This essay discusses the concept of kindness in detail and how this phenomenon can be seen in philosophy, religion and literature. Kindness is often regarded as the highest virtue and with good reason.
Kindness can be the compassion one feels for the troubled, the love one has for mankind in general, the concern one shows for those in need and the sympathy one harbors for those in hard times. It is safe to say that Kindness is also a form of worship and an important part of major world religions as well. It is not just an attribute but is a state of constant behavior in some people who wish to spread joy among others – a kind of happiness that knows no boundaries and is as limitless as it is universal. It can be in the form of small acts of everyday life. It is the kindness that makes anyone feel human and sets mankind apart from the rest of the species.
As Mark Twain likes to put it, kindness is the language spoken by the dumb, heard by the deaf and seen by the blind. It can be a smile in passing, a mild disposition, charitable behavior, tenderness, pleasantness or concern and compassion for others. Its importance and paramount position are prominent in many cultures and religions of the world.
Kindness in Philosophy
Rhetoric, Book II by Aristotle declares kindness to be an emotion that drives mankind to extend help to those in need without expecting anything in return. Such an act is born out of nature and is never intended for the benefit of self and is only focused for the good of others. Friedrich Nietzsche also made a point that love and kindness are two of the most curative herbs, which also play an uncanny role in inducing human intercourse. Then again, it goes without saying that kindness is indeed one of the Knightly Virtues.
Kindness in Religion
According to Bible, Kindness is considered as one of the seven virtues or more specifically, it is the opposite of Envy – one of the Seven Deadly Sins and is, therefore, a Contrary Virtue. Talmud, a sacred Jew scripture also lays immense significance on kindness by claiming that kind deeds are equal to all the commandments in weight. In Buddhism, Metta (loving kindness) is one of the Paramitas (Ten Perfections). Similarly, the 14th Dalai Lama declared his religion to be kindness when he penned the book, “Kindness, Clarity and Insight”.
Kindness In Psychology
A study was conducted which included more than 37 cultures of the world and around 16000 subjects were asked to mention the most desirable trait that they wish to see in a mate. Regardless of the gender, the first trait was kindness, and the second preference was given to intelligence.
History of Kindness
All the ancient civilizations such as the ancient Chinese, the Aryans and famous Greeks emphasized the importance of kindness. Many sacred religious scriptures also consist of kindness as their central theme.