Not so long ago my 22-year old son and I talked about the present day and age his generation grew up in versus my 1960-80 cradle. ‘You guys were lucky’ my son said. ‘Compared to today, your world was far more innocent; far less violent; far less marked by despair.
I counteracted his words by stating the world has known wars, poverty and atrocities throughout all of history. What makes it different and more obvious now is that it is western civilization that is under attack. So it hits us more personally, but is little different from what happened, even in recent history in other parts of the world
Yesterday’s devastating attack in Manchester set me thinking about my son’s words again. In shared grief, where we can only begin to imagine what this must be like for the parents, grandparents, family and friends of the victims, and while trying to picture the trauma the survivors will have to live with for the rest of their lives; it would be easy to loose hope and indeed see the world as an ever deteriorating place.
But if that were true, then the suffering would be meaningless. I simply have to believe the atrocities we are witnessing today are part of a process in which humankind has been involved for centuries already. I simply have to believe the atrocities we witness today and have witnessed in other times and parts of the world are part of a path for humankind wake up and create change.
I realize this is extremely difficult to do, when you are hit over the head time and time again. Over the past years I myself have grown weary and feel quite battered. But if you allow fear and resentment to take over; the atrocities have won.
At the moment we are living in a world of appearances, where in a morbid way the atrocities are pointing the way to what needs to be done to create change. As long as people are still gaping at the Kardashians while many in the world live in poverty and constant fear, nothing will change. As long as we still pretend not to see the narcissism and self interest in some of our world leaders, nothing will change.
As long as we measure success in the amount of money that is being made, nothing will change.
The good news is that each and every person in this world can make a difference, discovering one by one the different values and belief systems that can make a world tick as well.
While I agree with my son that world today is a harsh place to live in; I also believe each and every one of us individually has the power to create change and when 1 can do it, we all can.
Ingrid Schippers, May 22, 2017
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This blog is featured as spoken end note of the Dutchbuzz edition of May 23 2017 and broadcasted on The Hague FM from 10.00 tot 11.00 pm every Tuesday or can be heard as a closing note at the end of the Dutchbuzz podcast of May 23 2017