By Wayne Saalman
[Photo by Etty Fidele]
CALL IT “CRINGE TV”, call it a world gone crazy, but what we are seeing on the tube these days is anger, chaos, violence, mass unrest, political division and the lethality of a pandemic to boot. All of which makes it hard to feel good about life, love and the pursuit of happiness in general…
In brief, the world just plain seems fractious and calamitous these days; it seems shockingly dystopian, in fact, and there is a terrible sense that the situation is only going to get worse.
From disorder will come a new order, however, as it always does. We must stay positive, therefore, and do our part to help create that new order.
That “new order” does not need to be the one that conspiracy theorists so fear, the notorious, “New World Order” in which a global authoritarian regime takes full charge of every life on the planet, crushes all dissent and forces every man, woman and child to become puppets of the elite few who have more money and power than most of us can even imagine.
Tens of thousands of people standing up against racism is the proof, however, that this new order does not need to be a negative thing. In fact, peaceful mass protests are a fantastic sight to see. After all, they are made up of people of every color who are coming together in the name of unity in diversity and standing up for harmony and equality in human relations. This is a beautiful sight to behold.
Gandhi is famous for saying, “We must be the change we want to see”, and that is exactly what we are now experiencing, despite the pushback from many authoritarian figures who do not share this vision of a new order.
This pushback makes it difficult and challenging for those of us who stand against racism as we struggle to work our way past all that is going on around us. Yes, we are seeing activity by some that is disgraceful, but we are also seeing activity of a noble nature, which can and should make us feel profoundly proud of our fellow citizens who are reaching out and marching in the name of a higher cause.
This particular matter may seem troublingly complex, but at root it is quite simple in fact. Either we have it in our hearts to honor everyone equally or we don’t and that is easy enough to determine if we are honest with ourselves.
In our better moments, it can seem as if there are simple answers to everything. To save the planet, for example, we need only treat every single living thing in our world with the respect and dignity it deserves. To have peace on Earth, we need only to love our perceived enemies and our neighbors as we do our friends and family. To have the life for which we all dream, we need only resolve to have a brave day, every day, and put our better selves forward in the best possible way.
That takes thought and determination. It takes putting ourselves in other people’s shoes in order to feel the world from their perspective.
Most importantly, we must act with the determination to do the right thing in every situation of which we are a part. This has to get personal. This has to happen one person to another at the most fundamental level of social and cultural interaction.
Admittedly, in times of strife, it is terribly difficult to have a “nice” day, but we can put on our brave face today and every day and have mindful moments at every opportunity. We can try our best to consciously take deep breaths as often as possible in order to raise our energy level and nurture our attentiveness. And, with a bit of effort, we can make awareness within and awareness without equals as we go about our interests, so that we can choose positivity over negativity in every situation that arises.
As Plato wrote in The Republic: “Your destiny shall not be allotted to you, but you shall choose it for yourselves.”