I love science and I love spirituality. At times in my life, however, as far as loving humanity… not so much.
Periods of my life when I couldn’t see past our individual penchants for ego and violence, our fascinations with celebrity and money, in order to have any respect for people as a whole. Wars, famine, drought, neglect, extremism, political scandal, religious piety, greed, violence, hatred, fear, they ruled mankind, and I wanted nothing to do with any of it. I got involved with causes not because I loved people, but because I dreamed of a better world.
Now don’t get me wrong,…I like people,…I just hated Humanity with a capital “H”.
I lived with this inner dissonance for years. But as spirit often does it challenged me on my thinking. The first time I remember such a challenge on this issue was when I was in South Korea. I was reading a wonderful book by “Plain Stories by a Grandpa” In it on the very first page was the phrase “Take Humanity Seriously“called
Pshaw! I thought at the time. I will take them seriously when they start acting like human beings instead of starving animals with each other, I will take them seriously when they begin to act for all of humanities good instead of for private profit.
This phrase stuck with me a long time. It would sneak into my thoughts at the most unusual times, each time plucking the chord of that dissonance inside of me and triggering an inner angry response.
Until one day when I began to crack the message that phrase was trying to send me.
You cannot be a voice for peace, a voice for reason, a voice for our better future if you can’t stand the very people you are wanting to help. It was then that I realized the depth of the anger inside me. I realized the discord I have been living with, and the futility of spiritual pursuit for myself until I changed this underlying belief and found a way to make peace with mankind.
That peace is hard fought for, and slow to actualize.
It began with turning all of my interactions in the world into micro-interactions. I stopped watching news, stopped reading the papers, and started to have more one-on-one conversations with individual people about the state of their lives and their perspective on the world. I became curious to hear how others felt about it, adapted to it, dealt with it, I wanted to know if they too struggled with the crushing feeling of powerlessness to make the world better for all of us.
What I found at first was that most people were kind, and that they generally wanted the same things out of life as I did, but that wasn’t very helpful. I wanted to know their take on the “big picture”, the role of humanity as a whole in the pursuit of a better world.
What I found was that most people didn’t think about that.
I could understand.
If we lived in this world in such a way that made sense, one that ensured our continued existence as a species, most people wouldn’t have to think about that. It would just be. But how do we get there from here?
Gandhi once said,
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
That is a very hopeful quote.
Above “Hope” on the emotional scale is “Optimism”. Above “Optimism” is “Positive Expectation/Belief”. Have we risen, since Gandhi’s time from hope to optimism? Can we even begin to reach for expectation or belief?
As we end the Age of Oil, are we ready for the new world we will create?
If the climate does change, are we ready and able to adapt?
As machines replace human labor, are we ready to redefine labor?
As cheap products are 3D printed at home, are we ready to redefine value?
Those are just a few of my “big questions” to Humanity, what are a few of yours?
Without getting too much of a headache these are questions we really should be talking about, but change begins much more locally, it begins inside you. We are all one people, all one planet, and we hold each other in the palms of our hands.
“Taking Humanity Seriously” begins with humanity taking itself seriously.
We begin with where we are right now, which means that we each grab the dial on our inner-dimmer switch and turn it up a notch. Find the issue that keeps bobbing to the surface in your life and focus on it, follow it through. If you are drawn to write a letter to a person of power on an issue you believe in, then do it. If you are drawn to give some money, or, better yet a job to that vet on the street corner, then do it. If you are drawn to realize that your tired of being bitter inside and want to learn to enjoy life again, then do it.
Let this new understanding of the world reflect in all you do, and when incapable of doing better, acknowledge, at least to yourself, that you could have and move on. We are all ‘perceivers’ and ‘choosers’, we perceive the world around us and we choose our course of action. Start acting on what you know, and if you don’t know how you really feel about it take the time to check your gut.
Is Humanity is like an ocean? Then lets begin to clean it up. It is time to identify your deepest held inner discords and bring them back in tune with what you know.
All hands on deck!