THE BLOG

Be Planetary: Compassion And Community

11/05/2015 11:58 BST | Updated 09/05/2016 10:59 BST

I chose to leave the Community in which I live this weekend to come to Chiang Mai and spend some quality time honouring my friend and mentor who died on Wednesday.

He was a human being, just like you and I; he had his struggles, as we all do, he wanted to be happy and healthy, and to provide for his family. When it comes down to it, all human beings have the same basic fears and desires.

But instead of recognising this, celebrating this and honouring this with compassion and support towards one another, friend or not, we ignore it. We differentiate and focus on being bigger, better, richer, stronger than the next. We climb the ladder and join corporations that prioritise profit and growth. We forget who we are, underneath it all. We are human, or, as this new documentary would have it, 'planetary'.

I found out this morning that I have been overcharged again this month by around £35 in voicemail charges. After complaining last month to my mobile phone company when I was overcharged, I spoke to a 'human being' via Live Chat who assured me that dialling 1760 would disable my voicemail. I now know that this only works in Europe. There is no way, at all, that I can find, having scoured the forums, to disable voicemail while outside of Europe. And since I am unable to return to the UK until July, the result is that I will continue to be charged for messages that are left on my unwanted, unmanned voicemail until then.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a company is a living thing; it's a body made up of human beings like you and me that love their families, fear losing loved ones, have insecurities, hopes and their own bills to pay. They all have a moral compass; they know right from wrong.

I understand that turning off your voicemail before you go abroad is advice that is buried deep down somewhere within this company's website, and yes, with hindsight, which is of course 20/20, I should have done this. But I didn't know at the time, and is it right that there should be no Plan B, no 'in the event that you forget to do this' option dreamed up by all those clever people in multiple departments, some of which exist solely and have a big budget for improving the company's relationship with its customers? Is it right that I should now pay who knows how much, £30 per month maybe in unnecessary charges, when I have no income and (because I am human) I missed something?

What is going on here?? Humans, can't we stand with each other? Can't we have more compassion? Can't we stop struggling, just for a while? Imagine that, a day, maybe a week, or a whole month where there was no struggle. Imagine a lifetime like that. We helped one another, we listened to strangers, we spoke and acted with humanity; instead of channeling the spirit of consumerism and capitalism, we acted as a community.

We don't need to put ourselves in others' shoes, because we are all already in each others' shoes; we are all human. We breathe, we live, we die, and that is all. There is nothing else. Please, wake up everyone. I'm tired of all this, aren't you? It has gone on long enough.