Likely you’ve seen the news this week. Attacks, death, fear, and grief seem to be taking over our world. Everywhere it seems like a new horror awaits us. It feels like our world is falling apart.
Certainly we’ve been in the midst of great social upheaval. It started shortly after humans figured out how to use tools and cultivated the land.
Human history is filled with the stories we see on CNN or BBC. The things that happen today trigger fear while history is just a trivia game and source material for the next “Game of Thrones” episode.
Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Which of course, is a rephrasing of a quote from George Santayana (early 20th century philosopher and writer) who really said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Still, even with a solid knowledge of the past the future is a bit murky because there are new factors in play today. Things such as rapid global communications – we not only hear of yet another coup attempt in Turkey, but we get to see it unfold in real-time and not weeks or months later. Seconds after a police shooting the video is uploaded. We see police officers gunned down as it happens.
That puts an immediacy in a world-wide audience. The outrage, the fear, the anger, the hate, the worry, the grief all by viewing a simple headline.
Then as the event passes, the world wants change. People yell for this to stop and then the inevitable arguing starts again – more/fewer guns, more/less police, declare war on this – and nothing real happens to prevent the next outrage.
We should never forget the great quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” (Most often credited to Albert Einstein, but also to Ben Franklin, Alcoholics Anonymous, and as an ancient Chinese proverb.) The problem is that when something bad happens, we react the same, and wonder why it happens again.
It’s time to change the conversation.
It’s time to remember the past and know this will happen again, unless we change.
The world doesn’t have to fall apart. There are plenty of reasons to have hope. Just four years ago I was treated for a cancer that was untreatable just 100 years ago. People are living longer, we have more knowledge and information in our hands than at any other time in human history. There are plenty of good things in this world. There are places where peace and happiness happen.
If only we change us, risk, and have the courage to speak of hope and love.
Oh, I could go on and on about what you should do and how you can fix all this, but my father’s words still ring in my ears – the only one you can change is you. I could try to influence your thinking and actions, but in the end father is right. It’s me that has to change. My actions, my words.
Which is difficult for me. I am by nature a watcher, not a doer. I don’t know if I can change to a doer, but I know I can do more than I do.
I have no real plan, but to start asking different questions and to start saying more. Some of the ideas floating in my head are part of this novel I claim to be writing. I think about today and wonder what kind of world this will become.
Perhaps, I could help change a world with mere words and a simple story.
Perhaps you’ll see more about that here.