Login
Password

Forgot your password?

A FRESH LOOK AT POVERTY, THE POOR and our WORLD

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

A FRESH LOOK AT POVERTY, THE POOR and our WORLD

In Tribute to Mother Teresa  

By: J. Marlando

PART ONE: The Inhumanity of it all

In almost every corner of the world and in nearly all religions from Christianity to Pagan, Judaism to Buddhism and Taoism to Hinduism, there is this in common—the rule that tells us to simply do onto others as we would have them do onto us.

 There is probably no other reference made more by a larger population of human beings than this one universal declaration of moral and ethical behavior. Indeed it is often preached both privately and publicly as the grand teacher of the heart and of righteous living. Yet, it is seldom applied or practiced even by those who tend to preach it the loudest. War certainly breaks from the teaching…the aspects of social-Darwinism certainly turns it back on the teaching…greed and jealousies reject the teaching just as hatefulness and racial and/or cultural prejudices do.

More often than not this “rule” is not even kept in our own homes where married couples and relatives will so readily belittle one another or name call. (Cheating spouses give no thought at all to the code of conduct that the rule implies). Certainly thieves, be they price gougers, corporate larcenists, political plunderers or street bandits don’t. At the same time, most ordinary people do not follow the rule either. And so, this simplest and most constructive of all directives of human conduct—to treat others as you would be treated—is praised and advocated by nearly everyone but practiced by a very…very few.

In regard to the above, a world view that I have often written about, is that most pain and suffering around the globe is unnecessary. Hunger, starvation and a lot of illness does not arrive from nature through disasters such as droughts and floods but rather because of systems made by governments and military regimes. Indeed, urban slum growth is expanding faster than urban growth itself—presently there are more than one billion people living in slum conditions in the world and it is said that here, in the U.S., the wealthiest of all industrial nations, has the widest gap between rich and poor. Poverty of course is at the root of most crime but also many other social maladies such as family breakup, teen pregnancies, growing numbers of school dropouts and premature death from lack of proper medicines and other treatment. One can see the escalating numbers of homeless in our own country and this growth, while shocking to most average Americans, is not nearly the growth of the hungry and homeless in many other nations.

A problem is that we have been indoctrinated to believe that most people who hit the bottom of the barrel are, at bottom line, at fault for their own circumstances. As I have said a great many times, one of the most destructive things that we people do is judge others by ourselves and ourselves by others. But the truth remains as that old adage tells us never judge another person unless you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. This reminds me of the great story that *Wayne W. Dyer tells about Mother Teresa being interviewed by a friend of his on a Phoenix radio show.

You will recall that Mother Teresa spent a lifetime caring for the downtrodden in Calcutta, the center of human impoverishment. Being touched by her story, the host asked Mother Teresa if there was anything he could do to help her with her cause like raise funds or give her publicity.

Mother Teresa told him no, that there was nothing he needed to do to help her. She said, “My cause is not about publicity and it’s not about money. It is about something much higher than that.”

The man persisted saying, “Isn’t there anything I can do for you? I feel so helpless.”

Mother Teresa’s response was: “If you really want to do something, Pat, tomorrow morning get up at four A.M. and go out on the streets of Phoenix. Find someone living there who believes he is alone, and convince him that he is not. That is what you can do.”

 *Manifest Your Destiny *Wayne W. Dyer *Harper/Collins

In my writing I often say that when people are in dire circumstances they can nearly always track their hard times back to the choices that they’ve made. While this is true under normal circumstances, a person born in the Sudan or the hovels of India, for example, certainly did nothing to create those conditions for themselves. What a great many people forget, especially in the West is that poverty, like wealth is inherited.

The reasons for stark poverty are manifold: There are many people living on our own streets who are in need of medical and/or mental treatment, some poor souls have simply fallen through the cracks of normal day to day life; yes there are also those who have drank or drugged themselves into ruin but, even so, as a general rule, booze and drug abuse is a symptom of unhappiness or deeply rooted psychological problems and not mere self-indulgences.

