Be the Light
The world seems to be a scary place right now. All the predictions about climate change are coming true. There is the war in Ukraine, several African countries, the Middle East, and the threat of war in Asia. There is gang violence the equivalent of war in Central America, Haiti, and countless other countries including the United States. There are animals facing extinction. Environmental disasters, starvation, and disease are all killing people. We have such extreme polarization in our political parties that the promise of our nation seems immobilized.
And none of this is new. Homo sapiens appeared about 315,000 years ago, with some references stating that modern humans popped up about 200,000 years ago. That is us, humans, with a prefrontal cortex, or thinking brain. Our limbic system, or emotional brain, is about 250 million years old. Our reptilian brain, which governs body functions, is even older.
What this means is that although we have had the ability to think and reason and make rational decisions, we often have not. We have used our smart brains to create technological advances that have harmed our environment. We have used our smart brains to create better ways to kill each other in war. We have not often used our smart brains to live comfortably in harmony with nature and each other. We have not often used our brains to improve our lives in fun and positive ways.
You may argue that we have, indeed, used our brains productively and I will argue back that, although we have done a lot and have demonstrated the capacity to make positive progress, we have been severely impeded by aggression, greed, and general lack of Connection that has led us to the problems I stated in the first paragraph.
What gives me hope is when I look at the big picture. We have survived catastrophic events, whether of our own making or not. Almost all of the animals alive today were not here before the last ice age or the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. We have created amazing innovations that enhance our lives, like the computer on which I’m typing this article and the internet where I looked up homo sapiens evolution.
I look at our political history and see that corruption and greed have always been present and yet we have moments in time when heroes rise up and remind us that there is a better way to live, that we can be more evolved and loving, and that we can truly Connect.
In every generation there are such leaders and role models. There are individuals who hold up a torch for us to follow and who show us who we can be. These are the lights in dark times, the lights when we feel hopeless or despairing, the lights that guide us towards the vision of our best selves.
We can all be a light in the darkness, every day in many ways. Find a way and Be the Light.
Yours in Light,