There has been an outpouring of love and solidarity because of the tragic and terrific blood-letting in Paris this weekend. It has been a synchronous focus on thought, feeling and action by millions around the world. That is good.
The answers proposed have ranged from black to white, from vengeance to forgiveness. (My preference is at the “healing the wounds” end of the spectrum, rather than at the “ripping more flesh apart” end.) The personal grief is inevitably traumatic. The reasons for young people to wreak blood and havoc and kill themselves are difficult to imagine, let alone comprehend. But there are answers – there must be: we are humans and we can do it all.
So what will we choose?
Walking around the garden as the light fades and the wind builds to another stormy night, it seems clear that the warnings are coming thick and fast. It seems as though everyday another report comes in of violence, terror, corruption and injustice, and of storm, drought, flood, habitat destruction and species loss. You can see, hear, feel the immorality of human systems and the pain of nature. Do we look, listen, touch?
There are two kinds of people: People who can see what’s going on and do something about it (i.e. you, people with access to media, educated etc). The more resources they have, the more they can do something about it. The other kind of people who are those who are too poor to be able to know what’s going on (most people know corruption when they see it and crazy weather when it passes), or if they do, live subsistence lives so have fewer choices.
It is increasingly evident that of those of us who can act, some act and others don’t. Some have realised that the system must change and others continue to turn a blind eye. Those who have realised it start with awareness and gradually start to change their behaviour, from diet to lifestyle to job to investment, commitment and philanthropy.
Others who turn a blind eye, should open them. Elites – the people who influence and control human system (millionaires etc) – seem to be predominantly in the blind eye department. That’s bad.
It must be that rich people are ignoring the obvious because they are the ones that determine the system, which is not working, and they remain largely ignorant of how to change the system and what to change it to. Even when the how and what are obvious, admission of the need and course are slow, implementation is sluggish and patchy.
Here’s a quick example: behaviour change is nurtured with education, but education systems are well behind the curve. (Many observe that terrorism is inculcated by misinformation which would be hindered if critical thinking, even thinking, was a basic product of universal education.)
And a biosphere dysfunction example: 2015 is the hottest year on record and climate has risen 1 degree already yet fossil fuel companies are still subsidised and the so called “Sustainable Development Goals” are still talking about growth.
That’s the situation in a nutshell. Things are bad. We know how to change. Too few of the people at the top are changing.
That’s a dangerous recipe. You, like me, can make a difference. Let’s all take a step in the right direction. Slow down. Take a breath. Say sorry. Change the system from fear and greed to love and sharing. Do it now. May be we’ve still got time.