The World is a Dark Place, but There Must be Light Too…
At the end of some days I really wonder what the point is – what am I doing with my life? Immured in the ignorance and stupidity of others, and not necessarily the young! Some days when lessons go pear shaped, when bills appear out of nowhere, when the news is once more full of man’s inhumanity to man – yes, you, Tony Abbott – how dare you be proud of paying people smugglers – I wonder what the point of existence is. I look at people on buses, in Tesco’s, in the street and wonder about the point of all these trivial, silly lives, including my own. What are we doing, why are we here?
In a world full of death, despair, evil, pain and suffering for so many I cannot help but wonder what the point is. It is too easy to spiral into nihilism, to enter a place of existential angst puzzling over the pointlessness of it all. The endless parade of war, rape, torture, inequality, callous disregard of the powerful few for the powerless many. This is our world. We have made it so. Even those of us who suffer at the hands of business and politicians. We have lost our way and we should be ashamed. We are worse than animals, we turn on each other, blame each other and kill each other – in many cases without batting an eye-lid.
Is the world worse than it has ever been, or is it the constant stream of news and information from all over the world that makes it seem so? Are incidents of rape more common or simply being reported more often? Is child abuse on the rise or are we more aware of it now and less tolerant and so it seems worse? Is the gap between the haves and have-nots the same as it has ever been but we are simply bombarded with their excess through the media?
The insistence that we live in an Economy instead of a Society has not helped. It has made Money the God of us all. Celebrities and sports stars with their excessive lifestyles and incomes makes a mockery of hard work and ordinary lives lived well. Politicians who have no interest in making society better for all of us, not just their banker or business mates, have screwed ordinary people. Why do so many people need to live on the streets or in squalor when there is so much wealth in the world, especially in countries like the UK, Australia and the USA?
So, how do we find meaning in our own lives in the face of the darkness in the world?
Apparently at the end of our lives we see things as they are, we look at our lives and consider our worth in the world. If you’ve ever been seriously ill, or lost someone you love you’ve also trod this path. Cancer survivors often embrace life with renewed vigor, only too aware of what was nearly lost. But we don’t have to wait until the end to consider our own worth and value. Look around you now, what is it that you bring to the world, that shines some light in the darkness?
Don’t be fooled by money and celebrity. Don’t think that meaning lies in the big things, in doing something ridiculously brave or foolhardy. You don’t have to crusade against the latest infidel. We can’t all change the world but we can in many ways make it better.
Shine your light…
*Be aware of your strengths and how you operate in the world – are you a good friend, are you thoughtful and caring, considerate and fun to be with? Being a good friend is one of the best ways to make the world a better place, so don’t underestimate the gift of friendship.
*Your day job is probably more important than you know. So many jobs are people oriented, and how you interact on a daily basis does make a difference to others. Yes, teachers, nurses and doctors have an edge here. We have the potential to make big differences to people’s lives and we do and sadly that is not accorded the credit it needs. But note, people who make it big never mention their banker or the PM, they usually remember the teacher who made a difference. Yes, their teacher, not the principal or the Education Minister, but the person in the room with them, guiding them, chiding them, giving them knowledge, confidence and care.
*Volunteer – locally, it doesn’t need to be a big look-at-me oversees experience, get involved in clean up programs, charity shops, visit old people. No Australian should be OS helping third world people when the third world lives large and shamefully in our own Outback.
*Help others – it makes them feel better and it helps you. Coaching a team, tutoring others, sharing your skills with the world makes it a better place.
*Protest – if you believe in a cause join an action group, sign petitions, march against corruption, inequality, Austerity and what we are doing to the Boat People; march for the forests, for justice – people power does work, does change things and reminds you that others feel just as you do and renews your faith in your fellow man.
*Be an artist – paint and create beautiful things, the world is sadly in need of beauty. We need to be reminded the world can still be beautiful.
*Be a writer – tell stories to take people away to other worlds, different times, new experiences, to learn about themselves through your magic words. Tell stories that inspire others to action, to make them think. Stories tells the truth and stories of all sorts must continue to be told so we know who we are.
We all have a light. In this world of darkness and danger we must work harder to find our light and shine it brighter so the world does not become a place of relentless despair and hopelessness. (Images from Private Collection)