Look into my Eyes

Eyes are the windows to the soul.

While I am not religious, more a secular humanist, the Bible is one of the sources for the origin of this truism and does contain some wise, if often ignored, quotes.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(Author Note: in the original Greek the word translated as healthy in this version originally meant generous and the word unhealthy meant stingy. It’s one of those complications of texts (in the original sense) translated from Aramaic to Greek to Old Latin to New Latin to German to Old English to New English)

Matthew 6:22-23 

In these times of masks, we are forced to discern a person’s reaction to us through their eyes.  Beneath the mask, there may be a smile, or a frown, hidden by the necessities of the times. Yet the eyes tell a story.

We now “see” how eyes “light up” when one smiles. Or how they grow narrow and “darken” when there is anger or uncertainty.

We are like a person who suddenly loses one of their senses, forced to rely more heavily on the others to make up the information deficit.

The fact of the matter is, depending on which study you read, somewhere between 55-90% of communication is non-verbal.  Obviously, seeing a smile or frown or clenched lips would play a major part in such communication.  Lacking that, we are forced to rely on the next most obvious, the eyes.

While body language—gestures, stance, distance, actions—all play a part, it is in the eyes one has the best chance of recognizing someone else’s attitude toward you.

There is a definite change in the eyes when one smiles, and it is apparent if one takes the time to look for it.  Given that all the considerate people in the world are wearing masks, learning to read eyes is an invaluable skill.

Encountering someone in public not wearing a mask, even if they are smiling, engenders its own meaning. But there is still a message in the eyes.  In most cases it will be one of confrontational embarrassment for their lack of public responsibility.

But no matter.  Soon, perhaps not soon enough, we will be in the time of the great unmasking. When smiles once again emerge into our menu of communication skills. It would do us well to hang onto the skills of reading eyes.

For if the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, even a smile cannot serve as an opaque enough curtain to hide the truth.

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R.O.A.R.: Simple Rules for American Lives

If the evidence is to be believed, something that should be, well, self-evident, the US is performing like an amateur boxer facing Muhammed Ali when it comes to managing the pandemic.

At just over 4.4% of the world’s population, we hold the unenviable claim to almost 25% of the world’s cases of COVID-19. Plus 138,358 of the 577,954 who have died so far. But this is not a criticism of our response as a nation, there is plenty already written about that.

No, this is more personal.

This is a criticism of our behavior as something that transcends our status as Americans. It is our conduct as humans that requires serious attention.

Somehow, in our impatience, sense of entitlement, or just plain selfishness, we seem to have forgotten our responsibilities and covered them over with a claim to certain rights.

If we would just learn to R. O. A. R with common decency, we might rehabilitate ourselves in the eyes of the world (and perhaps save a few Americans from needless death.)

Rights carry Obligations, and Ability is tempered by Responsibilities.

Roar, you say? How does one roar and keep a semblance of rationality? Easy, like the memory aids we all learned as children, if one follows these simple steps.

Rights are inherent to all humans, they are enshrined in our Constitution, but these rights come with…

Obligations. We have an obligation to behave in a manner that does not put others at risk. These obligations may present a roadblock to certain things you wish to do. But do not confuse can with should. There is a difference. And it is defined as…

Abilities. You can do or refuse to do many things. Wearing a mask to protect your fellow humans is a simple yet effective example. You can wear a mask, or you can refuse, but wearing one implies you understand another cornerstone of mature behavior…

Responsibility. We must be responsible for our behavior toward others. And we have a reasonable expectation for them to behave responsibly in kind.

So there you have it. Remember this simple meme.

ROAR

Rights carry Obligations, and Ability is tempered by Responsibilities.

It’s not that hard.  

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A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin Haupt. An inspiring story of an ordinary man who became an extraordinary hero during one of the darkest times in the world. Click image to read more.

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Forbidden Emotions: The Key to Healing by Marti Murphy

Finding a way to a healthier, happier life by understanding and managing our “Forbidden Emotions.”

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