I’ve been in cars with people on the way to the L.A. airport which means driving through some pretty impoverished, ghetto areas if one doesn’t take the freeway. Seeing those poor conditions invariably causes the conversation to go directly to the people who live there. Mostly the same comments are repeated time and time again. Look at those people, a community of dopers and no hopers…they wouldn’t have to live like that if they weren’t welfare-loving and lazy…in America you can always pull yourself up by your own bootstraps if you want to…and, if we happen to drive past some guy or gal with a sign that reads: Need help. Almost always there will be someone in the car to say something like, he probably has his Mercedes parked around the corner or he’s probably making more money than I do. No one ever says, stop, and let’s give that fellow a little hope or help.

The truth, however, is that none of those in the car, making the comments have ever bothered to talk to the people, much less, know the people who they are so readily judging. They have never tasted their tears or felt their fears; they have never walked their streets or gone into their apartments or houses. They have never eaten a meal with them sharing their goals and ambitions; their buildups and letdowns. They have simply swallowed the propaganda that somehow “those people” have chosen food stamps and welfare over work and progression. And so, we continue on to the airport talking business and boasting our well made plans for the future. We leave the ghetto and so its people behind like an inconsequential movie we can barely remember.

There is a wonderful saying that tells us to never look down at anyone unless it is to give them a hand up. This is certainly part of the message from the parable of The Good Samaritan. It has always struck me as odd to see some folks drive passed or even step over people on the street on their way to church, however.  It simply seems so paradoxical to me.

As a quick aside there is an eye-awaking book that was published back in the 2001. It was written by Barbara Ehrenreich with title, Nickel and Dimed. (I wish I could get those people in the car I was talking about to read it). It is a book that talks about the people living on the wages of so-called unskilled labor. Ms. Ehrenreich started her project in 1998 when, as she explains, “…it took an average nationwide, an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and the Preamble Center for Public Policy was estimating that the odds against the typical welfare recipient’s landing a job at such a ‘living wage’ were about 97 to 1.” While the numbers have changed over the last decade plus, the conditions haven’t and are indeed worse than in 2001. The latest statistic I’ve read for 2012 is that there are 12.7 million unemployed, over 800,000 discouraged workers (those believing they can’t find work) and no one knows the number of people who are on the street but working for minimum wage, not enough to support anyone “nickel and diming” it. And, there is simply no more denying it, the gap between rich and poor is wider than it ever has been and continues to widen.

Indeed, not everyone on food stamps and welfare are there because they are either too lazy to work or want to live off the government. These are social myths that keep the rest of us thinking that no American has to live on “handouts” unless they want to. Let’s face it, welfare is never enough to live (well) on. And, no child says gosh, when I grow up I want to live off the state. Yet, we are given to believe that at least most people on welfare are on welfare because they somehow want to be. This notion borders on the absurd but it is implied by a lot of people anyway.

In view of the above, I believe that most people—there are virtue populations of exceptions—but I believe that most people have empathy for our own country’s poor. For one thing a sizable margin of the middle class is slipping into the lower classes and, as far as the lower classes, well, the poor just keeps getting poorer.

As I am writing these words it is 2012 and the entire economy has plummeted; everyone is aware of the home mortgage failures, the banking failures and Wall Street fiascos; of government overspending and the high cost of daily living; The trillion dollar war effort in the Middle East and yes, the tendency of people to live beyond their means. And, the economic downturn is not only a domestic challenge, it has become a global challenge—people in vast numbers are hurting financially all around the world and the Western world is enduring a depression.

                                                      SUMMARY OF SECTION ONE

 At bottom line what we have learned in the above is that poverty and therefore human suffering is expanding…worldwide! We witness it on the home front by watching the population of the homeless and yes, the hungry growing; by seeing a new age of the jobless men and women falling through the cracks of the economic system. Our religions promote a general ethic of loving our neighbors as ourselves, the motivation to do onto others as we’d have them do onto ourselves. There are exceptions but by and large these motivations are exchanged for harsh and hard political views; give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The value that is typically missing in this philosophy is that he needs to eat while learning to be a fisherman; he needs shelter and sometimes medicine and if not medicine, encouragement. Metaphorically, a fishing pole and some bait may be the theoretical answer to his hunger but is often too little too late.

There is yet another consideration. Poverty that evolves without enough food, or water and leaves a people without adequate shelter is a construct of systems wherein the elite congregate in the center amassing vast fortunes which equate to power over the many. This is not only a modern condition but has been occurring since the dawning of civilization. Even the so-called “democracy” of Ancient Athens was ruled by the city's wealthy and elite and not the people as "democracy" claims to be in charge.

