I found the article below as I am compiling my “BODY OF WORK” document to accompany my submission of my screenplay and digging up items to list on this resume. This is an article I wrote on the day someone had predicted the world was going to come to an end. I was impressed so decided to share it with you. Please read and enjoy. Credits for the accompanying photograph belong to Grace Palma Morris.
The Day The World Almost Came To An End….And Still Might…But Doesn’t Have To
As raging winds of a massive storm that is currently sweeping across a great part of the United States howl outside my window shortly after the winter solstice earlier at 6:10 AM Eastern, the time that people believe the ancient Mayans predicted the world would come to an end, three hours before 20 children and 6 adults are remembered in in Newtown, Connecticut, in a “sacred” moment commemorating a moment that was anything but sacred one week ago, it is clear that something in our world is way out of whack and that maybe there is something to this prediction that eludes literal interpretation yet stands up to meaningful reflection. That the symptoms of climate change are real is something no one, especially anyone over 20, such as myself, who remembers very different weather patterns in my earlier life, can deny, whether or not they attribute it to something external to the causes humans have made or directly related to them. That more children are killing other children, as well as themselves, is a fact that is a glaring reality. That our system of government has debilitated to the point of, practically speaking, falling apart altogether, as the very ideologically divided members of it seem unable to work out a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” is another undeniable reality, whether you attribute it to the enormity of the size of the money pouring into the people who get elected to its offices long before they actually get elected, or to the size of the government itself.
If any reality has made itself screamingly apparent on this day, December 21, 2012, it is that out entire planet is terribly unbalanced in a way that goes deeper and larger than any of these individual phenomena. Any thinking person cannot help but question the thinking that led our civilization to this point we’re at now and wonder if indeed we are, if not having created, taking part helplessly in our own demise. For every disease that we’ve eradicated, a new one has taken its place. The hardships of survival on the plains of life before oil, gas, steam and electricity have been replaced by the hardships of survival in the dizzying fast paced life of job-killing automation, split-second news cycles and a social environment that is enslaved to a technological forum we barely comprehend. It does indeed seem as though we’ve gotten nowhere and that our progress has really been circular, leading us right back to where we started from, or—worse—off the edge of that looming cliff of no return.
I think it is entirely possible that the world may be coming to an end and that today can perhaps be said to be the day all the factors that have already been happening have led it to the point of no return, or at least the day we’ve epiphanically become aware of that fact. However, I also believe we really don’t know if it’s the end, a new beginning, or simply a turning point, this day that is already an annual turning point when winter begins, the roughest season, yet the day starts to get longer, the day, as put by an author for the PBS series nature, “when the light has won over the darkness”. Or, as another person once said, because it is we ourselves who have created the mess, we therefore have the power to fix it. Yes, it is true that it is easier for us to destroy than to create, to make war than to make peace. But that does not make it impossible.
We have always been an experimenter. We’ve tried different ways to make our lives better. That is the better part of us. But we’ve forgotten that there is a worse part of our makeup too, and that worse part is the part that makes us forget about itself. Hubrically, we pride ourselves on our accomplishments—great accomplishments indeed—while losing the humility to remember that they are but works in progress. The founders of the United States said, “In order to form a more perfect union…”, in the preamble to our Constitution. They understood that perfection is an illusion and that we can only become more perfect than we were yesterday and hopefully reflect on the new progress we’ve made, tweak that and search for an even better, more perfect way to unite and accomplish something great. Perhaps we’re brought back full round in circle when we lose both our perspective and our humility.
Therefore I think the solution is not in going back to the way we did things before nor in just keeping on doing things the way we are now. We need to both respect the wisdom of our elders, our forbears while priding ourselves on the achievements of our own generation, but mostly to work together with our children to find the balance we’ve so desperately lost, not avoiding them and thereby leaving them to copy our own shortsightedness and go down that slippery maze from which they may or may not find the way out, but to unite. The preamble to our Constitution contains the word “union” after the word “more perfect”. We need to come together with a new understanding of what the word “union” really means. We have become afraid of losing ourselves and our freedom in uniting, something that has been the bedrock of our progress in the past. But “union” does not mean the merging of different people into one homogenous, unitary group of individuals, but instead a dynamic association of people, each with his or her own distinct nature and personality, all bringing something to the group effort to move our species and our planet forward along a plane of new understanding. I think more than ever now is the time when the happiness of each of us is dependent on the ability of all of us to work together instead of at cross-purposes with each other in order to solve the problems that confront us and, through our association, naturally come to feel that we are important, we mean something to each other and that having is far less important than sharing, the essential ingredient of love, and that therefore, we also have the ability to share with and be responsible for our planet and all life on it, not merely for their but for all of our sustained growth and living, and that we can reverse this maddening course we have been setting ourselves on by thinking only of what we can get from it as we draw heavy upon its offerings while returning nothing back, but instead can offer back by living lightly and with a smile.
Most of all, what is needed is the restoration of optimism, the belief that nothing is too hard or too impossible for us to overcome. Unfortunately, while toward the end of the 19th century, it seemed that America abounded with people who thought that nothing was unachievable, nowadays, the voices of people resound with hopelessness, with the ironclad belief that the good things “will never happen” and that we really are way beyond the point of no return. This majority of people really believe they have no power and have resigned themselves to it. It is heart-wrenching to know that 200 years ago, people who had far less political power than these Americans do today, believed they had more and actually did something to change their reality, while those today contribute to worsening the problem by believing they can do nothing and therefore doing nothing. So if you want to know where your worst enemy is and where to start helping this world turn around, look no further. It is within you that the answer and the solution lies. So let’s start now. “Il nous faut cultiver notre jardin”.