The Human Experience is a documentary that follows two brothers who immersed themselves in other people’s experiences to better understand their struggles and to search for the answer to the question: what does it mean to be human? In the first experience, the young men live with the homeless in New York for a week in one of the coldest winters.
We forget that homeless people are humans just like us. They are often marginalised by society. However, they go through much more than we can imagine. Sleeping on the streets in winter cold in a carton box, not knowing if they would ever lay on a bed or have a roof over their heads, the lack of stability, the feeling of vulnerability, the humiliations, yet they strive to keep living.
People survive differently and resort to different things to keep them going for example the homeless man who chose alcoholism to numb the pain and survive. It’s easy to yield to the temptation of judging others for their actions and choices, but we don’t know their stories.
It is important to be concerned for the good of others, be kind, generous and respect human dignity. People need other things apart from money – they need food, clothing, shelter – we need to be sensitive to the needs of people around us. The story of the lady whose dogs were taken away to help them, while she was left on the streets shows how much value we place on human life. It was ok to take care of her dogs but what about her? We need to treat humans right and respect their dignity. If we appreciate our self-worth then we should also appreciate that of others, we are no different from the homeless.
We should be grateful for the things we have and enjoy the little pleasures of life such as family and friends because there are people out there wishing for what we have now. It is important to stay humble and grounded. Never lose touch with reality. God has a purpose for all of us – homeless or otherwise. We need to figure out what really is our purpose in life and then work towards achieving it. It was interesting to see that a homeless person can still be happy and hopeful and that one can find strength in hope. If hope dies, the will to live dies.