Sages and holy persons like Jesus rejected such systems as he recognized the inhumaneness in them just as Buddha did hundreds of years earlier. Mother Teresa’s life demonstrated this recognition in modern times. Indeed, in India where she worked with the sick and suffering there is a saying—India is not poor, only the people are. And what this indicates is that the bureaucracies that rule have abundances while the rest are condemned to struggle and suffer. This is not a natural unfolding of the human condition but rather a product of human conditioning; we assume that the way things are is how they’re supposed to be and, mostly, we do our best to live and work within the framework.

 The question remains does it have to be like it is?

 PART TWO: The Human Condition

 The answer to the above question is absolutely not: the world does not have to remain on the same path it has followed since the advent of the earliest civilizations but (but!) it is simply too well structured for the success of the few to ever change very much. Well, to change in our lifetimes and perhaps not even for millenniums to come. Greed and self-centeredness support ego, there’s no doubt about that! So perhaps the more important question is to most simply ask, who and what are we as species?

The answer applies to we Americans but also to all the people around the world. We are a species who yearns most for a safe dwelling, enough food and clothing for ourselves and our families; a good time as often as possible and healthy longevity. While especially we Westerners dream of mansions on the hill, fancy cars and lots of money, *none of these riches are truly very important to us except perhaps in our fantasies.  Even the very wealthy who have all these things do not celebrate them as the poor believe that they would. While lots of stuff can be nice to have what most people truly care about comes down to a good, secure, happy and loving life. This is not to say that lots of money doesn’t make life easier and more pleasant because it does…or can! It only means to say that lots of money and lots of things is not the top priority for most people—on the other hand, having “enough” is a priority for all people.

One major unhappy-maker in our world has been around since the advent of so-called civilization—we human beings exist in centers. The church insists that the only way to God is through its door. The state insists that the way to security is through its rule; each place believes that its costumes, its customs, its totem and rituals are the way and all those who do not join them in their center are called lost or ignorant or…the enemy. Remember that old wise directive that told us when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

In any case, this “centering” has always been the cornerstone of wars, of genocides and cruelties of all kinds—white against black, Muslim against Christian, Catholic against Protestant, English against Irish, Japanese against Chinese, Persian against Greek the list goes on and on. The unnecessary pain, suffering and death these “centers” has caused over the millenniums are devastating tragedies to contemplate. And, the operative word remains “unnecessary” and this is the real point; that most of the suffering that people endure is manufactured by other people. Food is plentiful in our world. No one has to starve to death or be hungry…No one has to sleep on the streets or alleyways, there is enough money wasted and hoarded to build ample shelters for those who need them; to build “hope” houses as opposed to “flop” houses and no one should have to do without medicine because of lack of enough money.             

When a person talks about these things there are always those who call him (or her) a “bleeding heart” or a foolish “Utopian-ist” but mostly a…dreamer because they say, that’s not how it is, that’s not how the world works so get real!

 They are right of course, that isn’t how it works—even in America since the 1980s the very poor and the needy have been cast aside to wander about in homelessnes. And that sub-culture of the desolate is growing…growing on the home front and globally. But this is where new paradigms should evolve. For thousands of years we have existed in an “us” and “them” world—all those who ain’t us, are them.   

As said, this is because we have all been indoctrinated to live in our own centers, to see ourselves here and the rest of the world over there. Indeed, in the past we have recognized the universe as being fragmented into countless separate parts each isolated from the other. But today the view is changing toward an unexpected unity—not because of religions but, surprisingly, because of science. The quantum theory tells us that there are no separate parts in reality and we are ALL part of the whole. Perhaps reference was made to this when Jesus said that he and the father were one? We are all in oneness with everyone and everything else. It is then accurate to say that when you look at the poor wretch begging on the street or the rich person stepping out of his limousine that is you only in a different circumstance. We are indeed, all the same with our differences only be apparent.

The above view eliminates the even the possibility of a truly “us” and “them” and “me” and “it” world—no doubt the reason why so many indigenous people call the plants and animals their brothers and sisters. The world, as physicist Fritjof Capra tells us, is a web of relationships and so how we treat ourselves and each other affect the whole. This brings scientific sense to the directive that tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves because our neighbors are us only in different circumstances, responding to different experiences. Their tears are as salty as our own, their laughter as hardy, their fears as real, their uncertainty as great, their love as deep and desires as strong and their needs as plentiful. And so, there is no center, we are all in a web of relationships and so when one person is hungry or starving or homeless we all share in the same consciousness even if we choose to look the other way.

