Tsunami unites humanity
Along with all the suffering, the tsunami in Asia has also brought us something good. There has never been such a massive, worldwide outpouring of sympathy, compassion and grief. Donations of money and goods are streaming in from all over, not only from governments and institutions but—and that’s the good news—also from individuals: people like you and me who are breaking open their piggy banks and finding creative ways to get hold of some money to donate. A doctor friend spontaneously boards a plane to go help, a little girl sends her stuffed animals and toys for orphans and friends contribute by organizing their own ceremonies to commemorate the victims. We are taking control and no longer sitting back and trusting that governments, institutions and organizations will handle it all. We feel personally involved and want to personally contribute.
This is an illustration of an inevitable paradigm shift: the transition of an egotistical, fear-based and overly structured society, to a we society based on love, freedom and respect. We no longer expect that politicians will set our course, that philosophers will determine our morals, that economists will manage our money and that spiritual leaders and religious institutions will act as intermediaries between us and our god or gods. Big business will also lose its power if we no longer feed it. If companies fail to effect an ethical policy, we won’t buy their products. Malicious regimes can sell weapons, but if there’s a war, we won’t go. We won’t participate any longer.
Power to the people. It can be done. We only have to realize that we’ve long had the power in our hands and in fact it has always been in our hands. We won’t lose it to an organization but to the thought that we are ostensibly powerless—to fear. That fear has started to rule our world and in order to feel a little safe we’ve come up with all kinds of structures: political parties, religious organizations, insurance companies, aid organizations, and so forth. Then we become even more fearful because we surrender to these self-conceived authorities without a struggle.
Power to the people is possible when we realize that there is only one world, with one people, one fatherland and one mother earth. It’s up to us to make something beautiful or something ugly out of it. There is no one but us who can do that. No government, no religion, no team of economists and no army can govern our world if this is not what we want. If we fail and get stuck in self-conceived fear, there is no one to blame but ourselves.
The other positive outcome of the tsunami is that we went quiet en masse. Across the world prayers were said, people meditated and held moments of silence. Why did we do that? Because silence brings us back to the essence. In silence we return to the core and feel what it’s really all about: living together, growing together, working together, sharing, learning and being together. In silence you and I fall away and, once again, we become us.
A paradigm shift always goes hand in hand with crises and violence. With pain. Let us not forget the tsunami, but take advantage of it to do what we have to do: take responsibility for our world. We only have one.