Global Concerns

It is
difficult to watch the strife and human abuse that we see daily on our planet,
but it seems, at least on a global scale, that is all we can do. We have seen
the consequences of meddling, or even just trying to tweak the progress of
those who seem to have “right” on their side, those who seem to promise the
best outcomes for their own people and everyone else on our world. And we have
seen the fallout from trying to wreck those who seem to promise the worst
outcomes.
We want to
bridge the differences in the Middle East, we want to feed starving people
(everywhere except in America it sometimes seems), we want to open up North
Korea and reunite the North with the South, we want to be rid of crazy
megalomaniacal leaders, we want some economic parity across nations and within
nations so as to produce an income for each person that meets and exceeds basic
needs. And we are told that small acts of mercy are not too intrusive, but
stepping in like some kind of overlord, however benign, is not acceptable and
more often than not has unintended consequences and possibly unconscious, but astonishingly
selfish motives.
So what does
a person do as s/he watches, as if human events are some kind of spectator
sport, the parade of inhuman behavior which surrounds us (think of that awfully
amazing Bosch painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights). We try to intervene
gently here and nudge events there and stop, if at all possible the worst of
the horrors, while repulsing any attempt to bring the mayhem to our side of the
globe.
After all,
we have our own internal concerns to attend to, our own problems to solve and
we cannot even choose between some kind of self-interested tough love and good
old-fashioned human compassion. Half of us want the Industrial Age back and half
of us are looking to see what the future will bring and we hope it is something
less materialistic, less back-breaking, and less harmful to the planet.
While it is
tempting to turn inward and wall out the rest of the world, we know in our guts
that it is impossible. We would just atrophy in a kind of unproductive
inbreeding that would eventually destroy us. Injections of new energy are ever
more necessary as the temptation to stagnate and rusticate grows stronger.
We hold
before us, in the chemical pathways of our brains, a gleaming future where
technology enfolds and surrounds us (perhaps also separate us), a sort of
engineer-centric future in which governance is settled (although possibly quite
ponderous) and ingenuity is the “coin of the realm”. The planet still has dark
places and sad corners and back alleys but the main thrust is towards a
mechanics that will propel us outward from this too tiny,
destined-for-extinction planet, out into the vastness of the universe or
universes, one human colony at a time. (What terrible imperialism will be
practiced then depends on whether the universe is populated by others or exists
just for our future expansion.) We call it Space, and it is the only future we
can imagine that gives scope to our restless adventurous spirit and our
insatiable need to know.
We are not
ready to occupy all that beckoning Space right now. We are earth-bound on this
beloved planet to either learn to survive this present chaos or not. So we
watch. We watch the upheavals here on Earth. Is it just growing pains? Is it
the beginnings of a better future? Will it resolve in decades or will it take
centuries? Or will it be back to the Dark Ages, reboot, start over after
whatever annihilation we perpetrate on each other?
 Some people don’t want the world’s leaders to
have a vision of a global future. They believe it betrays America to discuss
some kind of orderly progression towards a more peaceful, and yet still free,
global society. They believe the plan that exists (if there is one) get rid of nations
(in other words gets rid of America) in favor of some kind of world government,
world military, world police force, and global social structure. They want the
future of the world to be an American future. They want America to govern the
world (a prospect that is not looking at all doable right now seeing that we
cannot even decide how to govern ourselves). I also harbor a desire to have the
whole world become an American world. This is the nature of chauvinism. I think
I could let this incarnation of America go if I thought a global government
would strive for the same ideals. A global government seems almost as distant a
goal as populating Space.
We may be
able to sit back and watch the rest of the world as if through a VR headset,
but we will not be able to keep our hands off world events in every case. We
will be inspired to push here, prod there, rescue when necessary and if
possible. This is a very difficult position we are in right now. I doubt we can
maintain our distance for long. There is a cycle to this kind of seemingly
omnipresent upheaval, I think, but are we at the low point or the high point?
In the meantime we still need, at the very least, to call attention to atrocity
where ever and whenever we see it. I think that it helps us to stop in the
midst of all the myriad detailed problems to be addressed to step back and
picture a hopeful future and to take a wide view at the entire world of human
endeavor and possibility.
By Nancy Brisson
Become a Global Citizen  at https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/
 

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