Hope and a better world

At this time of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere, I become pensive, especially regarding the state of my world and the larger world around me. I gave up watching and listening to the news many years ago because I found it profoundly disturbing to take in the pervasive levels of fear that seem to coat each item presented in the name of awareness, for the public to consume. And still, the major news of the world sifts into my awareness anyway.

We have three weeks until the tide of light turns and the days begin to lengthen once again. I actually welcome this dark time of year, as I do the long days at the opposite end. Both bring with them the opportunity to purge in different ways. In June, I long for the chance to celebrate the life that surrounds me and expand into the lightness of being that comes with sun and growth. In December, I crawl into my cave, dream my dreams and set my sights on the freshening of hope.

I realize that I’m a little ahead of the game here but I thought that we might need some time to think about this, before the tide of light shifts. I’ve been reflecting this week on how sad I feel when I look at the state of the world. A friend of mine has been sending me articles that remind me that not everything that goes on in the world is reported in the media, and that we must steady our sights on what we strive for, rather than allowing fear to encourage us to lose hope.

Believing that dreams should be made practical in order to manifest, I have set myself the challenge of creating my wish list for a better world. If I were to have the world I could be proud to call home, what would it look like? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. This is a longer posting that I usually write so I hope you will bear with me and take this away as fodder for thought. I recognize that I’m being idealistic and we’re not there yet; that’s the whole point.

My world would be at peace. I believe that constructive conflict in moderation is healthy. It shows us what matters and what is not yet as we would like it to be. However, I don’t believe we’re meant to live in constant anger, nor carry revenge from one generation to the next. It is harmful to the heart, the mind, the body and our communities. It forces us to expend energy and talent on finding ways to defend ourselves and/or defeat the identified enemy. There are surely more valuable things on which to expend our creative energy.

This may be fundamentally linked to my first point but let me make it anyway. I would like every child to grow up knowing that they are valued and unique. Let us measure them by their talents and interests, and encourage them to explore these as the basis of their ongoing contribution to their community. Let us treat them with respect so that they will continue to respect themselves and their fellow human beings. Let us celebrate their mistakes as a way for them to learn how to correct themselves and make different choices next time. If we all had more self confidence, maybe we would be less likely to live in fear.

I’d like my world to be like a web, where everyone is connected to everyone else through the forgiving tension of the web. By ‘forgiving’, I mean that the web has elasticity and doesn’t break as soon as it comes under stress. I would know that I matter because whatever I did in my corner of the web would immediately be felt by the rest of the web, and vice-versa. A web such as this would make borders obsolete. I believe that borders are designed to protect power and that the desire for protection is the result of fear.

A transparent world would be like everyone having telepathy. There’s no point in lying if your thoughts are transparent. No doubt we would have to learn some strong interpersonal skills to deal with the fallout from having our thoughts on public display, but I believe it’s possible. Incorrect assumptions could be dealt with immediately. Public figures would have to tell the truth. Everyone would have to be more self-aware and responsible.

Learning as a way of life
With the amount of information available in our world and the rate of change that we experience, I believe that learning has to be recognized as a way of life. Teachers have always walked among us and should not be relegated to institutions, with low recognition. We are all teachers when it comes to what we have a talent for and are passionate about. Learning is not something that we only do at school and information shouldn’t be treated as a commodity for those who have the money to pay for it. In my preferred world, we would learn as we felt the need and teach as we had the talent.

Money as energy
I don’t pretend to have the answer to the problem of the equal distribution of money in our world but I confess that I do not like the way it works at the moment. I had exposure to an ‘alternative economic system’ when I lived in Scotland and I liked it. It had potential to be more equitable than our current system which seems usurious to me. Units of barter in an alternative system could be treated as energy that ebbs and flows over time. What’s important is that we keep the units moving, through each person’s spending and earning, and not that we accumulate more than we need or that we go into deepening debt. In my ideal world, people’s worth would be measured by their unique talent and their contribution and not by their bank balance or accumulation of things.

Beliefs that enrich
I see other people’s beliefs as part of the mosaic of humanity and not as a threat to my way of life. Language, culture, religion, food and ritual all make our world a richer tapestry. I would hate to have a homogenous world. On the other hand, belief systems that are intolerant of others’ rights to believe differently are not compatible with the idea of an interconnected web. Ultimately, we will have to come to a global consensus about values that we can all live with, that are mutually respectful and tolerant, otherwise we will not survive to live another day.

Our health and that of the planet
This ties back into our being interconnected. I believe we should treat our bodies the way we treat the planet and our planet the way we treat our bodies. We may have a self-aware brain but that doesn’t give us the right to destroy the natural balance of the planet. In fact, I think it brings a unique responsibility to keep things in balance and not doing so will be to our peril. Finding ways to cure diseases is no great feat when we engineered the conditions that created the diseases in the first place. A healthy body is a balanced body and the same goes for the planet. We have the talent, the ingenuity and the will to clean up the planet and our bodies, and keep them that way. My ideal world is a balanced one.

* * *

I think that’s as long as I can stretch your attention for this week. I hope what I’ve written here inspires thought. Nothing I’ve mentioned is rocket science. It probably isn’t even complete, but I hope it’s positive. It is my fervent wish that there are many more people than just me out there, who see opportunities to create positive change for our future. I hope that there are people working on it as I write this. Blessings on them, whoever and wherever they are. I may not know what they’re doing but they do. I hope they know they aren’t alone. I hope someone spreads the stories about what they’re up to so we can all be inspired and reassured as we approach the solstice time this year.

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