This does not mean that the rich should give up their wealth or that any of us need to become Mother Teresas; we do not have to surrender our goals and ambitions or retreat into the wilderness becoming monks. It simply means that we need to deconstruct the old ways of separateness and reconstruct our world in the light of compassion, caring and cooperation.

When the indivisible interconnectedness of the universe is grasped, the world’s paradigms naturally change—the hatefulness of racism, sexism and nationalism simply go away and we actually begin to treat others as we ourselves would be treated. In this new view, there is nothing wrong with some people having more and better than others—after all, some people work harder, are smarter and sometimes they are just more fortunate. What is deemed wrong, however, is to maintain systems that create unnecessary pain and suffering on any living creature much less amidst our own species.

In regard to all this, we human beings have had 10,000 to 15,000 years of creating rivers of blood and tears so it is obviously time to stop, time to change, time to take our place in the emerging space age as a planet of love and kindness; a universal example of a place that treats other as they would be treated.

 As Pollyannaish as this might sound to some, all it takes is a change of heart and mind to accomplish.

                                                                  SPECIAL NOTE

 It is said that *Mother Teresa “epitomized modern saintliness” but more importantly she demonstrated love and kindness for the neglected and ostracized poor; the victims of a system that created the possibility for their pain and suffering. Not many of us could live her life nor would we desire to but this doesn’t mean that we cannot do something to ease the pain and suffering that still persists unnecessarily in our world. What she no doubt would say to us is a way to start is to get up early in the morning and go out into the streets and find someone who is living there and who believes that he is alone, and convince him that he’s not.

               

*Read Mother Teresa 1910-1997 by Joanna Hurley *Barnes and Noble

        

                                               

 

 

A FRESH LOOK AT POVERTY, THE POOR and our WORLD

In Tribute to Mother Teresa  

By: J. Marlando

PART ONE: The Inhumanity of it all

In almost every corner of the world and in nearly all religions from Christianity to Pagan, Judaism to Buddhism and Taoism to Hinduism, there is this in common—the rule that tells us to simply do onto others as we would have them do onto us.

 There is probably no other reference made more by a larger population of human beings than this one universal declaration of moral and ethical behavior. Indeed it is often preached both privately and publicly as the grand teacher of the heart and of righteous living. Yet, it is seldom applied or practiced even by those who tend to preach it the loudest. War certainly breaks from the teaching…the aspects of social-Darwinism certainly turns it back on the teaching…greed and jealousies reject the teaching just as hatefulness and racial and/or cultural prejudices do.

More often than not this “rule” is not even kept in our own homes where married couples and relatives will so readily belittle one another or name call. (Cheating spouses give no thought at all to the code of conduct that the rule implies). Certainly thieves, be they price gougers, corporate larcenists, political plunderers or street bandits don’t. At the same time, most ordinary people do not follow the rule either. And so, this simplest and most constructive of all directives of human conduct—to treat others as you would be treated—is praised and advocated by nearly everyone but practiced by a very…very few.

In regard to the above, a world view that I have often written about, is that most pain and suffering around the globe is unnecessary. Hunger, starvation and a lot of illness does not arrive from nature through disasters such as droughts and floods but rather because of systems made by governments and military regimes. Indeed, urban slum growth is expanding faster than urban growth itself—presently there are more than one billion people living in slum conditions in the world and it is said that here, in the U.S., the wealthiest of all industrial nations, has the widest gap between rich and poor. Poverty of course is at the root of most crime but also many other social maladies such as family breakup, teen pregnancies, growing numbers of school dropouts and premature death from lack of proper medicines and other treatment. One can see the escalating numbers of homeless in our own country and this growth, while shocking to most average Americans, is not nearly the growth of the hungry and homeless in many other nations.

A problem is that we have been indoctrinated to believe that most people who hit the bottom of the barrel are, at bottom line, at fault for their own circumstances. As I have said a great many times, one of the most destructive things that we people do is judge others by ourselves and ourselves by others. But the truth remains as that old adage tells us never judge another person unless you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. This reminds me of the great story that *Wayne W. Dyer tells about Mother Teresa being interviewed by a friend of his on a Phoenix radio show.

