Kindness. Contemplation. Creation. Connection.
What’s in a flag?
I’ve been thinking about the significance of flags again, and as I was pondering the question today, I happened to look up from the computer and at a book that was my dad’s: Flags Through the Ages and Across the World by Dr. Whitney Smith published in 1975.
So, what’s in a flag? Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
“…[F]lags have certain inherent advantages which have made them among the oldest of human symbols and at the same time the most modern.
The plasticity of a flag allows it to attract, hold, and focus attention on a particular message…[.] Individuals and groups at every level of literacy and political sophistication are affected by the compactness of flags, their brilliant colors and designs, simplicity of form, and arresting mobility. Flags are a basic component in innumerable social settings. Sometimes noticed only when missing, they may also be deployed – as in a parade or rally – as a major factor in the molding of attitudes.
…Nothing need be said about the visual and artistic appeal of flags; words could scarcely improve on the impact made by a handsome flag floating in the breeze, even as represented by an artist on the printed page… Nor is it surprising that pieces of cloth embodying so much human effort tell fascinating stories.
Flags may themselves rarely be the center of human political and social activity, yet throughout history flags of one kind or another have always expressed the deepest feelings of those at the center – and of those who want to be.”
Hmmm… In the case of the Kindness Flag Project, what is this “centre” that people are expressing the feeling of? The centre of what? Is kindness the centre of human activity? I believe it is, and we often forget that it is. This tells me that the Kindness Flag Project reinforces our deepest feelings of compassion, understanding, similarity, community, openness – feelings that are at the centre of what it is to be human and in relationship with each other and other beings, what it means to “inter-be”, in the words of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.