Last night I downloaded my most recent copy of Rolling Stone.

It was eagerly anticipated. I knew that this edition had been ‘a sellout’ largely due to a controversial, albeit clever-marketing, decision to put Jahar Tsarnaev on its cover – usually a place of fame.

I immediately reflected that just a few months ago, as I was on my way to present a workshop on the island of Batam, I too had been thinking about the ramifications of the actions and the reactions to, the Boston bombers.

On that plane trip to Batam I had been reading a local English newspaper called The Jakarta Globe and I had come upon the attached essay entitled “The Noble Heart”, written by Desi Anwar. Desi’s a senior anchor on Metro TV and a she’s very good writer. I like to watch her interviews and to read her columns.

In this essay she uses the events that occurred in Boston earlier this year as a starting point to reflect further on the dichotomy between the mind and the heart, and our response to those in need.

“When it comes to human nature, however, my impulse is to view it with a lens of cynicism. Human beings for the most part are narrow-minded, envious, suspicious, not to mention selfish and greedy. We are creatures that take greater pleasure in wallowing in self-pity, harboring hatred and resentment and in viewing the world with a jaundiced eye, than in indulging in touchy-feely emotions or celebrating the milk of human kindness. Except perhaps in those rare moments of need.” 

She takes inspiration from an interviewee whom she had recently met, a Tibetan Buddhist leader.

I invite you to read Desi’s entire essay and reflect on another problem that she highlights herein viz. that “there is something wrong with the way we live our lives. We equate the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of wealth, and we judge those who are rich as having greater value than those who are poor.”