We’re a species adrift in a sea of change that is quickly turning into a moral, social, and political mire. We spend too much time squabbling amongst ourselves over non-issues when the biggest problems are staring us right in the face. Extremism, jingoism, xenophobia, homophobia; these are all things that we can end in our lifetimes if we choose to. We don’t need a team of superheroes to show us how to be good human beings, we just need to stand-up and choose to be good human beings to begin with. I can say with almost complete certainty that given a choice and enough meaningful (and true) information about something that we are uncertain of, afraid of, or hateful toward most people would probably choose to leave a person or situation be the way it is while they have the choice to live their lives as they see fit. What we are cyclically attempting to break out of in the human experience is very simple: misinformation (or even conscious ignorance) and the capacity for fear born out of that choice or illusion.
We live in a world now that is only a few keystrokes from the largest repositories of real-time information at any given moment. We can look up historical information on our smart phones, we can visualize financial information and not only display it but modify and project into the future on laptops and tablets, and we are continually finding new ways to utilize existing server and cluster architecture to calculate and visually represent both ‘hard’ logical data such as statistics, chemical, material, and physics modeling to giving life to a creative venture on the big (or as it is often seen now) the little screen… yet our basic capacities for understanding another person, empathizing, and broadening our meaningful knowledge-base have atrophied. We’ll run across town for a sale on designer clothes and shoes, yet we won’t (generally) walk across the street and meet our new neighbors. We will eat ourselves into poorer health buy eating out with lower-quality ingredients before we’ll even consider growing our own food. After all, it’s ‘a waste of time’ in this day and age, isn’t it? ‘Someone else’ already gets paid to do this work, so why bother?
There are many reasons to bother oneself and disturb one’s habits. A well-tread path can become a deep ditch and if left unchecked, it can become a deeper ravine that is difficult to escape from without catastrophic levels of change. ‘Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable’ should apply internally as well as externally.
- Do you hold grudges?
- Do you become angry or hateful too easily?
- Is there knowledge that you have dreamed of making your own but haven’t yet taken the steps to acquire it?
- Are there certain people you don’t interact with for rational or irrational reasons?
- Do you eat poorly or too much?
- Do you fear that your bodily image is making you undesirable?
- Do you fear being alone?
These are all questions that everyone asks themselves, no matter what bolt of cloth they are cut from. The question is, if you don’t like the answer… what are you doing to change it?