You will recall that Mother Teresa spent a lifetime caring for the downtrodden in Calcutta, the center of human impoverishment. Being touched by her story, the host asked Mother Teresa if there was anything he could do to help her with her cause like raise funds or give her publicity.

Mother Teresa told him no, that there was nothing he needed to do to help her. She said, “My cause is not about publicity and it’s not about money. It is about something much higher than that.”

The man persisted saying, “Isn’t there anything I can do for you? I feel so helpless.”

Mother Teresa’s response was: “If you really want to do something, Pat, tomorrow morning get up at four A.M. and go out on the streets of Phoenix. Find someone living there who believes he is alone, and convince him that he is not. That is what you can do.”

 *Manifest Your Destiny *Wayne W. Dyer *Harper/Collins

In my writing I often say that when people are in dire circumstances they can nearly always track their hard times back to the choices that they’ve made. While this is true under normal circumstances, a person born in the Sudan or the hovels of India, for example, certainly did nothing to create those conditions for themselves. What a great many people forget, especially in the West is that poverty, like wealth is inherited.

The reasons for stark poverty are manifold: There are many people living on our own streets who are in need of medical and/or mental treatment, some poor souls have simply fallen through the cracks of normal day to day life; yes there are also those who have drank or drugged themselves into ruin but, even so, as a general rule, booze and drug abuse is a symptom of unhappiness or deeply rooted psychological problems and not mere self-indulgences.

I’ve been in cars with people on the way to the L.A. airport which means driving through some pretty impoverished, ghetto areas if one doesn’t take the freeway. Seeing those poor conditions invariably causes the conversation to go directly to the people who live there. Mostly the same comments are repeated time and time again. Look at those people, a community of dopers and no hopers…they wouldn’t have to live like that if they weren’t welfare-loving and lazy…in America you can always pull yourself up by your own bootstraps if you want to…and, if we happen to drive past some guy or gal with a sign that reads: Need help. Almost always there will be someone in the car to say something like, he probably has his Mercedes parked around the corner or he’s probably making more money than I do. No one ever says, stop, and let’s give that fellow a little hope or help.

The truth, however, is that none of those in the car, making the comments have ever bothered to talk to the people, much less, know the people who they are so readily judging. They have never tasted their tears or felt their fears; they have never walked their streets or gone into their apartments or houses. They have never eaten a meal with them sharing their goals and ambitions; their buildups and letdowns. They have simply swallowed the propaganda that somehow “those people” have chosen food stamps and welfare over work and progression. And so, we continue on to the airport talking business and boasting our well made plans for the future. We leave the ghetto and so its people behind like an inconsequential movie we can barely remember.

There is a wonderful saying that tells us to never look down at anyone unless it is to give them a hand up. This is certainly part of the message from the parable of The Good Samaritan. It has always struck me as odd to see some folks drive passed or even step over people on the street on their way to church, however.  It simply seems so paradoxical to me.

As a quick aside there is an eye-awaking book that was published back in the 2001. It was written by Barbara Ehrenreich with title, Nickel and Dimed. (I wish I could get those people in the car I was talking about to read it). It is a book that talks about the people living on the wages of so-called unskilled labor. Ms. Ehrenreich started her project in 1998 when, as she explains, “…it took an average nationwide, an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and the Preamble Center for Public Policy was estimating that the odds against the typical welfare recipient’s landing a job at such a ‘living wage’ were about 97 to 1.” While the numbers have changed over the last decade plus, the conditions haven’t and are indeed worse than in 2001. The latest statistic I’ve read for 2012 is that there are 12.7 million unemployed, over 800,000 discouraged workers (those believing they can’t find work) and no one knows the number of people who are on the street but working for minimum wage, not enough to support anyone “nickel and diming” it. And, there is simply no more denying it, the gap between rich and poor is wider than it ever has been and continues to widen.

Indeed, not everyone on food stamps and welfare are there because they are either too lazy to work or want to live off the government. These are social myths that keep the rest of us thinking that no American has to live on “handouts” unless they want to. Let’s face it, welfare is never enough to live (well) on. And, no child says gosh, when I grow up I want to live off the state. Yet, we are given to believe that at least most people on welfare are on welfare because they somehow want to be. This notion borders on the absurd but it is implied by a lot of people anyway.

