Resetting thinking for the future
Relax people. Let’s refocus and reset our thinking.
We need not allow septic tank politicking for the Oct. 21 federal election to distract us from thinking about the critical issue affecting us all: What is wrong with our world and how can we begin to change it?
Our world is being consumed by anger, leading to more incivility, violence and a trend to authoritarianism, notably in the U.S., Britain and even here in Ontario.
As you read this, the U.S. gun violence meter is soaring above 40,000 shooting incidents this year. The actual figure at the start of the work week was 40,027 shootings that left 10,612 persons dead and 21,105 injured.
Last week Toronto registered its 300th shooting this year.
Why is our world angry and increasingly violent? Why are more people killing themselves with drugs? (More than 10,000 Canadians have died of opioid overdoses in the past three and a half years).
Possibly because we face seemingly insurmountable global challenges, and are frustrated by the lack of the superior leadership needed to deal with them.
The challenges are obvious.
Climate change is upsetting tens of thousands of lives. It is worsening immigration upheavals in which displaced people scramble to find safer places to live. The countries where the displaced seek safe haven are in turmoil trying to contain the flow of immigrants and managing orderly integration into their societies.
Pollution is choking the life out of our planet. Smog from industrial waste emissions is creating serious health risks in the world’s largest cities. Pure Earth, the U.S. environmental organization, estimates that 125 million people around the world are at risk from toxic pollution.
That number is growing larger. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that the global output of chemicals in 2020 will be 85 per cent higher than in 1995.
The world’s ground water is being contaminated by arsenic, mercury, lead and other industrial wastes. Then there are the agricultural pesticides seeping into the ground. And the carpets of plastic, acres in size, floating on the oceans’ surfaces.
Plus the world’s main economic issue: More people and fewer jobs.
We know about and see these problems that are helping to drive the human world mad. They are, however, just pieces of that one main issue: How do we stop all this, get the problems under control and restore the world’s sanity.
Instead of listening to the politicians and their parties, whose first priority is to get elected, we need individual action. We all need to reset our thinking on how we live.
Our view of life is one dimensional – focused on human life. We are the superior beings in a world created for us. All other forms of life are inferior. In fact, there still are people who feel that some humans are inferior to others.
Earlier world peoples saw things differently. They viewed all life, even bugs and weeds, as interrelated, independent life forms connected to and dependent on each other.
Under that reasoning, when you toss an empty beer can out your car window on Highway 35 or some other road you are not just breaking a human-created law, you are disrespecting and abusing other forms of life.
Indigenous thinking is making a bit of a comeback with what now is called spiritual ecology. Proponents of spiritual ecology say that today’s conservation efforts should include spiritual values such as a reverence for nature and understanding the interrelationship of all life.
That might sound like airy-fairy thinking to some people, but proponents say it is a start to preparing a future that is not based on rampant materialism and greed, major causes of the world’s problems.
Certainly the thinking of our political leadership must change. We never will get anything achieved with polarized political parties and hostile leaders who prefer to bark at each other instead of working together.
Real change in thinking takes time and the time between now and Oct. 21 is very short. However, voters can make a start by supporting candidates who can focus on the type of thinking that will help build a better future.
We need to think less about our individual homemade political issues and more about the overall world problems filtering down and making life more difficult here at home.