Has the west finally woken up?

I have noticed something recently.

On my way to work, after brunch on Saturdays, walking through the park.

I have noticed, more than ever before, passer-by's conversing with the homeless. Not throwing a pound in a hat or buying a 99p filter coffee for them from Pret, but actually stopping and holding proper conversations with them. Human interaction; the lucky ones showing genuine care for a fellow being who has the same beating heart and powerful mind - but who lost their luck someway along the line.

And it made me think why? Why all of a sudden am I seeing this. I am almost certain it isn’t because I haven’t been paying attention, I honestly think it’s happening more.

Is the West finally waking up? Are we realising that the things that define us in our culture such as job, postcode and clothes actually have little meaning when our country is trying to be ripped apart by hatred? Are we becoming to realise that we are stronger together regardless of status or possessions?

I was very lucky I began to wake up a little before the rest of the West; which in my opinion was during the second half of 2016 - a combination of BREXIT and Trump’s success. Also strangely, I believe, that the death of an unusual amount of high-profile figures passing away accelerated things. The perfect high and lowbrow combination. But I believe my journey began whilst I was travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam and India during Spring 2016.

It shone a perspective on the world that I had come from. A world filled with greed, fakeness and pessimism. These lands were scattered with residents who were raw, respectful and aware. I understand that there are many other differences in the West and East; with some traditions in the East being hard to comprehend. But on this simple basis of how a culture delivers itself and see’s the world - it was a stark contrast to my homeland. People had closed their eyes, consumerism had taken over, the internet had muted human conversation, faith was becoming less and less important and WhatsApp statuses overshone education statues.

Strangely enough as I began to write this entry, I saw articles across a variety of platforms echoing my same thoughts. Grazia (above) included an article regarding how a new definition of ‘woke’ is being added to the Oxford English Dictionary whilst the Evening Standard magazine paid tribute to London’s resilience in the face of tragedy and terror with various collector’s edition covers. I thought Anish Kapoor’s (below) was simply stunning.

In terms of politics, economy, health services, and international relations we are on rocky, unstable ground. Maybe we needed to feel insecure on the outside to give us the opportunity to look inside and realise that the most powerful tools in these situations are not money, careers or airmiles but the heart, soul and mind.

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Verity Brown