Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's to be Done?

The basic question that I have been aiming for the last few posts was, 'what's to be done, to make the world a better place—for EVERYone?' Just a minor little question, ey? We all see imperfections of the world machine, maybe on a daily basis, especially if you pay attention to the news.

As some folks point out, people are basically good. The daily news just shines a spotlight on the few bad ones. Yes. But. There are MANY of the basically good that are suffering at the hands of the 'few' bad ones. We have justice systems constantly at work, trying to round up the bad ones and put them where they can do no harm. And the justice systems are overwhelmed by the numbers of people trying to infringe on the rights of others.

There are comparatively few 'bad' people in the world (though by numbers, still very many), but there are MAJOR numbers of people making bad decisions, many times oblivious to the harm being perpetrated. For instance, child abuse comes in many forms, subtle or not, that can affect a victim for a lifetime. Or likewise for someone to drink and drive and cause horrendous harm. Bad decisions.

What's to be done?

I have no delusion that my words will make any difference. So many people, so much more qualified than I, have written with so much more wisdom & authority than I, and been listened to more intently than I — and STILL made little difference in the scheme of things. But they made the effort, and so must I. Even so, nothing I say is unique or new, but I have daydreams that by getting enough people to put their thought to it, it could be revolutionary. I admit, that's a daydream.

What's to be done?

I have been living a philosophy for a while now, that advises me to live for the 'now'. Do not be regretful of the past, do not be concerned for the future. With day to day situations that philosophy works fairly well, keeping my mind in a peaceful state.

But in reading some current literature about the many ways the world can go wrong, perhaps putting ourselves on the verge of extinction in a very short amount of time—well, I have to put some thought into the 'future', thinking perhaps of our '7th generation of descendants.'

The Future of the World
A portrait of our daughter at the age of 8
Above, Copyright ©2000 Haller-Buchanan — All Rights Reserved

That begins with ourselves and our children. We and they make the future. We need fewer bad people and fewer bad decisions.

What's to be done?

This.

We need to create a world that is better for our children. That involves love and compassion, lack of superstition, an abundance of good decisions, a sense of humor and perhaps new ways of thinking and solving problems.

The world DOES have an abundance of love and compassion, there's no doubt about it, even Hitler had his moments. The world is FULL of superstition in ways we sometimes don't even recognize, beliefs that cripple our full potential for love and compassion. Good decisions, well, I know I haven't made nearly as many as I should have. How about you? A sense of humor—yes, most of us have that in good quantity—but some of us can't laugh at ourselves and then get so riled up that harm can be done.

New ways of thinking and problem solving— aye, there's the rub. That, I believe, is what's to be done. Education: radical thoughts on teaching our kids AND ourselves. That is my thread of thought for a few more posts.

Matt Groening — Newsweek — 1990s

Don't forget that sense of humor!

13 comments:

M. D. Jackson said...

I don't know about creating a better world for our children -- I don't know how to do that -- But I think we can create better children for the world. Education is incredibly important, but I don't mean public education I mean the education and example we give to our children. Try to make our children better than we are -- teach them to live up to their better natures -- teach them that there are better ways to be than just getting a fat pile of cash or striving to look prettier than everyone else or screwing others over to get ahead. Teach them the value of love and respect. That's what I've tried to teach my kids and that's the only way I know to try to make the world a better place.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thank you MD. Precisely the points that will be coming up, with the sense of making better children WILL make a better world, even if it takes generations to do it.

You are directly on track with my thoughts.

And I do have a wisp of a plan. Oh my, that's a scary statement to make.

Kid said...

The irony is, Thom, that to make a better world for our children, we need to start having less children. Over-population and its impact on the environment is one of the very things that threatens the quality of life for future generations.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Kid, that will fit right in with my thoughts on "simplification". We all need to be satisfied with less.

RJDiogenes said...

Thomas, I appreciate what you are saying; these are things that have concerned me all my life. What can be done? Many things. What I do is live a life of kindness and compassion and try to set an example. Most people respond to kindness and compassion, and will pass it on. I promote the nobler attributes of Humanity in my writing and art. People respond to that, as well. In this age of the Internet, we can use our social networks to promote a better civilization. But we should always remember that every kind word, every act of sympathy and generosity and every moment of restraint counts.

You may find this Blog encouraging:

http://blog.richmond.edu/heroes/

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

RJDiogenes, yes, thank you, excellent words of advice. And an excellent link.

I'd like you, and others, to know that I'm not discouraged about society's situation. I have been setting the stage for linking to all the concepts and values that exist in the blogosphere and beyond; and perhaps how some of us may ratchet up our involvement with the future.

I will promote the heroes link as things move along.

Thank you again.

ToB said...

Thanks for this post, Thom. I'm very glad to see you pursuing this train of thought. I often find your blog to be a web oasis from all the wild n crazy stuff out there. I agree with much of what you're saying, especially the need to focus on the present and the future. I would say though that we should not discard the past, which is merrily being tossed everywhere one looks. For example: the elderly should be given extra care and attention - a voice and some credit. I also feel that things are moving so quickly with technology's expansion that it is hard for society to keep up, and this causes stress. This was one reason why I started my own blog - to try to comment on and make sense of Millennial trends as they are happening in the hope that it will help others.

I think one thing we need to do is be more aware of the impact we have as individuals. We should use the golden rule - or walk in another person's shoes more. I think social mores encouraged a lot of egotism and 'anything goes for the individual' attitudes over the past generation. While it is good to free up inhibitions and limitations - to discard benighted attitudes - it is also good to consciously choose not make the world worse.

One place to start is online, in new virtual communities. I think the Internet allows people to say and do a lot of things, often out of self-indulgence. They think they operate in anonymity, with no chance of being caught. This encourages, for one small example, extra-marital problems. I think people need to step back from the things they do on the Web, and ask themselves if they are making the world worse when they do / say / post something.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thank you ToB!

Your analyses are always enlightening, and your blog is a part of my daily diet — words and images to digest.

The virtual community has grown to be very important to me, broadening my mental horizons, and truly being a wonderful tool for me to 'think out loud', yes, a form of self-indulgence on my part. But I decided from the very beginning to represent my identity fully, not out of ego, but in the sense of being responsible for my actions.

I look forward to your reactions as I get further along in expressing my idealistic expositions.

Annie said...

Hi Thom,
Your daughter is beautiful, and you and your wife made a beautiful portrait of her!

JDJarvis said...

The world is full of people who are ignorant, fearful, selfish, and hateful. The real hope is the power of education and communication to eliminate all of the above.
We don't all have to love each other but we should love ourselves and our families enough to leave a better world for everyone.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Education and communication. Yes.

We should love each other enough to stop hating each other. And yes, it begins with each of us.

buzz said...

All we can do is be as kind as we can to one another. If enough of us do, it will make a difference.

ToB said...

Thom, a response to some of your posts:

http://historiesofthingstocome.blogspot.com/2012/07/depression-and-dilemma.html