Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As I start...

I am sitting at my computer with a little bit of a cough.Because I didn't want to infect all my patients with whatever germ it is I've picked up, I didn't go to work today.

Since I'm stuck here at home, I thought I would make a start on this project. Let me start by saying this. I have very few answers but many many questions. But these questions I would like more and more and more people to start asking too. I do not care who you are or where you are. You should be asking these questions. Whether you have to pay the bills, feed the baby, go shopping, train in the army, build your business empire, go shopping with your friends, get drunk or whatever it is you are about to do - I want you to stop and listen. Even if for just a moment to ask yourself these questions. Let me begin.

Over the last few weeks I have been having discussions with many people from many walks of life. I would like to start with a simple question.

Is there something wrong with the world today?

Looking at it from a global point of view, the answer is a resounding YES. We have wars, poverty, hunger, destruction of the environment, child labor and prostitution, obesity, depression, astounding rates of divorce, violence in homes - the list is endless. Most of these problems are ones we have created ourselves. Some of these problems, could be completely solved tomorrow. Yes, you heard me. Tomorrow.

Isn't that curious. We have the ability to stop a problem - but we don't. What is wrong with us?

If I twisted the question slightly; is there something wrong with you(us) today? Some of us would say yes and others no. Some of us are perfectly happy individuals, who by and large do not break any laws, do not go out of our way to make people suffer, love and care for our family and friends and lead healthy productive lives. How is it, if that individually we are doing okay, that the earth is then in this condition?

Could it be we are all equally responsible for the way the world is? Is it possible that leading our law abiding lives is simply not good enough? Just maybe, are the lives we are living wrong?

Nothing is disconnected from the other. Today, decisions made in any place has ripple effects through the whole planet. The structures that support our lifestyle. The work we have to do that support these structures, perpetuate the condition of our planet. And we are all part of that economy. All of our actions and all of our lifestyles sum up to the world and what it is today. Every. Single. One.

I would like to put forward these two questions to you.

Is there something wrong with the world?
Is there something wrong with us, individually?

Please feel free to comment. Argue. Put something controversial. Put something meaningful. Put something trivial. As long as you have stopped to consider the question that is what is important. Also, go out there and discuss! Blog about this on your own blog. Tweet about it. Put it on your Facebook walls. Discuss it with your friends, your family, your colleagues, your teachers.

We as a humanity have reached a point where it is high time we stopped and listened. All of us.


  1. Is there something wrong with the world? Yes. You've said it. I've said it. We can all see it.

    Is there something wrong with me? Yes. Is there something wrong with us? I believe so.

    If you haven't made a mistake, then you've erred because of inaction. I've wasted money and time on self-absorbed, ultimately unhealthy endeavours. Some things enrich our lives while others clearly hinder us all.

    The rich like to be rich. The apathetic (ourselves, mostly) like to be lazy.

    I see the meagre effort I've made and I know that I personally am indebted to the Creator, who, for all my faults has torn down the wall between me and Him- who calls us to be His children.

    For us to love God, I believe we need to turn our own hearts toward Him. He doesn't call us to assimilate into His great consciousness, like the Borg, but wants us to live out our talents and choose to love Him. This means we can choose to harm our planet and each other, too.

    We were created as custodians of this big, blue ball, but we suck at taking care of it. And of each other.

    I've talked long enough. I want to listen, too. I want to listen to those who would offer solutions. I want to listen to those who would call me to help where I can, and to use the talents I have. I want to listen to God's will for me-

    All so that I can listen to laughter and loving discussion for many generations.

    An excellent call to attention. Now for some action. Any suggestions, cyberspace?

    Listening is a great place to start.

  2. Well, I'll start by making my comment slightly more upbeat. The world is not getting worse. It is improving, and has been all our lives. If you doubt that, that's probably just a sign that you're not fully aware of all the craziness that went down in the 20th century. There may be more of us now, but we're making steps to lessen our impact on nature, we're making our lives longer and more fulfilling (especially if you're not a white male), and killing each other far less.

    A little evidence of this:


    So, now to the problem of how the world is today. I agree that there are lots of big problems in the world - famine, disease, crime, war, etc. But I disagree that we have the ability to solve these problems at the moment.

    That's going to be a confusing statement, so let me make it clearer. There is certainly an imaginable situation in which there are none of those problems I listed above plaguing us. For example, in order to stop crime, we just have to stop committing crimes. It seems simple. In order to fix world hunger, we just need to be better at moving food around according to real demand (we already make enough). And so on.

    The problem is, these solutions can be imagined, but making them a reality requires solutions and inventions that we haven't thought of yet. These are massive logistical problems, and it's my opinion (hypothesis?) that in order to solve them will take at least as much innovation and as many technological breakthroughs as fixing the problem of disease. I can think of no guaranteed way of making sure that every person is fed, or that no person commits a crime, that can be plausibly implemented. Put simply - we don't have the ability required to solve these problems just yet.

    But there are plenty of solutions that have been proposed, that certainly help. Like I said before, we *are* getting better at tackling these issues. Diseases are being cured, peace settlements are being negotiated, third-world countries are getting richer (on the whole).

    Not that everyone's helping. I find it bizarre that some of the countries in the world with the largest disparity between the poor and the rich, have the most measly culture of philanthropic aid. Saudi princes, the Indian wealthy class, African warlords, etc... why are these people so reluctant to share their wealth? It's a real psychological problem, there must be some reason as to why this occurs.

    So basically I'd sum up that we are getting better at everything, slowly, in spurts, but we need more research into what the most effective ways of solving these problems are (what are the best ways of stopping crime, keeping peace, spreading wealth, etc, and how can we implement these?)

  3. True, true. There will always be the poor. And the hungry. And the corrupt.

    Getting better is a good way to see things if it inspires us to take initiative in progressing the situation- but if the clear disparity helps to motivate (and not just cause despair) then that's fine, too.

  4. I like the graph and I was beginning to feel that it was time for a little hope. But there is still much wrong with the world. I am hoping that instead of waiting with cross fingers that science and technology would eventually randomly spill over and solve everything, we could change the human heart more actively to address what was going on across the planet.