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We need peace* on earth. Here’s why it’s necessary, what it means for all of us and how we can work towards it.
As our power continues to grow exponentially with technology, we must seek to protect ourselves (and the delicate balance of nature) from our own decisions by supporting a resilient “global intelligence immune system.”
*Peace is immunity, it’s the active resistance to harmful threats. For the sake of discussion, let's call peace co-existence: all of us being able to exist in the same place in either a neutral relationship (tolerance, at worst) and a positive relationship (symbiosis, at best).
We have not yet explored, terraformed and colonized other planets, but even in the good chance that we do, it will be better to keep the one that has been formed by nature over billions of years in the best condition possible, to use as a model, and also as a lovely place to live for our grandchildren and their grandchildren’s grandchildren.
In order to guarantee the survival of not just our species, but the interdependent ecological processes that support the web of life, we need to work together.
No amount of removing yourself from society, whether it’s giving up your chance to vote in an election, locking yourself in your room, deleting your facebook account, taking psychedelics, or living on a self-sustained farm off-grid in the jungle will change what everyone else is doing ALONE. In fact, only until a behavior is accepted by a group people that it has the potential of becoming an acceptable social act. So if you want to make a difference, you need to follow or be followed.
For example, if I were the only one practicing free speech, and someone who had been living in a dictatorship saw me do this, they would be outraged, confused or tell me to shut up before anyone hears. We have cultural and legal sanctions that we have conjured in our minds to ideally mimic the laws of nature, and we call these "rights."
For those of you who feel isolated and simultaneously inspired to go on a “hero’s journey” where you spend a portion of time defining yourself outside of the walls of society a la Thoreau's "Walden" and Emerson’s "Self-Reliance", I encourage you, but know that, in almost all cases, your quest is fundamentally incomplete in terms of how to make a LASTING positive impact --- until you come back to society to share what you have learned by being a living example and serving others. The act of removing yourself from society simply minimizes your negative impact fueled by a capitalist-driven consumer mindset. To make a note, capitalism is not the problem in theory, and it does give us all incredible "opportunity to make a better life with hard work," but how it works in reality creates incredible gaps in the distribution of wealth (which to date, is always the case, creating a major source of unnecessary suffering and social unrest).
Interacting with society is the only way to change it, and by leaving it (which you will find is impossible to do anyways) you severely limit yourself to countless opportunities for being a part of "something great that makes the history books," which at the end of the day, makes for a splendid tombstone epitaph.
For the record, monks who live in caves seek unlimited consciousness and the union with ultimate reality, which is a perfect example of how leaving society ironically changes it because it creates stories that people in society make about you. (You learn about monks in a cave because these monks often have followers who bring food and flowers to the cave as offerings, and then tell others about the monks in the cave, and word spreads like wildfire). Point being, humans tend to gossip and we are all connected whether we know it or not.
Society and "the system" of institutional bureaucracy (and all of us who buy into the idea of nations and corporations) is just like “modern science”, it’s the best tool we have for the given purpose - and that's why it exists. If you disagree, first in the case of science which aims to objectively understand the laws of nature, IMAGINE that we never discovered how electricity works, so now instead of *reading on your computer* in a *well-lit room* with *food in your fridge*, you simply cannot read, don't have a fridge, light bulbs, or the internet. (Not to say these things are inherently good either, because you can, and indigenous people still do, live outstanding high-quality lives without all these things.) This is just to illustrate that the vast majority of us can now read and write and connect to each other via the internet - thanks to scientific discoveries. Note that we are still working on getting food in everyone’s bellies, which is more a problem of “the system” than it is of science, since there is more than enough food in the world to go around, it’s just unevenly distributed.
Now stretch, and imagine the same principle of "it's the best we've got" goes for "the system."
First off, we are not made to serve the system, we make it to serve us. Ironically, in order to make that happen, we must remember the words of JFK, who made it clear, "don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Replace the word "country" with "world" and voila, we have a global community. We're all in this together, whether we like it or not - so we might as well make the best of it.
We allow "the system" to govern decisions impacting all of us, even though it is inherently an incomplete product of human construction. Successfully working out a system of social order has been our greatest ability to "win" in an evolutionary sense and transcend the food chain. (We are fragile, squishy, mostly hairless primates after all.) As a result of our ability to communicate, we have been able to increase the size of our tribe from hunter gatherer bands of around 100 people to nation-states that surpass 100 million people. The system (our collection of mutually agreed upon rules) is the best tool that we have for the given purpose of making sure millions (and now billions) of people trust, understand and (at best) enjoy each other's company. While you might be on the side of the fence saying that a few billionaires control all the power, then whether that's true or not, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, that perpetuates the story of inequality. Rewrite the story. Create equality by treating everyone with kindness. Everyone needs love (even if you feel not everyone deserves it).
You give power to ideas and systems with your dollars and your WORD!
*Movements that topple authoritarian regimes often arise spontaneously and without warning, so that even the ignition that sparks massive chain reactions resulting in revolutions often begin with one small and unsuspecting yet outspoken and brave voice in a crowd - shouting to the dictator "BOOOOOOOOOOO!"* (This is the story of the televised event the created a domino effect leading to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe).
In an ever-changing world, the conventions of society (and the accompanying infrastructure) have trouble keeping up, and technology is accelerating this process. A constant painful reminder is our current factory school systems, remnants of the post-World War II military-industrial complex, that for the first time in history, give kids value based on their numbers (grades) and rather than their imaginations. The list of outdated systems in food, transportation and medicine perpetuated by greed and misinformation goes on.
If you don't like society or you believe the system is broken, take action!
Take a look around and pay attention to how the world works. Watch the unspoken rules of society that we agree upon and see them in action, for example with (A) money (trading pieces of paper/numbers for time, food and shelter), (B) language (making funny shapes and sounds), (C) stoplights (colored light boxes) and (D) elevator etiquette (awkward silence). I believe simple observation unlocks the common sense that we need to open the doors of society to better suit our current situation.
Remember to spend time in silence to synthesize and reflect on your wild, ground-breaking discoveries and then put them into practice in daily life.
Over and over, it has been shown that a single person can change the outcome of the world for better or worse. Imagine the world without the actions of Gandhi, Hitler, Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs. No one is perfect and sometimes someone ruins it for the rest of us, so don't go expecting miracles. It is not just our leaders of politics and industry (who often stand out in our minds) that have the responsibility to safeguard our planet from destruction and create heaven on Earth.
Every single one of us plays a vital role in the structure of society and the evolution of all species.
In the United States, 80% of millennials did not vote in the last election. Whether that's because of apathy, disgust, ignorance to the fact that the right to vote is something people have died for, or you just forgot, it's unacceptable. We need to take a step back from whatever on our news feed is calling to our attention and re-evaluate our situation not based on some externally imposed "sense of responsibility," but rather a strong conviction that it is in our best interest to take action because it is our only chance at mastering our understanding of ourselves and the world around us - to break down the walls of our own thought patterns and release ourselves from our self-created cages of habit back into the wild, open pastures of blissful consciousness.
As Sapiens author Noah Yuval Harari puts it, "We don't learn history to repeat it, we learn history to free ourselves from it."
To sustain world peace, we need to ask ourselves three questions:
How do we prepare ourselves to make decisions that impact generations to come?
How do we keep earth in the best condition possible?
How do we look at the world at face value and see exactly how to make a difference?
Give yourself and your friends a gentle push, and you'll be surprised at the momentum you can stir up.
Changing the world takes work.
Let's get sweaty.