Is the world a friendly place or not? It’s a big question these days. We are pulled in both directions on this one, as we are bombarded daily with stories and visions of tragedy, humanity, and cruelty in the world. These are not times for the faint of heart. And they are hard times for the open hearted. Very hard times.
This question is a version of ~ ” The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly universe or not.” (Albert Einstein) Why so important? Because it’s a choice. Do we believe in construction or destruction? Because it’s an attitude. Do we support or do we put down? Because it’s a lifestyle. Do we seek to help others or hurt others? And if it is a friendly place, then we are in this together. If it is an unfriendly place, then we are in this alone.
The media says not friendly. The news throws cruelty parades at us every day. Networks exalt murder, destruction, and apocalypse in fact and fiction. Heads of state bully, belittle, and openly mock and victimize others on tv and in print. People carry concealed weapons in many states and countries – and it is legally sanctioned. All this suggests that we are in a constant state of high alert for combat. Who wants to live like that?? Not I, and I would wager not most of us.
We can make the conscious choice toward the friendly world view. And we can make the conscious choice to help build it. We can adopt the attitude of tragic optimists – “to say ‘yes’ to life despite the pain” and to counteract it “by the positive forces of hope, faith, and love.” (Viktor Frankl) We can believe humanity can do better and be better, and we can help it along in our daily lives. First, by not being discouraged or silenced. Second, by extending our compassion and light to others. Third, by showing resilience in troubling times.
Fearful people don’t change the world, people with optimism do. Be the change. Be the light.