothing is sacred anymore. All sacrificed to the god of war, money, a quick buck, being right, not being wrong.

I promise to be better.

I promise.

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