Connection, Connection, Connection

I’ve done something horrible—I’ve started reading the news. Actually, I’ve joined a Facebook group where we discuss the news on many levels. In one day I’ll see things about advancements in technologies, the destruction of the ecosystem, the wars in Iran, Syria, and Gaza, the crazy fundamentalism taking over American politics and the rising number of women in college entering the sex trade in order to pay their tuition.
Often, I feel overwhelmed, as if things are speeding into oblivion and I’m just here on the sidelines, watching the ship go down. In my own life, I’m faced with the California drought, and find myself doing rain dances and crossing my fingers that my well won’t run dry. I’m not afraid, but I do wonder, where is this all going?

Why is there strife? Why are we so divided as people? Why is it so hard to understand that we are one race, and the fate of the world affects each of us the same? Right now it seems our xenophobia is about religion and race, and for the most part that’s true. But as I wrote a few weeks ago about artificial intelligence, I think as a people our division is really between those who operate out of scarcity, threat assessment and fear and those who see the connections between the biosphere and our health, between war and endless hate crimes, and between the broken economy and the strife of the poor. Some of us just want to make life harder, and some want to stop the nonsense of killing one another in the name of God, and get down to the business of creating a technologically advanced society alongside the reasonable management of the Earth’s resources.

We’re all part of human history. Our choices matter. Here’s but one example. In the 1950s and 60’s, aboveground testing of nuclear weapons produced large amounts of radioactive carbon that filled our skies. Most of these tests were done on Pacific islands, but we all share the same atmosphere. Thus our air was filled with this radioactive carbon, called C14. So it’s not surprising that one of the places this toxic carbon now shows up is in our teeth! A study in 2005 showed that,

“C14 acts just like regular carbon and can react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. Plants incorporate the radioactive carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. By eating plants and the animals that feed on plants, the C14 concentration in the human body closely parallels that in the atmosphere at any given time.”

Why do I bring this up? Because I believe that at this moment in history, the most important thing we need to understand is that we’re all connected. Our Earth is everyone’s home, and it isn’t right that our governments have been using it as a testing ground for centuries, without any concern for human health.

I fear that it will only get worse as our leaders give more and more of their power to those who simply don’t understand, or don’t care, that we’re all connected. We’re all one. What happens to you, happens to me. If another man kills you, then part of me is also killed.

There’s a name for killing oneself—we call it suicide.

Philosophically, I sense we’re on the path of suicide as a species, and we seem comfortable taking the rest of the world with us. Never mind that perhaps the other species on Earth don’t want to go down in a ball of flames. Some think technology will save us. I’m no longer sure that it can. It would take an invention so amazing that we not only begin to see one another in a new light, we also feel prompted on a mass scale to do something about it.

In the words of Miracle Max from The Princess Bride, “It would take a miracle.”

Modern philosopher, Charles Eisenstein, says that a miracle is something that would be impossible in the old story, but possible in a new one. The old story is the one we’re watching destroy the Earth right now. One of separation, dominance and competition. The new story is one of connection, care and concern. It’s the More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, which happens to be the title of Charles’ latest book. If this is the case, if the solution really is a miracle, then perhaps we will make it. Perhaps there is hope.

It’s a vulnerable place to be, waiting for a miracle. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing those rain dances…

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