I want to suggest one very simple yet potentially powerful thing we can do to best develop and achieve a more desirable world. That is to honestly recognize, and try to regularly remind ourselves how easily we can fail to address some of the factors and forces we are connected to and affected by when they are not obvious to us, are far away, undesirable, or dauntingly large.
The common person can be at great risk when they are unaware of the larger forces that stand to affect their lives. But I believe the time is near at hand when even our civilization may be unable to afford the common person's lack of awareness concerning such forces.
I also believe the first and foremost larger force to affect the common person is where, and to what degree, they themselves direct their own awareness.
Though it may appear to be obvious, I want to draw your awareness into some of the details of what it means that this is now our time.
Without a doubt, even as you take in these words, you and I are taking part in shaping both our own future, and the future of humanity. On the flip side, you and I are at once inside of, and making, history. It may not seem as though, at this moment, you and I are shaping great or terrible human rendered events such as we have seen and read about in books. But we are, because in a very real way a great portion of such events are actually only the end result of everyday choices made by common persons.
No great human rendered shift or event that affects common persons can happen without the involvement of common persons.
We who are alive right now are also involved in shaping our version of humanity. Before you and I are done with our respective shifts on this earth, we, and our version of humanity will have endless opportunities to guide our selves into a widely varied number of positions, states and perspectives. When our shift is over, we will leave our species in but one of each of these. Although which position and what state and perspective are not presently known or guaranteed to us, you and I will undeniably play a part in determining those results.
This is because through our individual actions---consciously or unconsciously chosen---we create the human world. From moment to moment, the results of each one of your and my actions, or in-actions, figure against the relevant actions of the rest of us, and the state of the surrounding world. This results in a momentary equation and is each moment's version of reality. This is how things happen. If there could be added or taken away a single action within any moment, that moment's equation---or reality---and all that would follow it---would reflect that exact difference.
We are not just along for the ride in this world. Most of us are familiar with the question "Can one person make a difference?" The word "can" in this question renders it as improperly posed. The applicable question is "What difference will each person make?" In relation to you and I, the answer to this question and the fabric of the choices we make are one and the same and, as we'll explore later, also comprise the only factors in this world over which we ourselves have any control.
So what I'm saying is that there is no action that you can take that does not make a difference in reality. Some actually make very little difference from a human perspective. But some actions only seem to make little difference. A great number of our actions that would seem to have little significance are in truth greatly compounded by similar actions taken by many other people. This makes a huge difference. Here, over the course of a day in America, when you choose to turn on the tap---hard or soft---while washing your hands, there will be millions of other people that will make that choice. When you choose to accept or deny a label used to define an entire group of people, or when you choose to become involved in or removed from a political process, or when you choose to sit and define the world's problems or to get up and address them, millions of others are making those choices and we will all live within the reality that results.
There have been many in our place before us, and there are many more to come, but it is our time now, and in the interest of the world we want, I believe we have a potential advantage over people of the past. Among other things, the age of information has created an atmosphere for greater self awareness. More and more of us begin to see the ultimate ineffectiveness of so many of our old mainstays. As I've also said, I believe it is available to us---to our developing version of humanity---to initiate something wonderful. Not through revolution: the renewal of an old cycle. Not through new laws that vainly attempt to contain our present nature. Not through endless engagements with one enemy after the next, or through force of one kind or another. This wonderfull development will only come through the further maturation of the human species, from within our societies, from within our selves.
If, as I say, we do create our world, then the world will not grow until we grow. So many Americans have expressed to me that they are literally sick and tired with our present situation. Something else I’ve said is that if you feel this way you would do well to keep your dissatisfaction in mind. It is an incentive for directing our awareness into new territory which can result in growth. Because I believe further human growth can only be optimized through a very rare kind of courage, faith, and awareness.
I'm not talking about the kind of courage it takes to go to war to defend our beliefs. Rather the kind of courage it takes to turn, and deeply examine our beliefs and get a better angle on our practices. To step back and ask our selves “How exactly is it that I've come to be doing this? What are all the factors---within and without, past and present---that are in play here? What are my ultimate desires? Am I truly keeping them in my sights here? What are all the ways in which my present course is likely to affect these desires?”
Most of us already do this to some degree. It's part of life. But I’m talking here about the kind of courage it takes to review our practices and beliefs, not in light of how we've always felt about them, but in light of all relevant evidence. I’m talking about the kind of faith it takes to choose to distance ourselves from a practice or belief when we have determined---with the use of evidence---that it’s a factor that is limiting to what we ultimately want. I’m talking about the awareness it takes to follow through with detaching ourselves from this practice or belief even if for as long as we can remember, it seemed a trusty anchor or even a part of our very self, and even as something inside of us insists that it still is, and that we need it.
I believe our world will not improve, and indeed will decline, until large numbers of us are able to consistently exercise this kind of courage, faith and awareness. The goal of this project is to connect with the part of you that is capable of doing this.
What I hope you take away from this offering is a recognition that the sum of our actions create our world and that, if you want a more desirable world, to realize that you can become it. In this interest, all we want to do here is work from our own desires, and to start very simply. This can begin simply by trying to regularly remind yourself that even when one day seems to blur into the next, we really are in the midst of and shaping monumental events. Try to become more in tune with your individual actions and engaged with the fact that they create far reaching results. Try to envision what these results are and how well aligned they might be with the world you want.
We---you and I together---are taking the world somewhere and we are going to experience that journey. I respectfully suggest that you ask yourself if, for your part, you want to do this consciously, or by coincidence? Do you want to end up somewhere, or do you want to go places? What do you want?
Incidentally, considering that this is our time, our chance, which is simply a vast realm of choices, I think that the first action that will best help us to choose well from among those choices is to decisively determine our highest objectives: what we really want to secure and accomplish. It is very important to do this, here, and in life, so that when we get into confusing or emotionally charged areas, we will always have something concrete to refer back to as what we ultimately intend to be heading towards. That's what we’re going to try to do next: determine our highest objectives.
Thank you, and please: go with care. -fellow human
Number of days before my arrival at the World Trade Center on 12/13/08: 107.