The last few months has been filled with a unity amongst strangers that is seemingly impossible to create when there are no overriding, special circumstances. First we had the World Cup where nations from across the World selected their talented team and travelled to Rio to compete in Football’s most glamorous honor. Millions of people undertook the same journey in a bid to support their Country’s attempt to bring home the most iconic of prizes in sport. More recently, the Commonwealth Games has just finished in the UK. Whilst slightly fewer attendees than the World Cup, Nations from the Commonwealth all competed against each other to win the most medals.
What both of these events and previous pan-Global events have done is to create a temporary connection between people. It does not matter if the people were competitors, part of the competing squads, members of the spectating public or indeed the hundreds and thousands of volunteers it takes to put on these events. Every single person, regardless of nationality, color, religion or culture, had a similar interest – the event, supporting it and if applicable, supporting their team. I have personally seen this passionate connection before during the 2012 Olympics. On any given “normal” day, people would pass like strangers on the street, trains or buses without so much as a smile let alone “hello.” However, when the Olympics was going on, people were smiling, interacting and even engaging in actual conversations. Who would have thought, complete strangers enjoying having a conversation with each other?! Then when the event had concluded, “normality” reigned supreme.
This is seen at all events, large or small. It doesn’t matter whether it is a national charity event, a town’s social event or a school’s Parents Association party. At every event, when there is a common connection, people are more open to engage, interact and communicate. When there is not, we are less likely to do so.
The other benefit experienced during these times of temporary connection is a reduced crime rate. For the 2012 Olympics, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said “Over the Olympic period people will be interested to know that early indications are that crime in London went down by about five per cent”. During similar events across the globe, comparable reductions in crime were noted, for example the Beijing Olympics noted over 70 pecent reduction (source Beijing Public Security Office).
I am not naïve to think this was only down to the harmony created by temporarily connected people. Naturally, such events have increased security and policing measures which will, we hope, aid in this reduction. However, we cannot ignore the fact that happy, connected people create harmony and peace.
So the question is, how do we create this connection? I have written before about connections, and whilst they are not always positive affairs, a connection however created is what matters.
We see connections in communities of people all the time. Maybe those who are part of the same family, work for the same company or belong to the same religion. However, these connections that can be transient. These connections can come and go. When you move places of work or where you worship, you no longer see the same people as regularly so that connection will possibly diminish.
We also need to create the connections regardless of those elements. We need to create a connection to others who are in a different religion, different workplace, or even a different country. We need something that creates that connection regardless.
For me, the connection is at the most basic biological and psychological level. There are number of steps I go through when trying to establish, re-establish or reinforce a connection :
- Every single person came into this World in the same way — from the womb of their mother.
- Every single person needs air, food and water to survive.
- Every single person bleeds from an open wound.
- Every single person is trying to go about their daily lives being happy.
- Every single person would never wish to feel pain.
By using those basic points, I can always create a connection and therefore, compassion. Naturally there are deep discussion points in almost every single one listed and whilst incredibly one dimensional in this article, each one is multi-dimensional in life. What I mean is, whilst true that we all try to live our lives in happiness (one dimensional) what makes us happy and removes our happiness is personal and unique to us all (multi-dimensional). Or the fact none of us wish to feel pain (one dimensional), we all have different pain thresholds as well as different things create different pain, e.g., child birth is perhaps a pain that we don’t want to feel but accept (multi-dimensional).
So on face value, the points above will create a connection if you take each and every living being at face value, too.
It is through education and practice that we can instill a connection between every single living being. This connection will create compassion which will lead to peace.
What other points can we use to create a connection?