If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.
– Hazel Henderson, economist, writer
While this quote might be greeted with “Huh?” or “Another example of bullshit baffling brains,” it bears consideration for more than one reason.
The first is “that change and uncertainty are basic principles.” While the truth of this can’t be disputed effectively, it’s not what we teach our young in most cases.
As parents, most of us want our kids to grow up and “settle down.” Settling down implies reaching a plateau, a levelling off, a desire to keep from changing, an effort to repeat what has been done in the past. In a world of change and uncertainty, such a settling down state would be impossible.
In fact, it could be a falling backward as the rest of the world surges ahead with creating a new planet and a new set of living conditions.
Earlier generations could never imagine people living in space (holidaying in space!), speaking by telephone with someone on the other side of the world while walking to lunch or recording an event live with video on a cell phone then posting it to YouTube for the world to see mere seconds later. Nor could it imagine living in fear of another 9/11, world war or acts of genocide in several locations.
The most peaceful people don’t exist on a planet of their own, content in an isolated apartment away from the realities around them. They live in today’s world and interact with it in ways that may not have been possible in earlier generations.
Moreover, the future is by no means certain. The media and public speakers carry on endlessly earning their good living by telling people that we are destroying our planet, that world war or Armageddon is near, that all kinds of nasty people are out to get us on our streets and in our homes. Almost none of it ever comes true for most people.
Some people would call it an act of faith to believe that the future will be safe because humankind is basically good and will never do anything to permanently foul its own nest or to harm its own people. Act of faith or not, more people are living longer and healthier lives today than ever before in human history.
Fewer wars are ongoing today than at any previous time in history. More people work to help others less fortunate or who have experienced misfortune through natural disaster or war than ever before. International NGOs and world bodies like the United Nations work to erase inhumane practices and laws and correct lawlessness more today than ever before.
True, tonight’s newscast and the first page of today’s daily newspaper may report tragedies both abroad and right around the corner from us. But they don’t get readers and viewers by telling us good news. They know they get more attention with bad news than good news. Attention means advertising cash.
Often we must seek out good news just to know it exists. In many cases we can find it right around the corner as well. In some cases, we are the good news because we do the good stuff.
Believe the media and you believe people who make their living by being negative and pessimistic. On balance, that seems like a bad idea.
If good news fails to reach you in your life, make some yourself. Be the positive role model for others to follow. Once you get involved with such projects, the future will look much brighter because you will find more people doing the same things as you than you ever knew existed.
Nobody will help you if you don’t want to help others. Many people eagerly try to help someone who has tried to help others themselves.
Figure it out. Then make history more positive yourself.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to make our future look more positive and realistic.
Learn more at http://billallin.com