Tag Archives: hope

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/


Hope and Change

hope and change

I hear people deride Obama for his message of hope and change, but I see change everywhere, except, of course, in America. It is possible that every other continent around the globe has reacted more strongly to Obama’s message of hope and change than America has, or his message was more prophetic of what was about to occur in those other nations.

In Asia, changes are in progress and right now those changes seem frighteningly negative but we could eventually see positive results, although I don’t know in whose lifetime. In Europe we have seen intense economic decline without much disorder and we have seen Europe come to grips with its recession and come back from the brink far enough to participate in sanctions on Russia.

The Middle East chaos which began with the Iraq war has infected many, many areas of the Middle East, but out of that chaos could come a new unity among the various sectarian groups and some consensus among the hard line fundamentalists and Muslims who would like to be devout but not necessarily be hounded by harsh religious leaders with more zeal than practicality. The goal of unity and greater tolerance for differences among Muslims and their neighbors seems distance now, but the chaos suggests that there are those who would like to see positive change and therefore there remains a kernel of hope however far away the goal may be.

Even in South America and Africa we see the hope that some change will happen. The very fact that parents wish more peaceful and productive lives for their children and will send them far away with scary people suggests that there are citizens in South America who would like change, and I know that there is an enormous effort to make sure some businesses take root in Africa that will bring hope to that continent.

So right now we have lots of changes without very much hope, but wherever there is change there exists a small bud of hope in each one of us that all this chaos could produce progress towards a more peaceful, prosperous, tolerant and enlightened world. Perhaps Republicans have been able to block hope and change in America, but eventually things will change in America, either to our joy or our sorrow. I still hold with hope but I do it out of the very optimism that is necessary to face our uncertain future.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>