Goodness Is Local

Do you ever feel like there is a deep chasm between the reality that you experience and the one that you see on the news? I do.

When I read the news on paper or on the Web, or watch the nightly news, or peruse white papers on the state of world affairs I see a world so enmeshed in conflict it makes my head spin. It is hard to feel hope, when you read about global terrorism, genocide and impending war. It seems like every nation is in conflict with itself and with others. Religions pit themselves against one another, with victory only to one—the conqueror.

When I view mankind on a local level I see a far different picture, so different that it defies description. I see parents loving their children, people caring for the old and infirm, others giving a handout to people in need. I see backyard barbeques, baseball games and walks in the park. I see music concerts, dogs fetching tennis balls and people walking hand-in-hand. I see people waiting in line to donate clothing to the local Goodwill Store.

This is a far different world than the one that many non-Americans perceive. Some see us as immoral, baby-killing demons that are intent upon destroying their cultures. They view America as something that must be destroyed, not embraced as an ally. They don’t see the doting parents rushing in three directions to deliver their kids to soccer, dance and school play rehearsal. They don’t see the volunteers serving at soup kitchens or the minister preaching love and tolerance. They see Madonna promoting Sex, Cobain dead from drugs and the innocent casualties of war.

Our nature is to put things into categories—friend or foe, good or bad, worthy or unworthy. For thousands of years, this instinctual reaction served to protect us from our enemies and from nature. Fire burns, lions eat people, snakes bite. And it is always better to be safe than sorry. That is how we survived. The survival instinct can overpower all others.

Today, when we view others on a macro level, our instinctual nature is to put people into categories. Friend or foe. Partner or competitor. This is our survival instinct hard at work. Unchecked by reason, this instinct can create the perception that entire cultures are monolithic in belief and practice. America becomes a “satanic” enemy. Islam becomes a “terrorist” religion. And civil wars erupt within nations.

Our destructive tendencies will not stop until we educate everyone to the real truths about mankind. We love our children. We care for others. We want peace in the world. This is the true essence of every culture.

We must work to eliminate the threats to each other’s lives and cultures. Because once we feel threatened, the old instinct takes over. A parent will rarely hesitate from killing another if it is to protect a child, or himself. A nation attacked will rarely hesitate before defending itself. Nor should they. Until we realize this and fix it, we will never act globally as we do with each other in our own small worlds.

Speak Your Mind