What do I tell my children about hate?
What do I tell my children about love?
How can the world be a beautiful place filled with wonder and a tragedy all at the same time?
These questions and many others are the same questions we human beings ask ourselves over and over. We are killing ourselves, we are killing each other, we are killing our planet. This is what we do. We want to live in peace but we don’t. We choose to separate ourselves from each other by finding differences. We choose to accentuate these differences to the point in which we hate each other for them.
Creating harmony and balance isn’t our nature. I am not sure if we will ever get to a point where we can overcome what we are to be more of what many of us are looking to be. It isn’t enough to call out hate. Calling out hate normally happens after something terrible occurs. Looking beyond any one event, we get wrapped up in the complexities of history. Our past prevents us from realizing our current and future opportunities.
Unfortunately, we are constantly reliving our past mistakes without learning. There is one exception in that we are getting closer to having the ability as individuals to damage, destroy and devastate much of the world at one time. The advancing technology doesn’t require us to blow ourselves up in order to destroy ourselves quickly. It only requires the disruption of financial systems, energy systems, social systems, and human perception. The power of words is all that is needed to destroy everything. Now that world literacy is increased to over 80% for people over 15 years old, more people can become hateful. Unfortunately, it takes only one hateful person to cause great damage.
It seems to me this is what we want. We like violence and hate. Our children are exposed through media to over 200,000 acts of violence before they are 18. Hey, I am as guilty as the next person. I allow my children to watch tv and play games but it seems to me that I can’t hide it from them regardless. We expect to somehow separate ourselves logically from the world we immerse ourselves in?
If we are to fight wars, wouldn’t it be better to fight wars on disease and famine? If we are to entertain ourselves, couldn’t we find ways to be productive for the future of our kind? Smarter people have tried to figure this out. Still, have to ask the questions out loud. A few things inspired me to write this morning. The act of a hate-filled person in New Zealand taking innocent lives is one to start. The other thing that haunts me today is this video taken in 1911
As I watched this footage, I saw everyday people of today. There were a series of videos, people at the market, sermons, elderly people talking. It was beautiful but it was also frightening. This film 1911 was taken before the two world wars. It seemed peaceful and prosperous but it was delicate and fragile. In 1934, HG Wells predicted WW2 on camera. Was he the Nostradamus of his time or just mindfully aware of the sociological madness?
I think we live in this same delicate state today. This footage reminded me. One of my children asked me why people kill themselves. I didn’t have a clear definitive answer but I suggested that “Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man” (Frankl 1992, p. 104). Based on the work of Viktor Frankl. To this extent, we have the perpetual human tragic paradox. We may live in a world destined for tragedy and suffering because we require suffering for ourselves to understand meaning and purpose even at the expense of our opportunity for happiness.
Has Howie Gone Mad?
My friend and mentor Ron Batdorf said “It is hard to be lonely if you realize that G-d is everything. Howie I just read that the full periodic table of elements were all started with the Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago. And it all started from the atoms of (atomic number 1) hydrogen. The Big Bang is the alpha or beginnings of time and space as we know it. How we picture ourselves in this creation makes all the answers for our purposes in life pointing to wholeness and that means everything is whole but humans keep wanting to separate ourselves from this wholeness because we think the world revolves around our wills and not the creator’s.”
I haven’t gone mad. Maybe a little mindfulness of 2019 like HG Wells in 1934. If my assertion about the power of words is correct. There is always a chance and always choice. We have the choice as individuals and choice as a body. It is up to us to find a way through large and small acts to change our future. If we choose to remain who we have been historically, we will continue to embrace our suffering as the primary source of our purpose until our technological capabilities overtake our natural ability to rebound and rebuild and there will be nothing left.
It is time Tikkun Olam.