In view of the above, I believe that most people—there are virtue populations of exceptions—but I believe that most people have empathy for our own country’s poor. For one thing a sizable margin of the middle class is slipping into the lower classes and, as far as the lower classes, well, the poor just keeps getting poorer.

As I am writing these words it is 2012 and the entire economy has plummeted; everyone is aware of the home mortgage failures, the banking failures and Wall Street fiascos; of government overspending and the high cost of daily living; The trillion dollar war effort in the Middle East and yes, the tendency of people to live beyond their means. And, the economic downturn is not only a domestic challenge, it has become a global challenge—people in vast numbers are hurting financially all around the world and the Western world is enduring a depression.

                                                      SUMMARY OF SECTION ONE

 At bottom line what we have learned in the above is that poverty and therefore human suffering is expanding…worldwide! We witness it on the home front by watching the population of the homeless and yes, the hungry growing; by seeing a new age of the jobless men and women falling through the cracks of the economic system. Our religions promote a general ethic of loving our neighbors as ourselves, the motivation to do onto others as we’d have them do onto ourselves. There are exceptions but by and large these motivations are exchanged for harsh and hard political views; give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The value that is typically missing in this philosophy is that he needs to eat while learning to be a fisherman; he needs shelter and sometimes medicine and if not medicine, encouragement. Metaphorically, a fishing pole and some bait may be the theoretical answer to his hunger but is often too little too late.

There is yet another consideration. Poverty that evolves without enough food, or water and leaves a people without adequate shelter is a construct of systems wherein the elite congregate in the center amassing vast fortunes which equate to power over the many. This is not only a modern condition but has been occurring since the dawning of civilization. Even the so-called “democracy” of Ancient Athens was ruled by the city's wealthy and elite and not the people as "democracy" claims to be in charge.

Sages and holy persons like Jesus rejected such systems as he recognized the inhumaneness in them just as Buddha did hundreds of years earlier. Mother Teresa’s life demonstrated this recognition in modern times. Indeed, in India where she worked with the sick and suffering there is a saying—India is not poor, only the people are. And what this indicates is that the bureaucracies that rule have abundances while the rest are condemned to struggle and suffer. This is not a natural unfolding of the human condition but rather a product of human conditioning; we assume that the way things are is how they’re supposed to be and, mostly, we do our best to live and work within the framework.

 The question remains does it have to be like it is?

 PART TWO: The Human Condition

 The answer to the above question is absolutely not: the world does not have to remain on the same path it has followed since the advent of the earliest civilizations but (but!) it is simply too well structured for the success of the few to ever change very much. Well, to change in our lifetimes and perhaps not even for millenniums to come. Greed and self-centeredness support ego, there’s no doubt about that! So perhaps the more important question is to most simply ask, who and what are we as species?

The answer applies to we Americans but also to all the people around the world. We are a species who yearns most for a safe dwelling, enough food and clothing for ourselves and our families; a good time as often as possible and healthy longevity. While especially we Westerners dream of mansions on the hill, fancy cars and lots of money, *none of these riches are truly very important to us except perhaps in our fantasies.  Even the very wealthy who have all these things do not celebrate them as the poor believe that they would. While lots of stuff can be nice to have what most people truly care about comes down to a good, secure, happy and loving life. This is not to say that lots of money doesn’t make life easier and more pleasant because it does…or can! It only means to say that lots of money and lots of things is not the top priority for most people—on the other hand, having “enough” is a priority for all people.

One major unhappy-maker in our world has been around since the advent of so-called civilization—we human beings exist in centers. The church insists that the only way to God is through its door. The state insists that the way to security is through its rule; each place believes that its costumes, its customs, its totem and rituals are the way and all those who do not join them in their center are called lost or ignorant or…the enemy. Remember that old wise directive that told us when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

In any case, this “centering” has always been the cornerstone of wars, of genocides and cruelties of all kinds—white against black, Muslim against Christian, Catholic against Protestant, English against Irish, Japanese against Chinese, Persian against Greek the list goes on and on. The unnecessary pain, suffering and death these “centers” has caused over the millenniums are devastating tragedies to contemplate. And, the operative word remains “unnecessary” and this is the real point; that most of the suffering that people endure is manufactured by other people. Food is plentiful in our world. No one has to starve to death or be hungry…No one has to sleep on the streets or alleyways, there is enough money wasted and hoarded to build ample shelters for those who need them; to build “hope” houses as opposed to “flop” houses and no one should have to do without medicine because of lack of enough money.             

