I saw this photo a few weeks ago and it's resonated with me ever since. History books and other types of media have shown us that less than a century ago, it was socially normal to, not only acknowledge others' presence but to know the people around you--in your town, neighboring towns, schools, etc. There existed mom-and-pop shops and there was an unspoken trust between members of the same community. My dad likes to share an anecdote that he used to be able to walk to the corner store as a young child and pick up cigarettes for his father. Today, that is absolutely unheard of. That's only an example, of course, as kids today would abuse that privilege if society were in the state it is now.
Other activities like lending and borrowing between neighbors is also obsolete. There's no such thing as borrowing a cup of sugar. As a matter of fact, when I was in middle school, my mother asked me to borrow a cup of milk from a neighbor while realizing she'd run out while baking a birthday cake. To this day, I remember the experience. The neighbor answered the door, perturbed, and treated me as I was terribly inconveniencing him. At the end of the exchange he told me that next time, my mother should go to the store if she needs groceries.
I've found the words in the image to be very true. Too often, I feel like I must implicitly make a gesture clarifying that my words or actions are friendly and contain no ulterior motives. How sad it is that kind actions are always questioned. Human beings don't even say hi to each other anymore when passing on the street. We'll do anything to avoid eye-contact with strangers.
I'm speaking, of course, only of the US because it's the culture I experience everyday. But when did we adopt, as a society, the "This is mine. Get your own." mentality? How much worse can it get? And can common courtesy, trust, and compassion ever return?
Very sad, indeed.