If there is one thing to be learned from WWII and the creation of the Atom Bomb, it is the very real capacity of man to destroy this planet. Today’s nuclearthermo bomb is equivalent to the combined total of all TNT bombs dropped during WWII, or two megatons. Albert Einstein said he didn’t know what weapons WWIII would be fought with, but that WWIV would be fought with clubs and stones, meaning the very real possibility that the technological advancements of future weapons would possess the real possibility of throwing modern man back into the stone age, if they survived at all.
As frightening as this possibility is, it has also had and is having the positive affect of waking more and more of us up to enlarge our circle of family, friends, tribes and so forth to transcend national, religious and ideological boarders. Modern social networking technology is making that even easier and more vast. Through the advent of facebook and twitter, it is now possible to maintain relationships and reach hands out to people of nearly every country of the world. By expanding our circles to people of other lands that we would otherwise only know about through books or world news, we can begin to dispel myths we may have heard about them and come to find that for the most part, they are very much like us. Any differences in beliefs or approaches to life that may exist are far outnumbered and outweighed by our commonalities. More than ever, respect and acceptance of people who are different than yourself is needed if we are to survive as a species, as a planet. Respect and acceptance doesn’t equate to agreement, but are principles of the Golden Rule to give others what you yourself desire. As the Dalai Lama has said, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
In the final episode of the PBS series “Cosmos” (Who Speaks for Earth) by Carl Sagan, he said “The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalism are beginning not to work. A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.”
As you contemplate your connectedness and dependence upon the vast resources and lands of planet Earth, consider the profound words of the Stoic Philosopher King (Roman Emperor) Marcus Aurelius: “… We should not say ‘I am an Athenian’ or ‘I am a Roman’ but ‘I am a citizen of the Universe.” I invite you to broaden your definition of family and kin to encompass all of planet Earth and the life that has sprung forth from her, to love your neighbor as yourself, and to embrace the tenets of the Golden Rule by respecting and accepting people as they are, though they may follow a different path. If hypocrisy and bigotry is to come to an end, it must begin within yourself. You may find that accepting and loving yourself just as your are is key to affording others the same gesture and to transforming your own nature.