The world needs to swallow a big ol' pill of Get-Over-Yourself-And-Embrace-Something-Bigger. The individualism and complete focus on self-preservation, seen especially in Western society, literally cannot continue forever. We're not built for that. We are not built to isolate ourselves from the human family. When I look into the future and imagine how things will go if we continue on this course we've been on— speechless. Is human history seriously going to take us on the same road forever?
I know not everyone shares the same worldview, and so discussing approaches to human issues is pretty tricky. I know I can't assume that everyone is on the same page as me, or that my page is "correct" in some way. And my page might be pretty radical, frankly. It's also only being written. But it's part of a book that's been in the process of compilation for millions and millions of years. And this current page is looking for some deep, deep change.
I honestly think that deep change is going to have to come from a change in heart-- a cultural change-- as much as from policy. And I know I'm not the first or only one who sees that, not by a long-shot. Change has been happening for the extent of human history. It's what we do. We change.
We also don't. War has been a reality since, presumably, the beginning. It seems human society has never been free of violence. People have been lying, cheating, stabbing each other in the back, acting without compassion, taking from others, refusing to acknowledge the humanity and suffering of the world, for centuries upon centuries. We know this.
And I'm not sure entirely how we're going to be shifted into a season of greater collective compassion, but that's what needs to happen. I believe God is moving, always, and that hearts are being changed. I believe compassion and love win, every time. I believe in a bigger plan.
But it seems kind of clear that bad things don't just happen because of a few bad apples. In sociology, we learn that it's the barrel. It's bad ideology. Bad frameworks. It's cultural learning that builds worldviews and mindsets that dehumanize and pit people against people.
Do we understand that we literally have the capacity to change the world? It starts with listening. Often, listening leads straight into empathy and compassion.
If we, as a collective humanity, decided to be compassionate, things would look really different. They wouldn't be perfect. We're not perfect; we can't make perfect things. But at least if we all operated within a heart-deep compassion, all the institutions we run, the jobs we do, the laws we create, would hopefully also become filled and fulfilled by compassion.
I mean, if we're out here on this earth just to survive and serve ourselves, things might be just fine for some of us. But if we're here to do something else, which I believe we are, things are certainly not working the way they are.
What if we really are supposed to live for more than survival and self-fulfillment? What if we are supposed to work together to build a beautiful, unified Earth? What if we were created for that? What if we are created to live in love?
I believe we are.
And if that's true, what are we doing? Why are we so caught up in protecting ourselves against caring for the rest of the world?
Don't get me wrong here-- I'm not saying we shouldn't take care of ourselves, too. We are also important members of humankind. But I don't think we should consider ourselves more important than anyone else. Is your ability to survive any more important than another human's? Than a Latin American immigrant's, for example?
Maybe I'm naive. I probably am. But I also think I'm just hoping for a world that I know can exist because I believe in the God of impossible things. A unified Earth exists somewhere, somewhere in time and space. I do believe that.
I legitimately do not think that the vision human's hold can last very long. If we pull our philosophical caps on, which we all do, as thinking beings, I do not think that anyone is really kidding themselves out of believing that there is more to this Universe than the eye can see. Regardless of what you think about who we are and why we're here, there's a reason. Whether that reason is Godly or just some sort of fluke, there's a reason. Everything has a cause. If we're here to just live and then die— great. But why would we settle on that ourselves? How can I settle for anything, let alone to dehumanize another person or group of people, when I don't know all of the answers?
We are living in a world that's seems like it's giving up on truth. War seems to happen because people focus on the impermanent, and they strive after it with everything they have. Why else would people fight? If we believed that there was more than borders and commerce and religion, maybe people wouldn't fight. I don't know. I don't know much. I'm just thinking aloud on the page here for you. Doesn't violence happens because some humans don't believe other humans matter?
And now, how about what's happening with immigration? It's human history repeating itself yet again. An entire group of humans has been painted villain, rapist, job-stealer, illegal, lazy, instead of human. People seeking asylum and refuge are seen as undeserving of compassion.
Are you aware that the U.S. government spends at least $1.7 billion dollars a year to maintain over 70,000 unused, empty buildings around the nation? What does that mean? 1.7 billion dollars. I don't know. If the government is willing to throw billions of dollars at buildings that don't matter, why can't it do the same for people?
I know I'm walking around in this writing blanket statements like "the government does this" and "the government does that," and I don't really know how much it would take to receive thousands more immigrants. But I do know that human beings matter. And I do know that we could choose to care about them. I do believe that there are things that matter more than others, and caring for other people is pretty much at the top of that list.
You'll say, but Erika, what about national security? What about the budget? What about us?
Well crap. I don't know. I don't know the answers. But what about them? They're just the same as you and me.
They are always, always, just the same as you and me. God, I pray for a world where us vs. them is a distant memory.