Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When's It Gonna Change? Right Now.

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Photo: earthday.org
There is always going be someone complaining about something- just as there will never be an end to reasons for complaints. “Perfection” in this world is impossible. As it’s said in Buddhism, there will always be suffering. However, being upset at perceived ills in the world is beneficial (and perhaps necessary) to us as long as we take the next logical step: action to correct those ills.


I’ve written before about having hope (Truth, Youth and Love) in humanity and this world. I still do. I’ve been given a few reminders this week of reasons why.


Global Networking


I have wide-ranging interests. On Twitter, I follow a number of professionals in the fields of education, mental health, philosophy and science based in the United States and the UK. Other contacts include professional writers from around the globe specializing in a rainbow of subjects. On a daily basis I receive messages of hope, frustration, humor and inspiration. I see that the struggle is real and while the details differ, it is shared by all. That’s comforting and inspiring to me.


Every single person on the planet with access to a smartphone can find valuable contacts and transmit powerfully positive messages anywhere. Yes, we must fight the urge to fall into the abyss of argument and attack, but the potential benefit of our current abilities to see The Other as more like us than not is enormous.


Awareness of Varying Cultural Histories


This networking doesn’t just count for today’s events. This ability to connect with members of the global community allows us to exchange stories of our personal and cultural pasts well beyond that of our personal circles of influence. As a simple example, if I mention something about a certain food online and describe how it relates to my past, someone from another culture can gain that perspective and offer to me a comparison based on their own story. We both grow.


Thus, the old adage of “If we forget our history, we’re doomed to repeat it” can now be applied in much greater terms: we can ALL learn from ALL histories. We can take lessons learned in one place, take its lessons and reconfigure things to help a situation in a whole other hemisphere. Powerful stuff!!


Young Adults With Strong Social Conscience


The benefits of this cross-cultural awareness is already in play today and young adults are assuming the mantle of responsibility. For example, the Washington DC-based rap artist Wale released a collaboration song with Korean singer-rap artist Rap Monster of BTS entitled Change. Teen Vogue has an interesting interview of BTS that includes talk of the collaboration and XXL Magazine described Rap Monster as someone to watch for in the hip-hop scene. Both artists have reputations as deep-thinkers. In this song, they caution listeners on a wide range of negative choices (personal and societal) and the lyrics say “I believe that real friends love you to no limit (yea) I believe that real change lies in the mirror (yea)”. How they will influence the future as hip-hop stars is yet to be seen but I have high hopes from what I've seen so far.


In a broader view, Grist publishes a list each year of 50 innovators working on some the world’s biggest challenges. This year, the organization dubbed them Fixers. Each person on this year’s list has a unique perspective and mode to accomplish something constructive, from sustainable cities to improved sewage treatment. In scanning through their smiling faces and interests, I am consoled by the depth and breadth of both.


These are only 2 examples- I am sure you can name of many others. From neighborhood coffee shops and religious organizations to large organizations like Omaze and Heifer International, people can and are stepping up and speaking out for themselves and others.

I admit that today, we are capable of horrendous lows. However, I declare just as adamantly, that we can rise up that much higher. As Rap Monster and Wale say, it’s not IF or WHEN the world’s going to change. It’s right now.

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