April 11, 2012

Our Crazy World

WARNING:  Some readers will be troubled by that which follows.  It is those readers, perhaps, who should take it most to heart.

When hearing about That Poverty Project for the first time, some people simply shake their head, look me in the eye, and bluntly state the obvious - "You're CRAZY!"  While respecting their honesty, and not able to argue the verity of their observation, my response has always been . . .

"You know what's crazy? 
Living in a world with sufficient resources
to feed everyone and yet having almost
a billion hungry people . . . THAT's crazy. 
Having millions of people die every
year, thousands every day, from
preventable diseases . . . THAT's crazy.  
Some having more than they could
ever need in 10 lifetimes while
others not having enough to
get through the day . . . THAT's crazy."

We live in a crazy world.  Seriously, I'm not being funny or indulging in euphemism.  I'm also not being judgemental, just stating fact.  Crazy.  Insane.  Madness.  I believe that in much of the world the prevailing consciousness, or lack thereof, is unhealthy, unbalanced . . . delusional.

I'm not alone in this belief.

Famed spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, has spoken of the insanity in the world.  In "A New Earth" (New York, Dutton, a member of Penguin Group USA Inc., 2005), Tolle summarized (at pp. 11-12):

"The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart
of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. 
It is to a large extent a history of madness.  If the history of humanity were
the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would
have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity
to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against
his perceived "enemies" - his own unconsciousness projected outward.
Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals."

And, this is not a statement of the past which we have outgrown or matured beyond.  Quite the opposite.  Just prior to the above quote, Tolle concluded (at p. 11):

"We only need to watch the daily news on television to realize that
the madness has not abated, that it is continuing into the twenty-first century. 
Another aspect of the collective dysfunction of the human mind is the
unprecedented violence that humans are inflicting on other life-forms
and the planet itself - the destruction of oxygen-producing forests and
other plants and animal life; ill-treatment of animals in factory farms; and
poisoning rivers, oceans, and air.  Driven by greed, ignorant of their
connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behaviour that, if
continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction."

Hmmm.  I don't know about you, but my vote goes towards changing the way we think so as to avoid our own destruction.  Paradigm shift good.  Own destruction bad.

Along this same vein, successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac, has recently released a thought provoking documentary called "I AM" that interviews many of the world's great minds to get to the root of the challenges facing the world today.  In the film a number of realizations emerge.  First, contrary to prevailing thought about our "separateness" from one another, humans are naturally communal, social creatures who are actually hardwired for empathy and connection with one another.  Accordingly, acting contrary to our very nature while proliferating separateness is unhealthy and destructive.  Second, Shadyac observes that society has changed in how it sees accumulation of wealth.  Whereas at one time a person who accumulated more than they personally needed was seen as mentally ill, they are now exalted.  He drew upon examples in nature to show how any plant or animal that consumes more than it needs soon results in its own destruction and death, and noted how cells in the human body that over consume are called cancer.  "I AM" makes the very clear statement that we must recognize the "mental illness" that has consumed society in denial of our very nature while embracing a healthier, more sustainable approach to the benefit of all.

None of this is new.  Similar messages have been delivered by the great teachers from a variety of traditions for thousands of years.  We are walking down a path that is destructive, unhealthy, unsustainable.  Unfortunately, as any kid will tell you as he walks down the breakfast cereal row at the grocery store, what's good for you doesn't necessarily taste the best.  But really . . . does greed, selfishness, and over consumption taste good?  Just like the kid may change his mind about the cereal he likes after repeated trips to the dentist; so, too, we need to seek healing and different thinking when we see the poverty, inequality, and suffering unleashed by our desires.

Some of us are hyper-sensitive to the needs of one another.  Hyper-aware of the pain being inflicted upon one another.  Hyper-conscious of the inconsistencies between values and actions . . . between that which we say we believe and that which we do.   Ironically, in trying to bring attention to the prevailing madness that is widely accepted as normal, some of us are called "crazy".

The world is but a room without walls (albeit rubber walls may be needed).  We are one.  We are all connected.  Pain anywhere is our pain.  When will we awaken to this reality?

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WHAT YOU CAN DO.

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  1. Ouch! Yap! :( , BUT we CAN change ! :)

    1. YES . . . we can change it. Changing what we think is perhaps the quickest, yet hardest thing for us to do . . . but it can be done.

      "Yap!"??? Unfamiliar with this term. :)

  2. Love your blog! Keep writing, you are not crazy.

    1. Thanks! I am a little crazy (in a good way), but not as crazy enough to believe the delusions accepted by the majority. :)

      I took a look at your blog, and it does rock! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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