Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 109

A World Human Day

Maybe we need a holiday to come together to overcome our group conflicts and global challenges.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

In my last column on Friday, I reported on an observation by a colleague that the day not only celebrated the Christian Good Friday and Jewish Passover within the month of Ramadan, but also the Cambodian New Year. After it was published, the colleague conveyed that the New Year was also celebrated is such other Asian countries as Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

I wondered about the psychological ramifications of such close-in-time celebrated days, and that they can reflect the best ideals, but occasionally the worse of our cross-cultural relationships. This time, the best seemed to be conveyed in many media presentations providing hope for rebirth and renewal, especially with society opening up again. But hope needs action, and some of the action we got more reflected the worst with an outbreak of violence in a Jerusalem area holy for Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

That got my colleague and I wondering about whether there is another way to celebrate these special days and what they represent at best. I wondered whether there is—or should be—an overriding holiday that celebrates all humans. I found the International Day of Peace on September 21, World Kindness Day on November 13, and World Humanitarian Day on August 17. Though Humanitarian Day is close, it was not what I was after, but made me think of something like a World Human Day. We seem to need a psychological personal identification with all humans besides our own tribes to overcome our group conflicts and global challenges.

Certainly, we saw an example of that last week, when the CNN Jewish male correspondent born in the US received a life-saving kidney from a female Muslim woman born in Iran. The challenge is to make that personal compassion and gift collective. That can be the goal of a World Human Day.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.