Like so many I have spent the last few days feeling deep despair. There is so much death, so much unnecessary death and suffering everywhere on this beautiful planet of ours. Life was magically created here out of dust and stars and every single one of us is failing to honour this gift of existence. Mankind is broken and we’re all responsible. We must be. Everything is connected.
The difficulties facing us are so many, so huge, and so complex that it’s difficult to know where to start with the process of making things better. The countless conversations I’ve had over the weekend, both face to face and virtually, are testament to that. They covered everything from religion, to anomie, to the hypocrisy of western government, to the absence of compassion in society and the conversations raised many more questions than answers.
One point that seemed to surface again and again is that a change of perspective is needed. If the human race is to survive we have to stop seeing ourselves as separate; our actions discrete and our individual existence special.
There is a Ted Radio Hour episode called ‘How it All Began” which explores our origins as a species. It is a mind blowing programme designed to make you think. One of the more extraordinary revelations that has been knocking around in my brain ever since I heard the podcast, is that we’re all basically related. Every single human has the same basic elements of DNA from one mitochondrial Eve. So the borders, the distinctions, the differences, the inequalities that we seem to value so highly are all just constructs created by man for his own ends.
If there is no such thing as race, just the human race, then why are we so determined to destroy ourselves either directly through violence or indirectly by ignoring those in need?
It seems to me that it’s because we choose to see ourselves as somehow different; as better or worse than others, as more important or less important than others, as citizens of an arbitrarily designated chunk of land mass rather than citizens of the world.
It’s a matter of survival, if we want to succeed we’re going to have to consider the whole, to see that actions big and small affect us all and every one of us must lead by example.
Where do we go from here? Well…
We can begin by choosing to see the similarities between us, rather than the differences. We can begin with empathy and understanding. We can begin with acts of kindness. We can begin with compassion. We can begin with making decisions that make the world a better place for the many and not the few. We can begin by creating new stories based on our shared future, rather than our fractured past.
We can begin by reaching out.