Angus MacPhail: The power of goodness is alive and well on the West Coast

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Despite the obvious shortcomings, mankind has a tremendous amount of good to share.

Yes, we are reminded in the media every day of the world’s man-made problems, the results of selfishness, short-sightedness, jealousy, prejudice, greed, and the general lack of empathy that has developed since we emerged from the mud. Conflict, war and destruction, and the poverty, hunger, death and misery they cause are the self-inflicted results of these flaws.

However, in a balance that is reflective of the inexplicable wonder of the world, there is equally a power of goodness running through humanity that shows itself just as strongly in selflessness, kindness, forgiveness, love, healing and a natural willingness and instinct to help our fellow human beings.

The ongoing battle between these two opposing forces and all the complicated grey areas in between is, of course, one of the age old anomalies of life and is in the backbone of religion and philosophy throughout the world.

In our everyday lives, it is valuable to note when we are the recipients of the ingrained goodness of humanity.

During the festive season especially, with Christmas just past and with the New Year on the near horizon, when we are all thinking of new beginnings and of slightly realigning our lives to create a brighter future, it is particularly pertinent to be aware of the value of human kindness.

In a very localised and simple way, the intrinsic goodness in mankind was displayed beautifully in the music world of the West Coast in the lead-up to Christmas and Skipinnish was privileged to have been one of the recipients of this natural and genuine reflex of goodwill and support.

Very sadly, our lead singer Norrie MacIver suffered a close and sudden family bereavement the week before Christmas, which meant he had to get home to Lewis and was going to miss gigs on each of the four consecutive days after he received the bad news.

The immediate willingness to help from the lead singers of other bands and their colleagues was humbling.

Complicated busy schedules were changed, new repertoire learned at breakneck speed, important family time missed, and sacrifices to their own bands’ timetables were made in order to assist in an emergency.

Not all the help made available was needed in the end but the offers were appreciated.

In other industries, or with different individuals involved, this reflex to help would not have occurred.

At worst, in the ways reflective of the flaws of humanity discussed at the beginning of this piece, disinterest would have been shown in our unfortunate situation and the perceived short-term advantage over a ‘rival’ might even have been relished.

That is not how bands operate in this part of the world and it was heartening to see that being shown by example last week.

This outlook of unquestioning help to others when in need is a very powerful strand of life to nurture as the dawn of the new year approaches.

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