We were driving to school this morning and somehow managed to talk about the Royal wedding, "did you watch it Dad?" my youngest asked me. "Bits and pieces" I replied. "I did like the priest speach bit though, I thought that was pretty good". To that I recieved a puzzled look on her face "that was boring dad! He went on for ages!" "Yeah but it was a nice bit about love" I replied, slightly embarrassed realising that I'm a sentimental old fool for love.
We left the topic and the girls moved to another discussion while I drove on, my thoughts drifting while the radio shared more stories about humans doing dumb things to other humans. The games of international politics, trade wars, international spy poisonings, nuclear threats, hand grenade attacks in the suburbs, more Palestinians killed; the standard 8am news. Some people say just turn it off, to ignore it and be happier for it. But to disengage is probably the dumbest approach I have ever heard. What? Put your head in the sand and pretend the world of humans isn't fucked? This approach means you're totally happy to just let horrible things happen unbeknownst while living a comfortable life, in a safety bubble where nothing bad could possibly happen and your precious little feelings won't ever get hurt. It's not cool. Firstly, life is full bad things and if you don't know how to cope with them because you chose to hide from them then you'll find yourself in a lot of curry one day, and not a tasty lamb Rogan Josh from Tandori Plaza, I'm talking about bad life curry. You need to be able to deal with life, to face things, to ask questions, to find solutions, to find comfort in reality.
It's not that being aware of certain events around the world or even in our own neighbourhood will have a great impact in changing anything, but it's important to be aware. It's not like my actions can have any impact to protect protesters in Gaza or stop religious crazies running away to a church to 'pray away' an Ebola infection instead of seeking medical treatment. But I can be aware of the stories, there's no harm in that. Even writing this and posting it online will have zero impact, I know this bunch of words is as useful as 'thoughts and prayers' post an American mass shooting.
When I listened to Bishop Michael Curry's wedding speech I got lost in that beautiful idea he was describing. The imagining of a world where humans let love be the driving force in our actions. It's the same idea John Lennon was fixated on, and what many religious and spiritual leaders have been promoting for millennia. It makes so much sense, it would be a wonderful utopian world, but it just can't happen, ever. Generally speaking, the majority of humans are fucked, have always been and will always be. It's 2018 and we still can't manage to not hate or fear an entire population or group of people because we don't fully understand or allow for them to have a different way of living, thinking, religious preference or skin colour than our own. It goes both ways, but it's always 'us' and 'them' when in reality it's just 'us'. But most of us can't see this and never fully will.
Through history we've seen periods of human enlightenment where creativity, expression of human thought, spiritual enquiry and devotion to a more peaceful and loving way of living are a cultural driving force. But these eras all fade out in time, eventually only small pockets of dedicated individuals remain. The rise and fall of these movements in history is there for anyone to observe, it's very well documented. There is one underlying and obvious factor that will never allow for humans to get a hold of living better, and that’s us. Being human. We are the problem.
We are the ones that have ruined the natural balance. We are the ones that have altered the ecosystem to benefit our way of living. We are the ones that continue to choose violence over peace. We are the males that continue to treat females horribly because it appeases our sexual desires, ego or as a place to take out our unmanaged and inexcusable anger. We are the ones that prefer to acquire more wealth, more new things instead of finding balance and restraint or keeping old things going. New, new, more, more when there are already things out there to make us happy enough, second-hand, re-usable, multiple season usage.
Our systems of government, commerce, media are now so entrenched, so complex, that there is little we can do make the change that's needed for a better world. As individuals, we try. But to what avail?
It does take real restraint and effort to be a decent human. Maybe I think this because in reality I'm a bad person that is making a concerted effort to be a decent person, because it doesn’t come naturally for me to be a good person. Make sense? Maybe for other people they don't have to try so hard. I admit that I have a selfish inner monologue that I have to constantly challenge in order to make better life choices. I'm very flawed.
But what does being decent do anyway? You can eat ethically but to what impact? I see most people at supermarkets filling trollies with processed shit food they blindly purchase while old Mr Fancy Ethical Pants (me) picks and chooses with thought as best he can. Who gives a shit mate? No one cares that you didn't buy the chicken nuggets. No. One. Cares.
How much impact do we really have in the big picture? Look around you. Be real. If the option is of comfort, security and wealth, a better deal for the individual then that's the option most people will take because our innate behaviour is to look after ourselves. That's why drivers on the road drive like fucking nimrods, because they're happy in their own world and don't care about other people. There are more people that care about themselves than there are people that are considerate of other people, especially strangers.
Sadly, I believe we are doomed to consume ourselves. Take a look at the most famous celebrity people in the world. Some of them are un-intelligent dickheads but we fuss over them like they're idols. Our world leaders are driven by self-serving goals and egotistical aspirations, not the betterment of the population. This is human history constantly repeating itself like familiar Seinfeld re-runs.
Sure, sounds pretty negative, but I bet my measly life savings in inadequate superannuation fund that in a few hundred years the human 'civilisation' will be in a real pickle. In the meantime, I'll love the people around me, have as many amazing experiences as I possibly can and as futile as it is, make life choices that reduce my negative impacts where I can and promote the concept of love over hate, even though I accept that behaviour is futile. I am a sentimental old fool, a fool because I acknowledged my behaviour is futile but I still choose that path.
For interests sake, here is a segment of Bishop Curry's speech about stupid love.
Imagine our homes and families when this way of love is the way. Imagine our neighbourhoods and communities when love is the way. Imagine our governments and nations when love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.
No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a might stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing book.
When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more.