It is far easier to go through life focusing on the beautiful things on this planet, and there are oh so many beautiful things. Sunrises and sunsets, jagged peaks and rolling hills, cloud formations, rainforests, and waterfalls. Human accomplishments in art, paint, sculpture, science, and music. A new mother holding a child, an act of human kindness, a miraculous recovery. Wonder after wonder, and miracle after miracle.Each being is their own world of genetics, shaped experiences, accomplishments, struggles, pains, and powers.
And yet we also live in a world where an unexpected tsunami of water can kill hundreds of thousands of people in the blink of an eye and where an incurable virus can wipe out entire generations of people and infect entire countries. We live in a world of earthquakes, droughts, famines, volcanic eruptions, and blizzards.
Humans are incredible things, yet we are so fragile, so small, so subject to the conditions of the world around us.
And far worse are the things we do to each other.
We live in a world of mass shootings, torture, and war. We live in a world where 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexually assaulted during their life time, where hundreds of thousands of women and children vanish in human trafficking circles, where entire races and tribes of people are sold into slavery, where entire sub-groups of people are denied basic human rights and privileges. We live in a world of concentration camps, of child pornography, of mass graves, of genocide.
We live in a world where governments are overthrown, where political systems get weak and sociopaths like Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Tse-Tsung obtain positions of power and murder people by the millions through forced starvation programs, gas chambers, and the razing of entire villages.
We live in a world where we cannot possibly ignore our history. If we live in an earthquake zone, we must reinforce our walls and prepare for the dark times. Similarly, as humans, we cannot ignore the evidences and realities of the atrocities of history and the present all around us. We must steel ourselves up, prepare, prevent, prosecute the offender, save and empower the victim and survivor. And we must do it not in the name of one of the world’s many religions or gods, but in the sake of kindness, beauty, understanding, inclusion, history, and love. We must do it to save and preserve each other, to save and preserve ourselves.
We must strike a delicate balance of understanding the atrocities of the world, including raising awareness and implementing prevention strategies, and loving and appreciating the beauties of the world around us.
I’m up for the challenge. Are you?