So I have been pondering the future of the human race. My outlook has always been that we need to come to some kind of global cultural awakening if our species is going to survive.
My hope is the future will be very Star Trekesque. Altruism, equality and the pursuit for human betterment instead of personal wealth and gain. Unfortunately, it’s hard to look at our world and see that as a possibility. It would seem there are forces focused on global polarization. We have an astounding ability to divide, hate and discriminate to a degree that global equality seems an impossible goal.
There is a litany of senseless hate propaganda out there. One example is the same-sex marriage debate. The other is the idiotic controversy over an Islamic Centre being built in New York City near “ground Zero.” Both epitomize our problems. They are examples of gross egocentricity and sociocentricity. Neither hurts anyone. Both are failures to look beyond hate-clouded eyes.
No one stops to empathize. How would you feel if denied the right to marry the person you loved? Or, denied the same benefits and rights because of the person you loved? Scott Bidstrup, a civil rights activist, outlines the same-sex marriage debate very well – granted, he is pro-same-sex marriage so the essay is not very balanced. I have heard many, if not all, the arguments against same-sex marriage and even understand (even if I do not agree) the passion behind some of them. But, ultimately, people should be free to love and marry whom they wish and that decision does not affect anyone but them.
Few consider the many American-muslin citizens who died when the planes hit the twin towers. While people mourn the fallen emergency responders from that tragic day do any remember the name Salman Hamdani? He was a muslim and a NYC police department cadet and part-time ambulance driver. He was found buried in the rubble, he died trying to save the lives of his fellow Americans. The terms Muslim and American are not mutually exclusive.
Personally, I try to see from all angles. I recognize I have biases and prejudices, we all do. But I try to look beyond them and take a moment to see the world through alien eyes. That is a hard thing to do, especially in our media saturated lives. To combat our western-media view of the world read alternative news sources, especially ones that will seriously challenge your comfort levels and view-point. I am not saying you have to agree with what you read, but new insight never hurt anyone. One example is Intifada, Voice of Palestine. This is not an endorsement of its content, and, in fact, reading this publication makes me very uncomfortable at times. However, that is not a bad thing. It challenges my way of thinking and if you think about it, it is no more extreme than many western news sources.
What is the solution? There is no easy answer. But our hate is destroying us. Should we not have evolved beyond killing or oppressing based on imaginary lines on a map, religion, race, etc? What will awaken us from our savagery and brutality – not only in action but in thought? Religion, what was supposed to be our source of morality and enlightenment, has failed. Selfish diplomacy was doomed before it began. And, obviously, war is, has and will always be a fool’s errand.
We need a catalyst. Something that will drive us together as hard and as fast as we drive ourselves apart. Unfortunately, the only scenarios I can think of involve disaster on such a global scale that the only way to survive is for everyone to work together. Not ideal. Ironically, our culture of hate (seemingly our only common ground) will destroy us anyway.