For humanity’s sake, we must embrace perspective! In this time of frenzied, sensory overload with tech gadgets growing from our hands and nursing our myopic, tribal views of the world, we need to pause, take a long breath, and reflect to consider what is truly important to our very existence and our increasingly fragile planet. Perspective is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “a distant view.”
We are missing the big picture. If we can transport our thoughts to visualize our planet in the context of its place in our Milky Way galaxy, earth is a mere “speck.”
National Geographic’s “Atlas of Space” issue shows us that our sun is just one star in a collection of hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy. Additionally, where does that put us in the universe and infinite space? (Whether we are alone is another question.)
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, author of “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”, cautions us: “The day our knowledge of the cosmos ceases to expand, we risk regressing to the childish view that the universe figuratively and literally revolves around us.” For greater perspective, we humans, like our planet, are composed of various elements, and everything eventually “deteriorates” and returns to elements. Life is now a short time span with most of us making our “exit” within a 100-year period. How will we spend this precious time? Will we treat it positively or negatively? Self-absorbed and fighting, or outward reaching?
It’s time to take seriously the fact that all humans are co-inhabitants on our speck of a planet and we need to be our “brother’s keeper. Man’s inhumanity to man is appalling. Our increasing violence, with easy access to assault weapons, makes us realize that no place is any longer safe. We are all “special,” realizing the millions of choices that our ancestors needed to make to give us life. We’re all in this life and on this planet together, and we should behave well in concert. We’re all one race – the human race with varying degrees of melanin.
Whether our president, spewing his “nationalist” rhetoric, prefers an isolationist, xenophobic relationship with the world or not, reality tells us that we are a part of the world order now. We have global interests in climate change, economics, technology, fighting terrorism, etc. We can’t continue to tolerate a “us” versus “them” attitude toward others sharing this planet. One problem that may have already reached the “tipping point” is climate change. Denial isn’t working! We had better learn to work with each other because climate change will increase migration, resulting in fighting for habitable areas. We have the intelligence to foresee arising problems. Let’s use it! The clock is ticking.
I fear for the planet and world order unless our president gets a grip on reality, which I don’t foresee. His inciting, fear and anger-rousing activities are scary and keep us on edge. Words are powerful and have consequences.
I believe that the following “lessons” regarding perspective could be helpful in keeping us grounded:
• All humans are one family on one planet. No one is an “alien.”
• We are all renters, not owners.
• All religions and cultures should be respected. All are God’s children.
• Our behavior results from our needs. Examine them.
• Lack of civility can lead to violence. Strive to understand our needs and resulting behavior.
• We should strive to understand, not condemn.
• Embrace the moral high ground.
Let’s all strive to make our time here a good, helpful experience not only for ourselves but others, understanding the “big picture,” and looking up to see the other billions of stars and our place on earth and in the galaxy.
Linda F. Norris is a Maurertown resident.