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September 20, 2007 at 1:53 am #138776inariParticipant
Rolling towards an acceptance of the unthinkable
September 20, 2007
Can we really put up with the inequities this world throws at us? Warwick McFadyen asks.
PERHAPS at heart we are just Daleks. Our calling is only to ourselves in the most vicious and uncaring way. Humankind is a fragmented chain of self-interest. This grey despondence, sweeping across the inner landscape like low cloud, is due to a convergence of news items in recent days. The Daleks came to my mind. Exterminate.
First came a report by the World Federation of United Nations Associations, based on a “state of the future” survey.
Perhaps I am being too much the naysayer. The report did, after all, find rising rates of life expectancy and better access to health and education, and a recent UNICEF report also has found that the number of children dying before they reach five years of age has fallen below 10 million annually. Worldwide, child deaths stand at 9.7 million a year; in 1990 the figure was 13 million. This is good news, isn’t it? Only 9.7 million children a year not making it to their fifth birthday? The trend is downwards. Smile.
A single statistic from the World Federation report slithers like a snake through the grass of widening utopia. It is this: the world’s population is 6.6 billion. Out of that figure, 225 people earn the equivalent of the globe’s poorest 2.7 billion people. Two hundred and twenty-five. Which is less than two trams’ worth of commuters. The figure of 2.7 billion is roughly the population of China doubled.
This is not a John Lennon-tinged plea for the world to live as one. If history has taught anything, it is that by and large, men and women — well chiefly men — are incapable of building utopia.
Of course, these super-rich people can do with their immense wealth what they like. In fact they could probably do anything they wanted and still not spend it all. Some, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, have set up foundations to give away millions of dollars, for example in combating HIV/AIDS. This is laudable. If you had more money than you could possibly spend in a lifetime, wouldn’t you want to help others? What then, apart from providing for your family, is the point of the mountains of money?
Yes, this sounds far too soft-headed. But in the face of the great yawning chasm of poverty and other ills, is not the right thing to do to help others if one can? But then two trams and 2.7 billion people come into view …
Perhaps a common link of humanity is illusory. Perhaps the real link is power. Sure, in times of sudden catastrophe, such as tsunamis or earthquakes, the call for help is swiftly answered. But in the downtime, the response is muted. The images are rolling, but we prefer not to listen.
Russia recently tested a new bomb. It’s been dubbed “the father of all bombs”, and is reportedly four times more destructive than America’s “mother of all bombs”. The Russian version is a vacuum bomb with a shockwave to match a nuclear blast. General Alexander Rukshin, deputy armed forces chief of staff, says: “All that is alive merely evaporates.”
No messy pools of blood then. That’s good news. Perhaps that’s what the general meant when he said the bomb was environmentally friendly.
The new bomb is part of Russia’s $300 billion program to modernise the military. After the end of the Cold War and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s, the US took on the mantle of one and only superpower. But the global arms race never really ended, and now Russia again wants to flex its military muscle.
The funnelling of the equivalent of a small country’s GDP into weaponry is profoundly depressing. Equally depressing is that terrorism does not need an arsenal. Boxcutters, malign disregard for life and a hijacked plane are enough.
Then came the Federal Government’s decision to refuse entry to 72 Sri Lankans found to be genuine refugees. If we as a country are proud of this negation of compassion, then we may as well be done with it and put razor wire around the entire coastline. The effect is the same. Exterminate hope.
Daleks were very good at that. So are we. I think of the comment by the English writer H. V. Morton in his book I Saw Two Englands: “We have accepted the unthinkable with resignation. That is the distinctive quality of this age …”
He was writing of his trip through England immediately before World War II. He could write it again now.September 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm #146350Beral KhanParticipant
I would offer that the world is either/or.
Sadly, most people, and therefore nations, think with their egos. “We’re right. You’re wrong.” “Assimilate or or Die.” Wait, that last quote is from the Cybermen/Borg. Ok, Daleks, Zombies, or the Cybermen/Borg.
Daleks have put their ego first, as they want no one around but themselves.
Zombies put their hunger first, as they have no true thought – just base needs to be met.
The Cybermen/Borg put their beliefs first, wanting to assimilate everyone into their view of “perfection.”
But there is also another group.
It’s not a very large group as the world goes. It is those who put others before them. The very few who do not make the headlines for their actions. I believe that when they do become world famous, the branding becomes bigger than the cause.
The Heroes are out there. I see this, the Academy, as a place where many of them can be trained to be self sacrificing and helpful to their common man.
Will the Heroes make mistakes? Yes, and quite often, I’m sure. They are, after all, human. But their goals and their motivations are true. As long as that holds, we have the Heroes.
We have Hope.September 21, 2007 at 1:36 pm #146352IcarusParticipant
When Pandora opened her “wonderful” little box of tricks, what was left at the bottom?
Again, Beral, I have to agree with what you have written.September 22, 2007 at 12:17 am #146362JaxKeymaster
I think the biggest mistake any people can make right now is focusing too much on these negative stories. All that does is reinforce them and continue to create them in our existence. Change is coming, and not just from people typically viewed as heros. People throughout the world are awakening and looking for new ways of existence. As things continue to go downhill in many areas, more will awaken. And change will come, for the better.
So be careful. If, when learning of things like this, you feel negative, it’s important to take the time to shift your viewpoint to something that feels better. Otherwise, you are adding energy to the problem rather than being part of the solution.September 23, 2007 at 10:08 am #146371inariParticipant
And perhaps stop looking at the news, eh?September 23, 2007 at 4:23 pm #146376JaxKeymaster
If you can’t watch the news without getting upset, then yes. Spend time meditating and centering yourself. Get to the point where you can watch the news objectively, without it pulling your mood down. When you’re in a good enough state, it’s quite possible to watch the news without getting angry and it destroying your balance. Or, when you feel it start to do that, you’ll be able to pull yourself out of it so you can rebalance yourself.September 23, 2007 at 10:56 pm #146381Beral KhanParticipant
I certainly don’t want any one to think that I am being negative. My observations are objective.
My view is that there are the masses, and there are the individuals. Many of the masses never wish for more. Others of the masses wish to be individuals, but never reach a point where they do.
And the individuals are often exploited by those in charge, or ridiculed by the masses. It is what it is. I do not often ponder it. But it is a reality.
However, I know the value of my perspective. And I too see great changes ahead. I recognize we are on the Leading Edge. My point is that most people are not ready to see that they, too, are there.
I hope that clarifies my statement.
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