With social media and the internet exposing every aspect of how life really is on this planet, and the actual condition of mankind, not the sugar-coated, segmented, isolated condition of some presumed “average”, our species is coming to grips with some uncomfortable truths.
The planet, its weather, structures and ecosystems are fragile and unpredictable..
Mankind itself is drawn into war as a default reaction, as if it were an actual solution to anything.
We know little about our universe, yet what we do know is terrifying, as far as long survival odds are concerned.
The cultural vision of our future as offered by innumerable artists, writers and pundits contain not prosperity, but rather various shades of some kind of apocalypse.
Social media, which now provides the framework not only for human interaction but also massive segments of global commerce, is rightly perceived as as much a threat to privacy and individual human rights as wiretapping was in the last century, by 1000 fold.
So, what does this mean to us? What response is there to the fact that our future is far more tenuous than we ever suspected?
You can perhaps think of other compelling threats.
The answer is the same answer that wise persons have been extolling since before the Vedic hymns; compassion.
Doing unto others, giving of oneself, turning the other cheek, the thousand ways mankind has expressed the spiritual aim of surviving better by operating as a compassionate person.
In a more isolated and benighted time, when one could perhaps comfortably conceive that one had no real responsibility for “those people over there,” such a thing as cynicism could exist and even flourish without much effect on one’s survival.
When one was untouched by distant disasters, had not witnessed firsthand misfortunes on even a small scale, one could believe that one was immune. Then, the Internet put us all in communication at scale.
We learned better. We “woke”, to strain a modern expression.
When Prince, Michael Jackson, Tom Petty and others can die of drug overdoses, when Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain can end their enviable lives depressed and alone, we can be certain of one thing: if the wealthiest and most powerful of us are unable to come in out of the storm, what will become of the rest of us?
Maybe in the last century we could play sides and point fingers. It’s fun to have an adversary, to go head to head with others, have battles and squabble over borders, beliefs or supposed slights and insults.
But when the entire race of men is threatened from fell forces within and without, who must man turn to, besides his God or gods?
To himself. That is the great lesson, and at times of great threat and cataclysm, this is the direction which the wisest of us turn their thoughts and actions.
If we help one another, if we mobilize our compassion, instead of our tools of destruction and enslavement, we will have a far better chance to endure, as a race.
The more I learn, the more I observe, the more it gets rubbed in my face that Man’s existence is exceedingly fragile, and dependent above all upon mutual assistance and cooperation.
Let’s let compassion be the new cynicism.