When a person talks about these things there are always those who call him (or her) a “bleeding heart” or a foolish “Utopian-ist” but mostly a…dreamer because they say, that’s not how it is, that’s not how the world works so get real!

 They are right of course, that isn’t how it works—even in America since the 1980s the very poor and the needy have been cast aside to wander about in homelessnes. And that sub-culture of the desolate is growing…growing on the home front and globally. But this is where new paradigms should evolve. For thousands of years we have existed in an “us” and “them” world—all those who ain’t us, are them.   

As said, this is because we have all been indoctrinated to live in our own centers, to see ourselves here and the rest of the world over there. Indeed, in the past we have recognized the universe as being fragmented into countless separate parts each isolated from the other. But today the view is changing toward an unexpected unity—not because of religions but, surprisingly, because of science. The quantum theory tells us that there are no separate parts in reality and we are ALL part of the whole. Perhaps reference was made to this when Jesus said that he and the father were one? We are all in oneness with everyone and everything else. It is then accurate to say that when you look at the poor wretch begging on the street or the rich person stepping out of his limousine that is you only in a different circumstance. We are indeed, all the same with our differences only be apparent.

The above view eliminates the even the possibility of a truly “us” and “them” and “me” and “it” world—no doubt the reason why so many indigenous people call the plants and animals their brothers and sisters. The world, as physicist Fritjof Capra tells us, is a web of relationships and so how we treat ourselves and each other affect the whole. This brings scientific sense to the directive that tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves because our neighbors are us only in different circumstances, responding to different experiences. Their tears are as salty as our own, their laughter as hardy, their fears as real, their uncertainty as great, their love as deep and desires as strong and their needs as plentiful. And so, there is no center, we are all in a web of relationships and so when one person is hungry or starving or homeless we all share in the same consciousness even if we choose to look the other way.

This does not mean that the rich should give up their wealth or that any of us need to become Mother Teresas; we do not have to surrender our goals and ambitions or retreat into the wilderness becoming monks. It simply means that we need to deconstruct the old ways of separateness and reconstruct our world in the light of compassion, caring and cooperation.

When the indivisible interconnectedness of the universe is grasped, the world’s paradigms naturally change—the hatefulness of racism, sexism and nationalism simply go away and we actually begin to treat others as we ourselves would be treated. In this new view, there is nothing wrong with some people having more and better than others—after all, some people work harder, are smarter and sometimes they are just more fortunate. What is deemed wrong, however, is to maintain systems that create unnecessary pain and suffering on any living creature much less amidst our own species.

In regard to all this, we human beings have had 10,000 to 15,000 years of creating rivers of blood and tears so it is obviously time to stop, time to change, time to take our place in the emerging space age as a planet of love and kindness; a universal example of a place that treats other as they would be treated.

 As Pollyannaish as this might sound to some, all it takes is a change of heart and mind to accomplish.

                                                                  SPECIAL NOTE

 It is said that *Mother Teresa “epitomized modern saintliness” but more importantly she demonstrated love and kindness for the neglected and ostracized poor; the victims of a system that created the possibility for their pain and suffering. Not many of us could live her life nor would we desire to but this doesn’t mean that we cannot do something to ease the pain and suffering that still persists unnecessarily in our world. What she no doubt would say to us is a way to start is to get up early in the morning and go out into the streets and find someone who is living there and who believes that he is alone, and convince him that he’s not.

               

*Read Mother Teresa 1910-1997 by Joanna Hurley *Barnes and Noble

        

                                               

 

 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Comments

Add a new comment - No HTML
You must be logged in and verified to post a comment. Please log in or sign up to comment.

Explore InfoBarrel

Auto Business & Money Entertainment Environment Health History Home & Garden InfoBarrel University Lifestyle Sports Technology Travel & Places
© Copyright 2008 - 2016 by Hinzie Media Inc. Terms of Service Privacy Policy XML Sitemap

Follow IB Lifestyle