Bridges of Understanding
I often wonder what the world would be like if we all looked at things and operated from a childhood perspective, which is usually one of non-judgement and simplicity. It doesn’t take much to make a child happy at the heart of it all (love and attention, really) and if you have young children or spend time around them as I do, their innocence is intoxicating (and hilarious at times). At some point though, in the growing up phase, things tend to change. I’m not sure exactly when that is for most, but it seems to be happening sooner and sooner than one would hope, especially with all of the forms of media out there geared toward influencing our every thought and action. While it’s good to be informed on a more global level, I think we may actually be in a phase of too much information and not enough human interaction. We are always doing THINGS, rather than simply being and being with each other. You know what I mean? We are quickly losing sight of our human connections in lieu of being connected to our devices. “Social” media is not social at all–not in terms of traditional definitions, anyway.
While we are busy learning ‘stuff’ to be able to earn a living and buy ‘stuff’, which is important on a basic level to meet our needs, leading a good quality of life is defined as being happy, healthy, safe, and comfortable. I’m not sure how many of us today can say that we lead a life with all four of those qualities fulfilled, and that concerns me a great deal. Knowledge/information is great, media has its place, ‘stuff’ is good to have, but is that what this life is truly about? To me, life is meaningless without love, compassion, passion, understanding and empathy. Sure, we all get caught up in the busyness of our everyday existence, but how many times have people had a health scare or a loss, and as a result, have completely shifted their perspective on what’s really important in our short time here on this Earth? Is that what it takes to think about one’s life priorities and how we view things or time spent with others? Despite what your religious or personal beliefs are, we are definitely NOT taking our accumulation of ‘things’ with us to the other side. And, what happened to the notion of considering how we might want to be remembered when our time is up? Pride and honour are rarely talked about in unselfish terms, except for Veteran’s or Remembrance Day here in North America, and even that is lost on some nowadays.
I blogged about a true story recently wherein a couple won the ever-elusive lottery, only to discover that the wife had breast cancer and died a few months thereafter, leaving the husband to desire trading in every dime of his winnings to have HER back. I worry that in the future, going about our business the way we are, those stories will become few and far between. The idea of ‘marriage’ is crumbling before our very eyes, families are breaking apart, relationships are often strained, distant, one-sided, a swipe of a screen, or in some cases, even non-existent. Where will that leave us all in time to come? I think that this world could become an awfully sad place if upcoming generations have little to no intrinsic values attached to themselves or others. As it is already without attachments, empathy or understanding, war persists and peace alludes. In saying that, I am not insinuating that all is lost or hopeless, just that we NEED to make TIME to focus on the more altruistic qualities that used to, or hopefully still do, differentiate us from other species in the animal kingdom; though in some ways, it seems that some of our counterparts seem to be out doing us in that regard. We’ve made many advancements, but as a species, have we really advanced?! It has been rumored by some that we are now on the downslope of humanity. A huge statement to make for sure, but examining it objectively, is there truth to it?
I am sure that most of us can cite examples of increased impatience and ego, while driving on the roads or taking public transportation, waiting in line at the grocery store, or shuffling ourselves from one activity to the other. Now, think of all of the instances of such ego in more global examples. We see and hear about them on the news everyday–one of the reasons that I often don’t tune in, to be honest.
Instead of building or acquiring more goods, we need to find a way to Bridge what we already have with what we really need as human beings. Bridges of understanding might be a good start. Afterall, we are all in this journey together, aren’t we?
The other day, I heard a question being posed…”If you could change ONE thing about the world, what would it be?” My answer was simple-money. My husband’s answer was power. Somehow to me, the world today has become obsessed with both more than ever, usually using power to get more money to gain more power-a vicious cycle–one which tends to separate us from each other rather than unite us? I know that that is not how I want to be remembered and it is not the life that I want for our children. Maybe the bridge needs to be the one that takes us back to our childhood simplicities of wanting and needing just a litte bit of love and attention, and making sure that we give the same to others. Maybe, just maybe.