Yesterday we learned of a tragic event during the Boston Marathon. There is no pleasant way to say it, nor is there a reason to lose hope in humanity. I do not wish to discuss religion as a major topic of this blog post, but I will talk about some of the implications it may have for it, and for our future.
First, the ugly; we live in a world where there are people who clearly wish to perform these actions. Reasons for these actions can be anything from a true, unreasonable hatred, to legitimate chemical imbalance in one’s brain. The saddest part is that nearly all these things are ‘curable'; we can prescribe medication for our chemically imbalanced brothers and sisters, we can raise people with understanding that all humankind is to be loved and treated with dignity.
Treating others with dignity and loving thy neighbor has many obstacles ahead of it however… We, as citizens of the world, have so much xenophobia, racism, classism, gender discrimination, and over all hatred of all things we do not understand hammered into us. We learn to fear things we do not understand, and from that fear grows hatred. Yoda from Star Wars truly got it right… fear leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side. A perfect metaphor for much of the world.
Imagine us living in a world where instead of blind fear was taught to us, without qualification or reason, we were taught to investigate, to go in with an open mind, and to engage those around us… Imagine how much different so many events in the world would have turned out. Would the bomber of the Marathon perhaps been able to come to a more reasonable means of demonstrating their dissatisfaction with whatever it was they disagreed with if they had talked with someone and been given the opportunity to express their emotions? Where were the people in this person (peoples) life? Why did they feel this was the only way to demonstrate their feelings?
Second, the bad… Even though this world offers us all a great deal, we do have to understand that there are other people in the world. True compromise is a difficult thing to accomplish when you start to add in the multitude of people and needs that need to be taken into consideration, but compromise is still easy to accomplish. Realistic expectations and gradual changes are the key to making the changes we want to see in life. For example, lets say a person is upset about a particular political policy in their state. Not all such policies are things that disappear over night, many take decades of discussion and debate to accomplish. These fights are still worth it though, and we mustn’t ever give up on them. One of the biggest challenges to this is ensuring both sides of any argument are being realistic in their expectations… For another example; the debate over “gay marriage” (or what I call marriage), both parties need to look at their argument and ask themselves if what is being done is being done fairly and if the motivations for the argument are reasonable to all parties involved – or do they serve just your side?
Alas, we’ve got the good news… The world is changing, a few would argue for the worse, but most would argue for the better. The world has seen much progress in the last decade. Things that many didn’t believe they would have ever seen in their lifetimes have come to pass. A mixed-race president, a cultural acceptance of homosexuality, productive dialog between religious leaders, and the accession of minorities into all realms of politics and business. There is still much work to be done in the religious aspects of the world, but even those are making progress. We as a world seem to be paying less attention to the TV and paying more attention to what is going on. Although, there is admittedly a bit of an attention span issue… And I don’t want to make it sound like the world is all fine AND dandy, because there is much work to be done yet, there are still too many people preoccupied with sports and celebrity gossip, there are still too many people ignorant of what is going on in their own government and of who they vote for, and there is still a lot of fear of knowledge and the ability to change that comes with it.
But we stand on a precipice of major change in our world. We look out and the distance we have to travel and do not shutter, for we know the road we’ve traveled to go to where we already are and know that the trek is not being made in vain. We pluck the fruits of our labor and cut the crops of our sowing for the energy to proceed into the future. We are human beings, all of us, and we have the collective drive to accomplish anything we set our minds to.
There is no happiness that comes from the tragedy in Boston, but we cannot allow the minor shadows in our existence as a human race to slowly remove the light. I am not afraid of what comes next, because I’ve seen the responses of people in Boston, and around the world to this and every other tragedy on the planet… I am not afraid because when shadows creep into our world, that’s when humankind shines the brightest.
As a note; if you want to help with efforts in Boston, or any other event that may occur in the future, please consider donating blood or monetary donations to local organizations. Goods are a wonderful idea, but logistically are almost more hassle than they are worth.
May the burning of your torch light the path for others; may the scars you bare be a reminder of those who came before you to light your path.