We have become human high-tension wires stripped of our protective insulation. We crackle and arc with fear and anger all because the illusions of stability, like the assured continuity of our majority rule democracy, in a changing world are popping around us like soap bubbles.
We blew them off the front porch when we were kids, safely tucked under the warm comforter of our childhood naivete. We watched them trail off on the breeze hoping they would float high and away and last forever. Like our illusions, pop they did but with soapy water we just blew more.
It is in the nature of human beings to blow out from our porches the bubble of our own rectitude, that we have the inside track on the truth. It is also in the nature of human beings to be dead wrong a lot more often than we’d like to admit, something we rarely do. We defend our rectitude bubbles instead. Sometimes, way too often, we defend them with violence.
Following this very fraught election the electricity in the political air of our country seems supercharged as millions of bubbles pop almost in unison. I inhale and blow out a short string of bubbles, here, setting them adrift on a chill, post-election, November breeze.
From scientific reckoning our universe is somewhere in the area of 13.7 billion years old and our little rock, we call it Earth, has been around for about 4.5 billion of those years. That’s a long time to wait to be born, a really long time, and yet, for this brief moment, here we are. Glad to meet you my friend.
The universe we are a tiny, tiny part of is immeasurably vast. Astronomers and physicists estimate it at 93 billion light years end to end. It strikes me as being quite amazing that in that near infinity of both time and space you and I are here in this place at the same time.
It makes me want to run up and hug you out joy, I mean, what are the chances? Pretty astronomical I’d say. I don’t really care about right or wrong now, I’m just happy we’re here together. Why, then, do we hate one another so readily? Not my religion. Not my country. Not my skin color. Not my political persuasion. The list goes on war after war.
Maybe we should all be required to take astronomy starting around age 5. Or wear a picture of the “small blue dot” earth as photographed from Mars, on a lanyard around our necks to remind us how fragile and rare we really are. Perhaps then we’d start taking care of one another and this little pebble on which we all rely.
Surprisingly, I hang on to certainty about the inevitability of Martin Luther King’s vision of the Beloved Community. As the reality of our deepening climate crisis gradually pops all our illusory bubbles about superiority, nationalism and the value of ever more “me-first” wealth, I believe eventually we will come together.
Jioji Konrote, president of Fiji, an island nation threatened by the rising Pacific Ocean, was the first leader to congratulate Joe Biden. “Get busy on climate change.” was his message. But a Joe Biden America cannot save Fiji alone. If we are to succeed in overcoming the global climate threat Fiji faces today, we will have no choice but to work together as one people pulling on the same two oars.
As flawed as the Paris Climate Accord is, it stands as the only agreement signed by pretty much every country on the planet. Quite amazing when you get right down to it.
We face other enormous threats too. Nearly eight billion people gradually revealing to us that we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet – ten to 12 billion by the centuries end. Where will we get enough water? How will we feed ourselves without destroying, or eating, the rest of what lives on this planet?
To solve these problems, we will need all the educated minds, all the innovative minds we can get. To let even one person, maybe someone with answers we all need. go unfed and uneducated is foolishness we cannot afford. Sooner or later, from my porch anyway, family unity is our destiny. Let it begin today.