I hope everyone has had the opportunity to play those games as children that allowed us to develop hand-eye coordination. You know, the ones that had either letters or numbers along with a series of dots. Often they would be accompanied by a riddle, what child has not delighted in the shapes that are traced by their own hand? What joy to unravel a mystery, especially if you can’t “see” the answer to the riddle before you begin. Our culture has gotten way too adept at data points, we seem to be virtually drowning in dots. The long view of history, the big picture thinking and reasoning that is required at this time and in this specific place, Earth, early twenty first century, seems woefully lacking. I know that some of my readers are bored with hearing about nuclear energy, but a few days ago, the operator of the destroyed nuke facility in Japan was quoted as saying that their “clean up” will be complete by December of 2011. How they plan to defy physics by then is unimaginable. Tens of millions of years will be required to eliminate the threat posed by their facility. When you start from the point, or dot “When are they going to start dumping concrete on it?”, all the spin doctors in the world can’t get the public side tracked. Often where you start makes a big difference as to how quickly the overall picture becomes clear.
I am fond of the concept of singularity. During an out of body experience, in my early teens, I was completely at one with the Universe. I was familiar with the experience by then because I had had similar experiences with earth, air, water, fire and spirit by then. Most importantly when I felt at one with the water flowing through our backyard in the seventies. That big picture will reside in my consciousness as long as I live and it guides my thinking on many diverse topics. Little is being done to unify our thinking, but I believe that we are moving toward an epiphany of epic proportions. Many of my friends and acquaintances are saying the same thing, albeit in slightly different ways.
If we are to survive as a species, we need to develop the big picture thinking that guides all organisms. We need to learn that suffering and pain, even in far flung reaches of the planet have a direct impact on our own quality of life. We see nearly daily tragedies from around the planet now, in real time. The millions dead and dying in japan wave transcended the ability of our current systems to count, but their suffering is real and we are just as susceptible to the ravages of earthquake and tsunami as they are. We may have tidal waves or floods that they have not, or we may have tornadoes that some parts of the world do not, but our suffering is the same, here, there or anywhere in the world. Just knowing that these events are going on is not enough. We need to become aware of the larger picture that assures us that we too can be overcome by forces beyond our ability to control, foresee, or cope with.
The waste generated in a matter of minutes in Japan alone will forever stand as a testament to our inability to fathom the extent of Mother Nature’s power. It was said on the news this week that the tsunami created an equivalent amount of garbage in just a few minutes as humans create in that region in twenty six years. Optimists, reflecting on the extent of the demolition, estimate that it will take over ten years to clean up the garbage strewn about that part of the world by the surging tsunami.
When I played the connect the dots game as a child, my favorite part was thinking about the riddle, seeing if I could “see the tree” as it were, through the forest and decipher the meaning before putting my pencil to the paper. The dots are only tangential to the picture anyway, so focus too much on them and you would again be lost. The things that remain constant, the other clues and background, or larger hints that stay the same no matter what takes place around them, these are the things that can help unravel the mystery. Science has grown tot he point that is may no longer need to be about data points either. As we interpolate the data and understand the true meaning behind the studies, reports and investigations, a clearer picture is emerging about who we are as people, the true value of conscience, relativity and of course, how we fit into the world around us. Let us not get too obsessed with our favorite dot, but rather begin to look at the whole. We are one, whether or not we are ready to understand that. Our fate depends on the fate of all other humans on the planet. It is time to usher those who are still in denial about this basic fact on to the next train to “salvation”, perhaps they will all just simply wander off and leave us alone, but that may be too easy.
By reaching out, validating the experiences of others and loving them truly as manifestations of nature, rather than trying to wage constant and bitter war on what is all around us, perhaps we will begin to see the true position that we are in. We are all related. Even though my ancestors may have feuded with yours, little that made sense to them at the time makes sense to us now. We have seen time and time again what happens when the needs and desires of our fellow humans are ignored or summarily dictated from afar. It’s not pretty. Nor is the fury of mother Earth when she gets riled up. Our understanding of these two eternal truths may be the carrot and the stick to get us headed in the direction of sustainability.