Humanity at the crossroads

(Picture: Little Jackie fell into a pool and drowned on June 20, 2020: if the people of the world only cared enough about the children in it, perhap she woud be alive today.)

The idealism of the thinkers who contrived the inspired concept of democratic equality has been buried by the pragmatism of voting and voters.

Dreams and aspirations have been lost to the fickleness of wants and expectations. The reality is, that most of these expectations are well beyond the reach of any individual, party, or system. It is only pragmatic ideology that will garner votes to ensure power, considered by most political leaders the end game of our political system. 

Ideals, like musical notes have to be recognized for their individual value and collective worth.  It is the valuing of the single notes that leads to the worth of the music that we create; it is the genuine appreciation of each person that is significant in the society that we build. True democracy requires the synthesizing of individual ideals in order to gain and maintain the acceptance of the majority. (Excerpt from Renewing Democracy-November 1999 – William)

 As we come to the end of another year, a time when people look back at the year that was and reflect on the new year dawning. For Christians it is also the celebration of the birth of Christ, a baby born into another time of turmoil and despair that, for them, has been the light of hope for a world filled with love and care.

Who would have believed, even one year ago that a search for humanness would be necessary in a world that has seen such societal advances, and technological advances after the end of two world wars and a depression? It appears that along the way, many became disconnected from their spiritual nature and what it means to be human.

It seems that spiritual needs have been abandoned in favour of the need to accumulate, to possess, and have more. Peace, happiness, gratitude, and wisdom seem displaced by all thing’s material.

While it is easy to blame this twist on politicians and businessmen who are corrupt, and religions that have lost sight of “God”; it is simplistic to blame it on dysfunctional organizations and institutions, even though most need to assess their purpose and functions and practices. 

It is a truth that the universe, the world, and every living creature are holistic, interconnected, and inter-dependent in nature; all having certain basic necessities to remain healthy and survive.

Nothing can diminish this reality, but humanity is in the midst of a major crisis that has evolved because of our haste for more. As a result, humans have created a destructive set of conditions in which all that lives no longer can have access to what is necessary to survive.

The timing of this is not of the moment. It started decades ago as society became more regressive and skewed toward materialism, and it became increasingly obvious to some that an intervention was bound to happen. The inequalities that exist in so much of human life, and peoples’ callous attitude towards nature, have reached a point where they are no longer sustainable. In our current predicament, it appears that life took over.

In reviewing my Christmas messages over the past ten years it was apparent that a storm was brewing. My message last year “Finally – perhaps a glimmer of hope” was dashed by the arrival of Covid-19, which has affected and upended the whole world and its structures.

People are beginning to talk of a return to normalcy now that vaccines are being created, and some obscene political situations are shifting. The reality is something different – what we now consider normal is what created this whole mess in the first place.

What will be required is a complete shift in human thought and the acknowledgement that the disrespect we are witnessing between people towards each other, to our environment, and life itself will have to be dealt with, moderated, and resolved at least to some extent.

Modifying or altering human thought, as we have learned throughout history, most often requires a major intervention or catastrophe to cause it to shift or change. As we have also found out, oftentimes the shift is for the worse before a new enlightenment sets in.

The solution doesn’t exist in just talk, no matter its sophistication or theoretical basis, although dialogue is fundamental, it must result in dynamic immediate actions that are effective. I am not referring to actions based on the practical, such as pollution containment, shifts in energy usage, or the rectification of the dramatically unbalanced economy. While all these are important, more imperative and significant actions related to human beliefs, behaviours and activities are a necessity.

This solution, as history reminds us, is a much more daunting task requiring mindset shifts in at least a substantial number of people of the world. It will require each and every individual to look within themselves and begin to recognize the gifts that have been given to us and how best we can use them to help ourselves and those around us. Most of all we need every one of us to appreciate fully the gift of our human life, which is unique on this planet, and perhaps in the universe.

The solutions for what we are facing will not be found in books, technical theory, or in religion. It is buried deep within each of us and is discovered by our interactions and collaborations with others – much as with the vaccines that are being discovered that are unique in their composition. Some, in a lifetime, discover their basic humanity, but many rely only on what they have been taught or convinced of by others.

This is the mystical spiritual string that connects us all, no matter where we live, how we live, or what we look like. This connection is the foundation and fundamental component of this thing we call love.

Instead of dwelling on the things that separate us, we need to rediscover the spiritual aspect of life that defines us, which is built on love. Love is about feelings, often buried deep inside of us by the inequities and hurts that we have experienced in our lifetime.

So, as we begin the process of rebuilding, we need give thought to how we make our society more feeling oriented towards caring, sharing and being compassionate, instead of thought based on the belief that who has the most wins, as in the end that doesn’t count.

Building a new society with its institutions, structures and organizations will take work, time and patience. But first of all, it will take a revolution of our minds recognizing that our hearts are more important than our heads for that is where all our love is stored – and its boundless. In a physical sense the brain can’t function if our hearts aren’t functioning, it is the same for our spiritual being: our hearts feed the brain and keep it alive.

I see people writing about the loss of hope, waiting for hope, and even searching for hope. Hope, like love, is embedded in our hearts, our humanity, and our very existence and is what differentiates us among all living creatures.

I attended a Buddhist lecture when I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the monks in attendance were taking questions. One person in the audience asked, “What is truth”. One of the monks, without hesitation said in response, “Have you seen a newborn child – that is truth”.

So, as is my custom to offer you a gift at this time of year, I share the gift of hope from my heart to your heart. It is something in my current location, in the midst of some of the greatest poverty in the world, which I witness every day; it springs eternal in every child, every kindness, and in the genuine love that emanates from the babies and children that surround me and are present in abundance. You see it in their eyes, you feel it in the warmth of their hugs and experience it in their actions.

So, look around at the children, and the gift of love and joy that they provide us all and share their hope, their innocence and understand their dependence on us and realize the true meaning of hope.

More important, remember your responsibility to care, protect them and teach them all the important things in life that they need to live life to its fullest. Make a commitment to preserve and protect their world so they can live their lives to some fulfillment. Help change the imbalances and neglect that threatens our existence because, if we don’t, hope will die with the children and human life will be non-existent.

Love and hope are big responsibilities invested in every person that lives in this world and must form the basis of the new societies that we have to create to build a future for our children.

May the spirit of the season and the true meaning of Christmas still surround you, despite the constraints of this pandemic. I have believed for a long time that distance is only felt in the mind never in the heart – for hearts once connected have no time, no space or distance – they are always close. Merry Christmas and a hopeful New Year to you and yours as we celebrate in our own way individually and collectively; may love surround you.

Written by William (Bill) Pardy

December 11th, 2020

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