What to do in a world gone mad?
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I don’t like to watch the news. But when big events happen, I hear about them through friends or social media. And I just shake my head when I hear about the recent violence. What can one person do?
Head In the Clouds
If you have been reading my blog, you also know that I am an idealist, altruistic, and like to understand other people’s points of view. I’m also a wimp when it comes to aggressive people. Anger, aggression and violence may seem like powerful positions to the people who live this way, but I see them as a sign a deep weakness, of lack of faith, and of a deep sense of separation. That doesn’t make them less dangerous. It means we need to find another way. But as a friend used to say, “There is no one there to talk to.” I am lucky, because most the bullies I have personally known use words. Some use physical violence. None have used guns.
Pick On Someone Your Own Size
When we were kids, weren’t most of us taught that it is wrong for a big kid to pick on a smaller kid? The stronger or more powerful person should “pick on someone their own size”. That advice/ value was not always followed, but it was what we were taught.
So as adults, as the more privileged class, we have a responsibility to not pick on those “weaker” than us. By that I mean those who have less economic or socio-political power. Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm. I have always thought that this applies to how people treat other people, how men treat women, and how our species treats our planet. It seems that the less “voice” we have, the more those with privilege are taking advantage. The Earth being the one that takes the biggest beating by humans.
It’s the Right Thing to Do
I didn’t grow up going to church. But I have heard some variation of this quote from the Bible:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may have dominion over the Earth.”
Setting aside the controversy about revisions to the original text, what if dominion means that we have the responsibility to care for the Earth? And what if it means we have the responsibility to care for each other? Because we have more freedom, power, awareness and abilities, we also have the responsibility to use those powers wisely.
I am a white person, so I need to continually educate myself in order to temper my inborn lens of privilege. Being a woman, I have experienced some of the restrictions placed on my half of the species, but I can only imagine what it is like for people of color. I was raised in all-white towns. I saw my first black person when I was about 7. We were at a shopping center, and I was in the back of the station wagon eating chocolate candies shaped like little people. I saw a black couple walk by and shouted excitedly, “Look, chocolate people!” Never a fan of vanilla, I thought this was very cool. As I was wondering whether there were also strawberry, orange, grape and other flavors of people, I was quickly shushed by my parents who said that it wasn’t nice.
Why can’t we all just get along?
It hurts to see that all this fighting and violence and greed is destroying each other, our planet and our very being. We are all one. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Maybe not in the same way, but it’s a weapon with points on both ends, and it degrades ourselves as well as the target.
I was raised by educated parents who taught us that all people are equal. My mother told me that when I read “he” in books, it meant “he or she” and that I could do anything a man could do for a living. Did I translate that to everyone has that ability, or was I overtly told that? Did my upbringing in a white world with a liberal mother who said we are all equal make me less prejudiced than others? We revered JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. I did not understand as a child why anyone would murder these people. I now know that some people feel very threatened by the values and words of these heroes. But I still do not understand why that is a reason to murder them. Life is sacred.
Be Sane Even When in a World Gone Mad
I can only continue to live my life knowing that when any of us degrades another in any way, we also degrade ourselves. When any one of us succumbs to the darkness, it drags us all down. And when any one of us reaches for the Light, we raise us all. So I will hold that Truth. And do my best to live it. And do my best to speak up when I see mistreatment of another.
How About You?
What do you do when the world’s gone mad?
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