Are we bold enough to stop and make these decisions?
Our greatest chance to change, are we bold enough to stop and make these decisions? At this time the whole world has come to a total full stop. People are being ordered to stay home and not go to work, what an irony? Everything seems to be on “pause.” It is unlike any other time in history, we are together learning in real-time.
A few days ago, while taking a run on the beach, I was struck with an inspirational message relating to our current shared experience. The way it came to me is beautifully described by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, in a TED talk she gave entitled “Your Elusive Creative Genius.” In this talk, Gilbert relates how throughout history the creative muse has seemingly come from outside the person.
Just a brief time ago, our world was moving at an incredible speed. We were living, working, running here, racing there. Then, quite suddenly, we slammed on the brakes. It didn’t just slow us down—it brought us to FULL STOP. And here we are, not even able to venture outside except for vital necessities.
While this is a massive inconvenience for us all, many are also filled with tremendous fear and pain, to say the least. Perhaps, though, it could be viewed another way: an opportunity to stop and reflect. Where are we all going? Where is our world headed? Are we moving in the right direction? Or, instead of reflecting, should we just furiously concentrate only fixing this current problem, then jump straight back in and once again, stomp on that gas pedal for maximum speed to overcome the losses we made?
Let’s look at how we were operating before all this happened. Everything was moving with ever-increasing momentum: faster cars, faster planes. We were even building rockets to get us to our destinations faster. There are those working on a project in which flying craft would actually leave the atmosphere, circle high above the planet traveling at 18,000 miles per hour, then come back and land in another destination. It would mean being able to fly to just about any destination in an average of 30 minutes. Others have competing projects to take us to the Moon or Mars.
We shouldn’t be against such projects. But I hasten to point out that, while we’re straining to rush out into the solar system and beyond, we have not addressed our issues right here on Earth. Every day we stare at the website https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ with horror as we get the latest numbers of the coronavirus and ignore just one link away on the same website that 25,000 children die of hunger every day https://www.worldometers.info I pose this question: do we want to transport all of our current unsolved challenges and bad habits out there?
Before we rush right back out and begin living our lives exactly as they were before all this happened, shouldn’t we use this moment in time to ask ourselves some difficult questions? And yet, most are hoping that within a few weeks we’re right back exactly where we were before it all started.
Looking back in history, there have been two major collapses of civilization.
One was the fall of the Roman Empire, which occurred roughly between 300 and 700 A.D. At its prime, the Roman Empire covered almost the entirety of Europe and Asia—the vast majority of the civilized world. When it finally fell, it brought on the Dark Ages, which lasted for about 1,000 years.
Prior to that, though, was an even larger collapse, of all known civilization during the Bronze Age, which occurred 1,200 years B.C. James Richards in The Road to Ruin describes this in meticulous detail: “The collapse one center after the Uluburun wreck, same with surprising swiftness. Within fifty years, almost every major kingdom and empire crumbled. Collapse did not affect one culture, but all – Hittites, Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Mesopotamians, and more fell into chaos. Cities burned, trade vanished, invaders arrived and wealth was lost. Urbanites fled to villages and abandoned the complexity of city life to adopt agrarian life-styles. A three-hundred-year dark age began that lasted until the rise of Athens and Rome”.
There is the possibility that today’s issues could replicate such a domino effect—but that is not what I am addressing here. Nor do I agree, as a few are claiming, that we are now experiencing Armageddon as predicted in the biblical Book of Revelation. I simply think it is our greatest chance as never before in history to stop, reflect, and possibly learn.
What lessons can we learn from this time? What would be the most important things to think about?
Finger-pointing and name-calling doesn’t help us and will not bring answers. The President has been blamed, various agencies have been blamed, environmentalists have been blamed, and of course, various conspiracy theories have been floated. Back and forth, back and forth. None of that is going to help us.
In essence, we are all human beings on this little blue planet. In addition to struggle between races and cultures, we have for generations been struggling between genders and have struggled to come to terms with gender diversity. Instead of one gender claiming to be superior to another, everyone should take a step back and appreciate the quality of both genders, realizing that one is not superior to another.
There have been and continue to be, many struggles between races, cultures, genders and so forth. Now is the right time to embrace differences rather than let them divide us. There is a great power that happens when we are in harmony. We can also see it when we are in harmony across all other fault lines, such as those of culture and religion.
Our Little Connected Planet
In 1969, we got the first look at how our planet appears from space. At the time, we could see which locations were in darkness, at night, as there were not so many lights then. Today, however, there are lights almost everywhere. It shows how truly connected we are.
In 1995, we discovered just how tiny this planet is compared with the rest of the universe when images from the Hubble Telescope revealed that there are some 100 billion galaxies out there. There are endless solar systems, so many we can’t even comprehend the number. The only thing we can grasp is that there are billions of stars, and billions of miles of cold, empty darkness around us. Additionally, the Earth is spinning at a speed of 1,000 miles per hour, and circling the sun at a speed of 67,000 miles per hour.
At the same time, we’re all moving at an unbelievable speed ourselves. The question remains: should we continue going along at that blazing speed, while we’re not solving some core issues? Isn’t this the time, while so much activity has temporarily ceased, to stop and reflect on how we, as a human race, are so wonderful? And appreciating everything we are, on our tiny blue planet, should we not work to solve the problems that could potentially land us back into the dark ages?
Back in the 16th century, Copernicus demonstrated that the Earth was not the center of the solar system, but that the sun was. At the time, he was ignored, and for hundreds of years following his theory, the former view of the Earth being the center of the solar system was still held. This is a lesson we should not forget, and realize that now we might have something new to learn, too. Are
We In Control?
With the last hundreds of years of amazing scientific advances, are we being tempted again to, as we did in Medieval times, (instead of the Earth this time) place the Human Being at the center of the universe?
Despite our science, we must realize that we’re not in total control—far from it. None of us can control gravity. None of us can control the speed at which we’re circling around the sun. None of us can control the speed at which the Earth itself is spinning. We must acknowledge those things we cannot control, and appreciate them.
Is this not another lesson we should learn?
Taking a lesson from my own field of endeavor, my team and I have created the most effective and efficient CRM systems in the world. Its code is very complex, much like today’s science. But this CRM is created solely to make a positive impact on the customer.
Should not everything we do have such an impact? For in the end we are all customers—customers of this Earth. None are alone and should not be taking unfair advantage of others. Do we not all agree with the golden rule because it is so simple: “Treat people the way you want to be treated”.
In business, appreciation of others should go hand in hand with trade. Shouldn’t that trade be equitable, instead of one side prospering at the cost of the other? Again, we’re on this tiny planet together, and as such everything should be reciprocal and fair.
This is especially true when we have limited resources—no one should have a monopoly on them. They are needed by everyone.
Being responsible for the whole planet does not mean that we should forget our own identities—as individuals, citizens of a city or of a nation. But we should continue to be aware that we are all in this together. And if we don’t take the time to think and reflect, and instead hop on the gas like crazy, the issues with which we’re dealing will just continue.
According to the founding fathers of the United States of America, as written in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, and that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Yes, people are created equal. Why? To enjoy each other, and God. Should we not work together for the common good so that every equally created being can have a good life?
Yes, it’s time to reflect. It’s time to understand. It’s time to take a step outside yourself so you see beyond just yourself. It’s time to step away from looking in the mirror, and instead, turn around and be the mirror, reflecting and understanding others.
For the first time in history, we’re all in this together. Isn’t that something we can learn?