A Good, True, and Beautiful World: A Message for 2017
In one day, 2016 will be done. Don’t waste time looking back and grieving losses. Every moment of consciousness is a mixed bag of joy and sadness, success and failure, life and death, gains and losses, courage and fear. We continue on.
More than ever, we have an imperiled planet on our hands. You know the laundry list: environmental ruin, political corruption, social injustice, illiteracy, proliferation of nuclear weapons, armed conflict, global overpopulation, international terrorism, poverty, hunger, animal abuse, human trafficking, and more. The truth is, if the actual nature of our predicament was to made known to any one of us, it would be completely paralyzing. We’re in deeper trouble than we think.
The privileged classes – that’s us – have a tremendous obligation to attempt to deconstruct the sick world we have helped create. The road to healing will be a narrow one, and probably an uphill one. There may be violence and suffering: there will certainly be resistance.
Let’s start with our children. Public education is a failure, a system of indoctrination under the control of corporations, whose interest in the young lies in creating the next generation of wage earners and tax payers. State and private universities must encourage studies in philosophy, language, and art instead of functioning as trade schools that mobilize young adults for careers in cost accounting and bank branch management.
We need to unleash our creativity, especially in literacy, philosophy, and language. What we cannot say effectively, we cannot communicate effectively. We can conceive of it, but we can’t communicate it, and hence, we are powerless.
We must cut through the illusions that keep us in the dark – illusions of materialism, scientism, rationalism, male dominance, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and institutions that guide us to our destinies without our consent. In other words, business as usual. We are sleepwalking through our lives - going to college, starting careers and saving for retirement, marrying, consuming, going into debt, having children, paying taxes, divorcing, and nurturing addictions. The time is here to wake up.
Morale courage is the battleground over which the struggle will happen. We must stop being afraid to rise up and call bullshit when we see it. We cannot continue to be afraid to grab the levers and push the buttons in the control room. We must empower ourselves to stand up in social and political situations – even sensitive ones – say, “Bullshit”, and then demand change.
I believe there will be only one chance. The engines are running low. The runway is before us, there is only one approach, and we must land or crash. A good, true, and beautiful world is not a hippie hallucination of utopia. It was the state of this planet and its inhabitants before we fouled our own nest.
The muse is there: we just need to open our ears, and open our eyes. And then roll up our sleeves. We don’t have the luxury of centuries of gently unfolding time with which to slowly correct our mistakes and create a bright new world. This is a fire in a madhouse.
Reach for moral courage and start the work. Organize your vision for a new world; a world as real as anything we know, and infinitely better. It isn’t that the world is tired and played out. It’s waiting to be fixed. It will be a tough fight that will bear down on us. But I fervently believe that we are up to the challenge.
Live in peace.