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Oct 8

The biggest question of all

Posted on Monday, October 8, 2007 in Philosophy, Rantings, Something to think about

World Peace.  Conjures up images of Miss America speeches and 6 year olds blowing out birthday cake candles, doesn’t it?  The most important and relevant question of our day, our century, even our millenium has become the cheesiest.

Baino wrote a lament on the atrocities carrying on in the world in September, and I told her I’d get back to her, that I was inspired to think long and hard about it. 

Here’s a snippet from her post:

There must be something positive we can do. Amongst us are eloquent writers, political commentators, military men and women, angry youngsters with the energy to follow through. We have a collaboration of talent, youth, experience and realism so why can’t we collaborate and form a useful, noisy and productive united front…
…The conundrum is where to start. There are a zillion organisations, charities, good causes . . . what we need is one . . .

And her most poignant statement;

I just don’t know where to start . . .It makes me weep. DrummerBoy may have it right . . humans are a virus dedicated to over consumption, slowly killing the planet, not with carbon but by sheer weight of numbers, cruelty to each other and will be the shortest living organism in evolutionary history – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of destruction and decimation thanks to the obscene consumerism and materialism of western culture. He’s even reviewing whether he would like to have children and he’s only 20 years old!

We are all painfully aware of the dire situation the world is in, yet we all suffer from the same disease, that of hopelessness.  To make a dent in this situation would take a lifetime of dedication to the cause.  We should just accept that this is the way things have always been and always will be, right?  I mean, even Geldof had a stab at it with his ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign.  I wore that white plasticky bracelet for a solid year, and signed the online petitions with enthusiasm, but I feel that even Geldof’s efforts have been swallowed by the apathy of the rest of the world.  His campaign dissapeared from the public eye, along with all the others.  Sheer inevitability.

Then something hit me.

Maybe we’re all looking too hard to find the answer, when the question itself is far more important.  That is, maybe the answer is the question.

How many perfectly eloquent people out there have thought long and hard about the state of the world, yet have given up?  Everyone!  We all have our own crap to deal with.  We don’t have time to heal the world.

Right now, the questions being asked are like raindrops on a windowpane.  Every now and then a small rivulet will form and a stream of voices will join and be heard, only to flow right to the bottom and dissapear.  What is needed is a resounding roar.  The sort of roar that a waterfall makes… millions of voices all asking the same questions, all the time.

Drown the apathy!

Maybe a campaign would do the trick, I don’t know.  We all worry about where our charity coins are really going, we’re aware of cloak and dagger funding, of big brown envelopes, so it’s up to us to be cynical and choosy about who we give our money to.  ‘Scuse my French, but what a crying fucking shame this is.

I would so dearly love to target the huge multinational corporations somehow, to destroy those who swallow local resources and steal the rug from under our brothers and sisters worldwide for their own financial gain.  But of course, that would be terrorism.  We all know that you can’t fight fire with fire.  Maybe all it would take to do this peacefully is a large effort on a tiny scale. 

For example, let’s stop bringing our ankle biters to McDonalds for their birthdays.  Let’s avail of local markets and give the penny margins to farmers instead of Tesco’s.  Let’s forgo our birthday or Christmas presents and ask for a donkey to be given to a family in a third world country instead.  Let’s stop buying Valentine’s Day/Mother’s Day/Father’s Day cards and make them ourselves.  Buy Fair Trade products, and remember that the extra expense is most likely putting bread on the tables of the right people.  If something annoys you or brings a forlorn tear to your eye, don’t just lament it, write a letter.  Call your local polititian and bug the hell out of them for a change.   Let’s start with bugging them to stop charities from being taxed for starters, the obviously moronic stuff.

I dearly hope that all of those people out there who don’t care, will be jump-started into contributing to this massive clean up.  Of course we can make a difference, and we don’t have to turn our lives upside down doing it. 

We just have to keep asking the questions.

Bring on the comments

  1. Kate says:

    Well put.

    I’m not one for massive organizing and campaigning, myself, mostly because my tolerance for politics is low and limited. But the act-locally thing is big here. I’m trying to raise children who take donation of things and time and energy for granted, because to me, that’s the way for change – don’t fight with the people who have already created a habit and resist change, but instead create sustainable mindsets in the young, impressionable, helpless ones.

  2. Kate says:

    P.S. I don’t suppose you’re anywheres near London? It’s looking like I may end up there for a vacation between Christmas and NEw Year’s…

  3. K8 says:

    Yeah I’m skeptical of politics meself, not to mention the fact that I’m too bone-idle to organise things, but nagging is definately one of my skills!

    I’m nowhere near London I’m afraid, don’t mind my Union Jack :) I live in bonny Wicklow with a big crowd o’ sheep. You’re welcome down here any time, as long as you bring mint sauce.

  4. Good article K8. I wish I could offer a sensible answer!

  5. Grannymar says:

    I am in no state to think of a ‘way to go’ today.

    A good night’s sleep might clear my mind.

  6. Bano says:

    K8 . . .I believe in the power of one and little things like those you suggest can make a difference. I’ve persuaded my whole family to use Fair Trade, put watersaving fittings in their kitchens and bathrooms, switch from plastic bags . . . the bigger issues are harder but I’ll keep trying.

  7. janet says:

    I tagged Grandad and he tagged you for the BOB award. I can certainly see why.

    This was an excellant post. I have no answers and neither does anyone else. Commercialism in the US is so far out of control. We teach our children this from a very young age. Time to teach them something else, before it’s to late! IMO already is.

    The youth will be be only salvation! My generation did nothing to help, maybe this next one will see the light. There seems to be a subtle shift going on, but only in the educated and maybe a bit to late. It scares the begeezes out of me.

  8. Deborah says:

    Great post K8! How about allowing charitable donations (financial and goods/services) to be tax deductible. They do it for businesses, why not private people? I’d be a lot more likely to give €50 to the next charity knocking on my door if I got a receipt saying I could hit up the taxman, like they do in the states. The plates would be a lot fuller at churches too! My Mam said their priest was begging each FAMILY to just give a fiver each week – that’s a pint – but if it were trax deductible I bet he wouldn’t have to ask!

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