Turning Ripples into Waves

Is changing mindsets the key to global communities?

From a young age the competitive ‘dog eat dog’ nature of our world has always made me despair. I never understood why we couldn’t just learn from each other globally and live in peace rather than fighting for power, resources, status and ridiculous labels i.e. America’s fascination with being “the greatest country in the world”.  After all we are all just a species on chunks of land that all used to be connected anyway. I have longed for communities, societies, countries, nations and the world to go back to our roots, our shared ancestral roots of harmony with nature and simple systems that worked without the greed for money. ‘Money is the root of all evil’; I recall hearing that phrase during a religious education class at school and it stuck with me, possibly to my own detriment as with that thought (not belief necessarily) I have never managed to manifest enough money to be financially stable or independent but I am grateful for what I do have. When I was travelling in Australia in 2015 the prime minister at the time was trying to oust aboriginal communities from their land and force them to work and pay taxes. These communities didn’t use money as a currency they simply worked in harmony together and each had their own roles and lived peacefully. I’ve been to very poor areas in Zimbabwe where the people have very little but are all still smiling and appreciative of what they do have and the fact that they are alive. I fear we have become so obsessed with separation, status, labels, power, greed and money that there is no going back. Some would argue that these things are natural in a way due to the alpha male mentality but we know it doesn’t work as a whole so why have we not surpassed that supposedly natural alpha male drive?

I fluctuate between despairing for humanity and having a few flickers of hope when I see good deeds and stories online or in the news. Our species’ own talents and abilities have become our own demise. We are living longer now, breeding more effectively and have medicine to stave off illnesses but this upsets the balance. The world is overpopulated, we are depleting the Earth of its resources; we have the solutions but are unwilling to make the changes required due to greed and power. In the Western world we rely on modern medicine and living to get us through which creates a twisted system in itself – the pharmaceutical industry needs us to be ill to earn money so they sponsor cancer charities (for example) who then recommend eating foods, such as antibiotic and disease riddled intensively farmed animals, which we know can cause or worsen cancer and those charities then use and recommend the medicines form their sponsor. We raze down millions of trees to create land to grow crops that are fed to farmed animals which also live on land where trees once stood which we then consume in excess thus heightening demand rather than cutting out the middle man (farmed animals) and saving land by eating the crops grown in the first place. We have enough food in the world yet entire nations are starving and living in poverty. We are polluting all our natural spaces with plastic despite knowing the effects and despite the existence of systems where entire houses can be built and clothing can be made from these waste materials. We have extreme dichotomies of rich and poor with people freezing on the streets sleeping rough while 2 doors down there’s someone in an overpriced home nice and warm. We are still debating women’s’ rights to their own bodies as if that’s an issue that should be debated rather than an acceptance of sexual assault being wrong. We still have racism, sexism, ageism, discrimination of all forms. But why? What good does this do? The voice of the people is strong but muted because of our current systems and power battles between those at the top. We all know unity is better so why do we fight it so much?

The problem with change is that people are resistant to it because of the unknown element but the irony is we all know change is constant. Nothing stays the same. The human species is also a stubborn and proud race. Take religion for example it’s all based on the same concept – believing in a creator who wants the best for his/her people yet humans have made it so convoluted and have wars over who’s God is better despite them all representing the same thing. I think religion is divisive and causes more problems than good overall but I understand the need for faith, hope and leadership that it provides Therein lies the problem with trying to create a global community. Leadership. We argue that we don’t need leaders and can sort things out ourselves but without a system that will just lead to creating factions within the community again and a sense of belonging and individuality within each faction which then progresses to pride and believing their views are superior which in turn escalates to what we have today.

We need a system that allows for everyone’s individuality to be expressed yet working in harmony and with respect for each other. That includes justice and forgiveness, love and support, teamwork and encouragement and most of all unity. To create a sense of pride for just being a united world I feel would be very important in sustaining a global community but how do we do this? A new global religion that is purely about unity and eliminating all other religions? Building corridors and pathways that connect every country in the world? Boycotting pharmaceutical industries and let nature and survival of the fittest take its course to bring populations back down to a manageable level? Legalising all weapons and drugs and letting chaos let loose for a few years before the novelty wears off and the sensible have survived?

We need to turn this ripple of the want for a global community into a tsunami before we can start getting noticed. This becomes much easier with the internet and other forms of communication. I try to bring my ideas of unity and views that our current competitive world and its systems are ridiculous and damaging in any conversation where appropriate. To give it more strength though, we need a sustainable, actionable system to implement in its place. Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that yet but I hope with the help of IHO we will brainstorm as a community and create the beginnings of global change toward a more positive future. In the meantime ideas that could help to facilitate progressive change in people’s mindsets and attitudes could help. I think one of the issues is that a lot of people shun responsibility and don’t feel accountable for any of the damage that’s being done, particularly relating to the environment e.g. the “well I’ll be dead when it starts to really affect us so I don’t care” attitude. How do we change such attitudes?

One idea I had was to combine tackling the obesity epidemic in Western countries with clean energy. If people had bikes in their home which they had to cycle to power their TVs through a hybrid from of clean energy then those people would be more inclined to exercise, or prisoners could be given incentives to cycle (only at their will – we don’t want to go back gaol systems of times past where prisoners would tread endlessly on a wheel till death for no reason at all [this is actually where the treadmill design came from]) and the more they cycle the more TV time they get. But as we know with things like group work there are always some people who do nothing, those who do everything and the in-between people who just input an idea now and then and this would create tensions. Thus, we could have a national power grid powered by people cycling on these bikes in gyms and there would be a minimum and a maximum each people have to cycle to avoid fitness enthusiasts being taken advantage of and slackers not putting in their fair share. I’m aware this could be seen as a draconian or dystopian lifestyle where power is dependent on people having to cycle each day but I’m sure a more social and auspicious format could be developed. The main thinking behind this is to change social attitudes to working together.  However, there will always be rebels and naysayers so how do we overcome that hurdle even if a good idea is in place?

What ideas do you have to start changing social attitudes towards condoning a global community?

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