Skip to main content

The world as we have created it

I was watching these beautiful young people from Greece being interviewed on the news the other night. They were so bright and articulate and attractive, so full of life in the midst of the harsh austerity measures and turmoil going on in their country. They seemed caught in looks of not exactly fear but of hesitation, of simply not being sure what will be next for them.

The world is going through a turbulent time of change and transition. So much of Europe is caught in furious winds of upheaval. The economies of Greece, Germany, England, Italy, and others are, like our own, shaky and unpredictable at the moment. We’re all facing enormous challenges.

People in countries like Egypt, Syria, Russia, and Libya are demanding a new way of life. The past for them is obsolete, intolerable. They want more freedom, a fairer economy, cultural renewal, and a political system that is open and without the domination of cruel and corrupt dictators and demagogues.

Africa, in spite of small signs of reform in certain places, is still a vast country of war, famine, poverty, political exploitation and brutality. The voices there are often silenced by an impenetrable wall of indifference from the rest of the world.

There is a very real, very palpable longing in people all over the world today for life experiences that transcend the difficult circumstances of their lives. And there seems to be a cry everywhere for brotherhood, for mutual understanding and solidarity.

We focus so often on all of the things that divide us from others. There is especially a fear of religious tolerance in our world. Why are we all so worried about how other people in the world worship? Or who they worship? Shouldn’t religion pull us together on some important level? Shouldn’t our faith cause us to be understanding of others, to respect the right of people to choose whatever expression of faith strengthens and sustains them?

I like the European Union’s motto: “United in Diversity.” Why can’t we all support that effort? It seems to me as though that would be the perfect approach for all religious groups in the world today.

All of this talk in our country about going to war with Iran. Does that bother anyone besides me? What are we thinking? Honestly. What’s wrong with us?

I understand all of the hype about Iran developing a nuclear weapon and so forth. But why is Iran not permitted to defend herself? Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons. Pakistan and India have them. Russia of course has them. And we have enough of them to destroy the entire world many times over and we’re developing new ones.

I find a disturbing sense of arrogance in that. It seems like a very real abuse of power on our part. Of course people will say we are just defending ourselves? Really? Iran has not declared war on us.

It seems more like we use threats to control the destiny of other countries. Who gave us that authority?

“The world as we have created it,” wrote Einstein “is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Shouldn’t we be further along in our thinking about the world today? Isn’t it time we worked as hard and spent as much money on peace, cooperation, understanding and unity with other nations as we do on aggression, threats, and war?

I don’t know a single one of those lovely young people in Greece I saw on the news the other night. But I somehow feel linked to them. I want their economy to survive; their country to make it. I want that for Iran and all the other nations of the world, too.

What is so wrong with that?

© 2012 Timothy Moody


Popular posts from this blog

The Light in the Faces of Our Incredible Human Family

National Geographic Journalist Paul Salopek is walking across the world on foot to trace the pathways of the first humans who wandered out of Africa in the Stone Age to claim the earth as theirs. His journey will cover 21,000 miles and is estimated to take 10 years. He is four years into his massive expedition and already he has discovered that humanity is mostly kind and generous, welcoming and caring, hard-working and disciplined.
I watched a brief piece about Salopek’s journey on the PBS News Hour this week. I have included a link below.
What is extraordinary about his adventure is his realization that in spite of all the wars and turmoil across the globe, he has learned that “The world is an incredibly hospitable place.” In following the ancient trade route called “The Silk Road,” Salopek has gotten to know a variety of people young and old. And though he has so far encountered a few dangerous situations where he had his water supply stolen, was once ambushed by raiders, and was sho…

Our National Lack of Self-esteem

There is a brokenness in our society, a pervasive moral collapse, a reckless disregard for community, neighborliness, courtesy, and compassion.
Our government leads by this example. Both parties are incompetent to guide us into a more responsible living, into a serviceable structure of humanity. Our leaders are dominated by greedy oligarchs who don’t just want more, they want everything, even if it costs our society its dignity, its soul, even its future.
What is on display here daily is a wretched lack of self-esteem. The loss now influences all of us. We’re all affected in ways that keep us shamed by our actions.
When we feel powerless, aimless, without any higher goals than the accumulation of things and the momentary thrill, we then mute our intelligence. We live by raw emotions—anger, appetite, urges. We don’t think, we don’t consider, we merely react. We push. We disregard. We threaten. We act out. And we fail.
Self-esteem is a learned process. It builds on genuine successes that ar…

Is the Soul Solid, like Iron?

Mary Oliver has a beautiful little poem in which she asks:

“Is the soul solid, like iron?
or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?”

It is both.

The soul, we are told by philosophers, theologians, and mystics, is our essence, the permanence of our true self. It is that part of us that lives beyond death. Or so we are taught by religion. Where exactly the soul exists beyond that, has of course, been long debated.

There are times in life when something deep within us is, as Mary Oliver says, solid as iron and we operate out of some sense of aliveness, confidence, and inner strength. It may be fleeting, but there when needed; or it may carry us through long periods of endurance when we build a sturdy self, confident and capable of our abilities and talents.

This is the work of the soul. This is a part of our spiritual development. This is what enables us to believe there are forces in life, loving and generous and mystical, that nurture and compel us tow…