I was honoured to be asked to participate in the Charter for Compassion short film in which a number of Australians gave their views on what compassion means to them. It was very rewarding to watch as social web tools were pressed into the service of doing good in the world, with no commercial objective.

More importantly, it was a genuinely humbling experience, not only because of the stories I heard during the filming, but also because thinking about the word and the concept made me realise how deeply held my belief in the importance of compassion is, how I often overlook this amidst the noise and distraction of my busy modern existence and how fervently I believe I need to act with compassion in order to feel a sense of ease and self-worth.

The brief connections and tiny interactions we carry out every day are charged with potential; each one is the chance to change someone’s life for the better. What I do at work is all about these moments of contact, and since I have no problem with the notion of “adding value” to interactions on behalf of a brand, or in a commercial context, why don’t I invest every single moment in my personal life with the same weight?

Because I’m tired, or preoccupied, or running late, because trying to understand why you’re being obnoxious is more effort than dismissing you, because if I give two dollars to this guy I’ll feel guilty for not doing the same to the next person who asks, because frankly I don’t like the look of you, because I’m having a irksome day…these are all reasons to not act with compassion.

But I want to live in a world where strangers smile at each other, where children don’t die of neglect in the middle of large cities, where we help isolated, damaged people rather than ignoring them, where we welcome outsiders into our communities, where we reach out with kindness to someone every single day of our lives. If I want to live in this world, I have to create it myself, and this is my commitment to doing that.  It’s not an avowal of sainthood, just a recognition that all good practice comes from mindfulness.

Because one day I might be down, and I hope you’ll be there to lift me up.

I was privileged enough to be interviewed along with some inspiring people:

In order of appearance, they are: Adriano Zumbo, (me), Dr Stephen Saunders, Neil Perry, Melissa Leong, Barry Saunders, Mitzi Macintosh, Mark Pollard, Julie Posetti, Venerable Sujato Bhikkhu, Gavin Heaton, Reverend Raymond Minniecon, Bronwen Clune, Reverend Bill Crews, Rabbi Mendel Castell, Graham Long and Tim Burrowes.

Learn more and affirm the Charter now at charterforcompassion.org.


Thanks to Natalie for inviting me to get involved.

Australians on Compassion from TED Prize on Vimeo.
The Charter is here:
[clearspring_widget title=”Charter for Compassion” wid=”4af95b8ceddf6dab” pid=”4b00db2ad04293a8″ width=”560″ height=”340″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

3 thoughts on “The Charter for Compassion: using our social media powers for good

  1. Pingback: Twitted by picsiechick

  2. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  3. I came across your blog today and am looking forward to reading the archives!
    This post resonated so loudly with me I have though similar things more than once.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s