“To dream the impossible dream,” try to imagine a world without violence. Not a Pollyanna-land of smiley faces or a smarmy unreality of Eden-like existence, but a workaday world of nations and people co-existing peacefully while struggling to better their world, themselves and one another despite the unabridged dictionary of differences, values and beliefs defining and oftentimes separating them.
The complexities of the Universe, planet Earth and human life deserve to be respected, and even celebrated, if only because “they are there.” While violence and disasters in the Universe and on Earth come naturally, among human beings they are generally seen as aberrations. The inherent nobility of all humankind suffers when violence occurs among us.
We are, or should be, well beyond our Neanderthal ancestors’ not-knowing and their fear of nature’s wrath. We have learned over time and through horrendous disasters to live with all its permutations, rebuild and recover when necessary, and move on. There is much to admire in that.
What is not admirable but intolerable is that the violence we inflict upon ourselves far surpasses nature’s catastrophes. It makes no sense for anyone who appreciates and respects the gift of human life to do violence to it on any level. Yet, we are a violent species. Why is that so?
Darwin’s theory of survival is one explanation. It too easily justifies those who live a fear-based existence. Since fear is often the root of violence, too many of us are forced to live defensively, depending on fate and faith to see us through. That is a rather dark perspective, but supported daily and almost hourly by even darker newscasts. Meanwhile, change in our species happens slowly, since evolution takes its good old time doing what it does.
But, what about a theory of Being and Bettering based on life itself and love, not survival and fear? Once we accept the limitations of time and appreciate the unlimited power of our human spirit in a world as it is, love in all its manifestations has to do better than fear.
The wisest among us know that with consistency and patience dreams, even impossible ones can become reality. We can be better than we are. By committing to non-violent living, we can change an evolving world in which diversity deserves acceptance, not fear, through our willingness and determination to learn from and live with the differences that are part of the wonder of creation.
Don Quixote we need not be, but his cause – and dream – should belong to all of us.