Earth is alive and everything upon her is connected as one body. Each decision we make, therefore, has a ripple effect. I've struggled to integrate Gandhi's most poignant imperative -I must be the change I wish to see in the world. We must realize our responsibility in the global perspective and that our perspective has an impact on the entire world.
We must drop the notion that reality is objective, that we are just players on a stage. WE ARE THE STAGE. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can end global suffering.
I recommend the documentary, "I AM", which I found recently on Netflix. The film explores our interconnectedness and its implications for personal responsibility. It was made by Tom Shadyac, a Hollywood movie maker who has also made some popular comedies. He sets a pretty impressive example for people who want to be the change (but I won't spoil that part for my readers).
The documentary describes how, when Charles Darwin wrote "The Descent of Man" (1871), he mentioned 'survival of the fittest' twice and he mentioned the word 'love' 95 times. He talked a lot about behaviors like cooperation and conciliation. He found in mammals all of the lineaments for the golden rule, for the great religious ideals. He presented the world as both cooperative and competitive.
Darwin was interpreted and popularized by Aldous Huxley, who had a much gloomier idea of the human nature. He depicted the natural world as an anarchy of the strong treading the weak. He created a ripple effect with his idea of the 'selfish gene'.
Selfishness and self-interest have been taught to us, however, and are not a natural part of being an Earthling. Even the 'lower species' exist in interdependent communities.
Darwin argued that while we are not faster or stronger than any other species, what we have is the ability to cooperate and take care of others. Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. The people who popularized Darwin ignored those parts of his teachings.
In the film, wisdom pours out directly from the lips of another evolutionary figure of recent history - Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
"The sea is really only drops of water that have come together. You come into being because a community of two persons happened," Tutu said. "So, the truth of who we are is that we are because we belong."
How can we ensure that sense of belonging, without instilling the non-sense of entitlement that has nearly destroyed our planet? Mother Theresa suggests, "Not all of us do great things. But we can all do small things with great love." Indeed, if we don't exercise our hearts now, there is no hope for humanity!
In his book "Man's Rise to Civilization" (1969), Peter Farb noted that in every 'uncivilized' culture, one thing the many different tribes had in common was the idea that the accumulation of property beyond your need was considered a mental illness. It is beyond crazy that so many are dying of starvation while others grow fatter by the minute.
I believe that it is my responsibility to put an end to the insanity. It is also your responsibility. We all vote for how the world looks, with our every day choices. Shadyac quotes Howard Zinn in saying, "You can't be neutral on a moving train," adding that those moving trains today are still hunger, human rights, war, and the devastation of the natural world.
To make any change in this world, it must be done from within individual lives. The fastest way to create change in a life is through prayer.
How do you know you can't have change if you haven't asked for change? How do you know you can't be part of co-creating a better world?
I know things can change. I know I AM a part of it.
I may be one of the only sane ones left, but that's a great start.