Sometimes I ponder and wonder about the big picture of humankind. At first glance, this seems like a gigantic situation because our species numbers in the billions of individuals. I take a second look and imagine the “pale blue dot”, the ultimate “selfie” taken of Earth from the distance of the Planet Saturn. It takes a trained astronomer to point out where we are in the photo of the vastness of the Solar System.
At present, we are the dominant species on this small planet, that orbits a medium sized star located in an average Galaxy among billions of other Galaxies. The numbers are great, and the distances between places are vast. For the perceptual future, this pale blue dot is the only home we’ll have. We need to share it or perish.
There are great calls to “Save the Earth”, this is an admirable goal, of which I agree. The slogan is somewhat misleading, though. The Earth has been in existence for billions of years, and it will probably exist another several billion as an intact planet, regardless of how we abuse it. The implied meaning of “Save the Earth” asks us to save the human environment. Our environment includes the touchy balance of conditions in the atmosphere, the seas, the land, and the living things. Naturally, we are an integral part of the human environment.
It often seems like our species, as a whole, is a very dangerous one, and a self-destructive one, as well. We claim to be far more intelligent than the other species of animals, but some doubt about this state of being is now surfacing. While we can emote love, caring, and compassion, our species seems to favor prejudice, hatred, jealousy, anger, and annihilation.
At this critical time in our history, we still have not overcome our destructive impulses. We fight each other over mere mental concepts like religion and politics. We battle one another over nationality and international borders, resources, and power. Greed seems to be the fashionable vice these days, as the very few continue to hoard what we all need for survival.
We’re a very contrarian species. We desperately need to make peace, yet our efforts are towards more competition in ever escalating conflicts and war with each other. We claim to be peacemakers, but our actions tell the opposite truth.
This week is Universal Human Beings Week. Sadly, this commemoration will receive little, if any, press coverage. There is more hype and lead-up to America’s Superbowl than is given to much more worthy events. It seems easier to escape into entertainments than it is to face our problems collectively, head-on. Each and every one of us is a human being. Can we spend at least one week contemplating and celebrating the full implications of who we are?
In my view, this week should receive just as much publicity and hype as the December holidays. In fact, given our present states of crises, I think it should be given more publicity than all the winter holidays, combined.
This is the perfect opportunity for all of us to exercise our positive skepticism and seriously question what we’ve been told in the past. What are we told? Who tells us these things? Why are we told this stuff? Most importantly, why do we choose to believe this so-called, accepted wisdom?
What do these questions have to do with humankind and our well-being as an individual human being? I cannot give you a definitive, one size fits all answer to these questions. I can only outline what some of my answers are at the time of the writing of this humble blog post. Better answers are probably found within each of us. If we dare to let go of conventional thinking for awhile, we can ponder these questions with our most compassionate inner natures.
You may wish to jot the questions onto a Post It Note or a white board and place them where you’ll see them every day. 1. What am I being told? 2. Who tells me these things? 3. Why am I being told these things? 4. Why do I choose to accept what I’m being told?
As you think about your personal answers to these questions, from time to time, you’ll notice that your responses vary slightly each time. At first you may feel some anger or a sense of rebellion. Eventually, you’ll come to understand the questions at a deep level. Soon, you may begin to know yourself better.
You might investigate your fears and attachment to opinions and beliefs and how they influence your thoughts and actions. In turn, you can begin to understand how other people’s opinions and beliefs influence how they think and act. As we continue to ponder the questions, we end up seeking a better balance between the overtly material aspects of our lives with the deep, inner virtue that resides at our cores. We begin to be more friendly and compassionate with ourselves. Our inner understanding, compassion, and empathy begin to “flow” to the people around us.
In my opinion, this is why we must be true to the best universal aspects within. This is also why we must regularly and carefully examine our personal beliefs. This is why I have my Post It Note of the questions on my refrigerator door, to see, each day.
Some of the best things about regularly answering these questions is that I understand that I belong to the human race. I am automatically integrated into the whole. The human condition can be enhanced by my presence. Other people enhance my being by their presence. Understanding our mutual interdependence, contributes to our individual integrity.
Fatima Fagbure in West Africa has just as much potential and importance as Boris Kasyanov in Russia, Yukio Morimoto in Japan, Yvonne LaSalle in France and James Miller here in Nebraska.
Universal Human Beings Week is dedicated to the advancement of better human relations, friendship, good will, peace, and international cooperation. This is a great time to reach out to others who seem different than ourselves. In doing so, we can find our common humanity. This is a good way of being human, and one of the best ways of human being.