Under the Green Desk Lamp…
Yeah, it’s a Bruce Springsteen lyric (Link), but that’s not what this article is about. Well, I guess if ‘everything is everything’, then it must perforce be at least partially about that, but really, now you’re just being pedantic, and should be ashamed of yourself for such childish behaviour. Still, it’s a line you hear often enough—usually eliciting a stoic nod or an enlightened shrug, and little true thought is every really put into it. So, what do we mean when we say ‘everything is everything’? Well, just that in a way, yet not quite….
Certainly, everything is connected. From societal values, to child-rearing theories, to tax levels, to individual self-esteem, to war, to faith…one thing affects another in an unending and unwieldly domino effect. With clear vision and an open mind, it is all but impossible not to see the interconnected nature of all things. We’re not trying to go full ‘Butterfly Effect’ here, because we all know that butterflies affect nothing but children, but it must certainly be acknowledged that to have a serious and insightful discussion about any one topic, we must necessarily call upon and consider infinitesimal other issues.
Let’s start with an example. A popular issue these days is gun control. The argument in its shortest form is whether allowing easy access to guns creates a safer or a less safe society. Proponents of easy access to firearms, when not ranting about the constitution, focus on the old adage that ‘if you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns.’ Well, that’s a tautological truth to be sure, but does it get to the heart of the issue?
Opponents of easy firearm access take a different route—claiming rather that by increasing access to guns, we allow for a more violent and reactive culture. That, combined with the ease of access, leads to greater gun violence.
Both sides have some relevant points, but to focus on the limited standards of these political movements alone is to miss the nuance and depth of the issue—and this is the case with most anything that is debated towards a specific, pragmatic end while lacking due reverence to the holistic ‘big picture’.
This article is not about gun-control per say, but rather the ways which we currently discuss the hot-button issues of our times. By keeping on the blinders and considering major topics within the narrow confines currently prescribed to them, it is easy to entirely miss how our decisions affect the world around us—and conversely—how they are affected by the very same.
In our recent article ‘The Key to Improving Our Collective Future’ (Link), we discussed why we consider education to be among the key factors in improving the world for all its sorry inhabitants. This notion remains a prescient topic in our current considerations. We’ve now established how everything is affected by everything else, but perhaps the single most impactful factor of any era is the reigning attitude of its people.
Humanity is a malleable lot—able to adapt not only physically over the long term, but also mentally, emotionally, and intellectually in the much shorter term. This is why our decisions must be more universally informed. From education, to taxes, poverty, war, governance, media and more—it is all connected, all around the world. The way we fashion our society is the way we raise our people. So what do we want humanity to be in the long run, and what is sustainable for us? Greed and envy and violence? Likely not, but this is what our present society breeds.
To have a culture predicated on the pervasive tenets of fear and greed, and then act appalled when its citizens turn feral and succumb to vice is disingenuous. People are the product of their environments, and we must arrange for a society which fosters the sort of people and values we claim to hold dear. Everything is everything, after all, and it’s imperative we take this idea wholly to heart.
It is a broad picture to consider, and certainly no easy solution will present itself. It is therefore beholden upon us to engage in open dialogue—and not just among our own familiar peer-groups. We must consider the worldwide implications of our values, and reflect honestly on how the standards we set, and the systems we create, work to shape the masses of humanity around us. It is, like it or not, entirely on us to make these decisions, for fate is an unreliable guide, and apathy the surest source of misdirection.
The considerations are vast, but not insurmountable if our will is harnessed in common cause. From improving our economic and fiscal balance (Link), to fully accounting for the vast potential of our nature (Link), we must give due consideration to what sort of culture we truly want to be, and then explore the most effective holistic steps to achieving it.
For in the end, the goal of a society must be finding and realizing the best way to raise the human animal in its masses. How we are raised is what we become, after all. What must humans be to thrive and to live in harmony with the planet? It’s a lot to weigh, but tell me what sort of people you wish to be surrounded by, and I will tell you what sort of world we must devise.
-Brad OH Inc.