Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, June 18, 2022 - Demonstrate Peace

Most of us feel fairly helpless when it comes to the world's problems. Some are compelled by their concern to participate in an endless stream of action. For others, the enormity of the problem overwhelms to the point of inaction. Many of us fall in the middle. 

But I’ll take this opportunity to point out something I deeply believe to be true. Every single one of us alive on this planet contributes to the forward evolution toward eventual and inevitable peace on earth. 

Yes, that is my radical optimism talking. But to be honest, I don’t see any evidence that truly supports the contrary. We are built to move forward. Even our setbacks eventually propel us further.

Think about it for a bit. We even make a point of reminding ourselves that this is the prevailing human paradigm with every underdog story we tell, every mythology, prophet’s tale, and salvation story. They constantly remind us of our aspirations and capacity. 

It is a cha-cha, of course. Two steps forward, one step back. Huge social advances we couldn’t imagine retreating from only to watch them fall apart before our eyes. Now, tell me whether or not you think it’s possible that such a present tumbling might likely only ensure our future generations’ access to the justice we presently demand? Human history does bear that out far more often than not. 

How many times have we seen giant leaps forward on the heels of great oppression? How many dictatorships have fallen? How many democracies have grown? What is the per capita homicide rate today versus 2000 years ago? 200 years ago? You will find that, statistically, we are in the most peaceful time in human history. Keep that in mind when you’re watching the news. 

So the work is occurring. And it’s occurring all around you. It’s in all of the foundations and nonprofits and social enterprises working so hard to serve others in virtually every community. Bringing people together to accomplish better access to healthcare, education, homeownership, voting access. 

Politicians can accomplish a lot, though they sure do a good impression of holding things back. Mainly because in many ways they are. But they are only steming the tide, not preventing it. If anything, they help us to publicly refine the arguments both for and against progress. Yet even those who argue against progress end up making a case for it in the end. 

That leaves us wondering what we should do with ourselves as history unfolds around us. The bottom line is: do nothing to prevent forward momentum. And for extra credit, you might consider actively supporting anything or anyone who works toward accomplishing what we really want and need to thrive as a human being on this planet. 

The extra bonus benefit is that when we take action in this way, it improves our brain chemistry. It literally balances our emotional health when we take deliberate action toward making a better world. 

Finally, perhaps most importantly, as an individual human being on this planet, know this: If you demonstrate peace to those around you, they are being set an example of how to remain peaceful in the face of conflict and concern. If you demonstrate hope to those around you, they are being set an example of how to insulate themselves from despair. 

We are all of us the result of the examples set for us. We are an aggregate of personality traits and coping skills and lifestyle choices presented by others. What will you contribute to those around you?

That is all you have to worry about as a human being. That is our job here on earth. Set good examples. Show people the way. Don’t preach, do. 

If you are not a peaceful person, find a way to get there, or hang out with someone who is and copy them. If you are worried about the state of the world, find a way to contribute more peace to the mix. You don’t have to do much. But you will feel better if you do something. 

Do it in the name of the peace you seek for yourself. 

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