MAKING THE WORLD WORK FOR EVERYONE – A PALE BLUE DOT – PART II
Planet Earth from a distance of 4 billion miles. Photo by Voyager I. Source: NASA/JPL Feb. 1990 (Just below middle of page in orange/brown color band on right)
“Whether you will or not, you are a king, Tristram, for you are one of the time-sifted few that leave the world, when they are gone, not the same place it was. Mark what you leave.” – – Edwin Arlington Robinson writing of the legendary knight Sir Tristram
One could easily imagine Robinson was speaking to all of us when he wrote the lines above. Because, whether we will or not, each and every one of us leave the world a different place when we are gone. For better or worse, our lives have an impact. We don’t have a choice.
But let us conceptualize a step farther. Whether we will or not, each and every one of us is also a citizen of the world. It isn’t an option. We may be good citizens, we may be poor, but we are citizens of the world nonetheless. We don’t have a choice. We may think of ourselves as American, or Venezuelan, or Chinese, or Yemeni, or Russian, and the overlapping rich cultural diversity of all of these “nations” create the synergy we call humanity, but taken as a whole, we are all citizens of planet Earth.
Now, thinking of ourselves as world citizens, let us recall Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, our tiny orb, Spaceship Earth, traveling through the Cosmos. In central Wisconsin on the 45th parallel we rotate on Earth’s axis at 733 miles per hour, while at the same time making our annual orbit around the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour. Our Solar system itself travels around the Milky Way galaxy at 448,000 miles per hour. As such, though our spaceship is so well designed we never notice it, we all journey through the Universe at over 500,000 miles per hour. All that happens on our planet and all of our cosmic traveling, is controlled by the laws of physics, the laws of the Universe.
Continuing to visualize ourselves as citizens of the world, or more accurately as fellow passengers aboard a spaceship, we must take a moment to consider these laws of physics, these laws of the Universe. These laws recognize no national boundaries, cater to no political ideologies. They respect no economic dogma, see no ethnic background, favor no religion. They care not what we “believe,” they care not what we think we “know.” The laws of physics, the laws of the Universe, will do what they do and we humans will live by them and die by them. They hear no argument.
Humanity has reached a critical moment in our brief history aboard Spaceship Earth. In learning to work with the laws of physics and the chemical elements gifted to us over billions of years by the stars, we have greatly increased our survival rates. But in this learning process we have also done great harm to our ship and created great hazards threatening our very viability as passengers. Global warming and the quickly growing possibility of nuclear war now bring into question whether the laws of the Universe will allow man to continue onboard Spaceship Earth.
When we begin to envision ourselves as citizens of the world, hearing the argument that shifting from fossil fuels to alternative energies is “bad for the economy” becomes self-destructive ignorance beyond belief. It is burning one’s home to stay warm in the winter.
When we begin envisioning ourselves as citizens of the world – as fellow passengers aboard Spaceship Earth – hearing that environmental regulations or reducing pollution to protect our ship are “bad for business” becomes economic lunacy beyond imagination, the economic road to perdition.
When we begin to envision ourselves as citizens of the world – as fellow passengers aboard Spaceship Earth – hearing that we must build more nuclear weapons to prevent the “enemy” from using their nuclear weapons on “us,” becomes the argument of sociopathic madmen, the “logic” of insanity. “Mutually assured destruction” is mutually ensured destruction.
When we begin to envision ourselves as citizens of the world – as fellow crewmembers aboard a beloved Spaceship – hearing that the arms industry “creates jobs” and “makes a lot of money,” becomes the psychotic path to oblivion. When humans are gone, what will the “economy” be?
When we begin thinking of ourselves as citizens of the world, as fellow passengers, fellow crewmembers aboard a spaceship, any actions we may take that endanger the operational integrity of our ship or the safety and wellbeing of its passengers become the obvious and truly “unaffordable” economy. When we begin thinking of ourselves as citizens of the world, as fellow passengers and crew members aboard a spaceship, anything we can do to ensure the operational integrity of our ship and the safety and wellbeing of its passengers becomes the always and only “affordable” economy.
We humans genuinely stand at a critical juncture in our evolution. We can choose to be Universally successful or we can choose to be a Universal failed experiment. But if we hope to be Universally successful, we must begin rethinking much of everything we were ever taught to believe. Continuing down the path of “you or me” rather than “we and us” Is the road to extinction. Whether we will or not, we are citizens of the world.
A Morning Meditation:
Good morning Sun, good morning Universe. I am a citizen of the world, a crewmember of Spaceship Earth. I have a responsibility for the wellbeing of my ship and my fellow crewmembers. May the Cosmic Intellect guide me in my actions this day.
Part III will discuss: Solomon