Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good News

I’ve written before about something I call the Great Awakening here, here and here.
Just a synopsis:
Around 1986, humans moved from a majority of Young souls occupying the planet to a majority of Matures. We are subtly moving, step-by-step, from the mindset of, “What can I do to get a leg up on my competition?” “What’s in it for me?” to a viewpoint of, “How can we cooperate to make the world a better place?”
Of course, we’re in just the infancy of this new way of looking at and dealing with the world. The familiar Young methods will be around for some time to come. But change is in the wind if we keep our eyes and ears atuned for it. This morning I got some evidence of that. I was listening to the radio and two stories caught my ear.
The first concerned a young man who is stationed in Afghanistan. He is a local kid and is being followed by our local NPR station. He blogs regularly on a computer that is falling apart and is doing some important work there—over and above the assignments given to him by his military unit.
He solicits donations of beanie babies and other small toys to hand out to the children he comes in contact with. In effect, he is an unofficial ambassador. And, from what I heard during this story, he’s not the only one. Several soldiers and airmen have taken it upon themselves to reach out to the communities around them in unassuming ways. To try to make the lives of the people there better in small ways. This can only be to the good.
Further, as I researched this article, I found a group of Vietnam Veterans who are donating beanie babies to the cause. They give them to soldiers leaving for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The human condition has one unequivocal rule [among several]. Children grow up.
Children living in an occupied country stand a good chance of growing up to hate the occupiers. In our current world, those children could easily become human fodder for the terrorist movements.
However, if our troops do the little human things such as give toys to children of people who are, potentially, our enemies— they defang the terrorist beast. The parents of the children may begin to view the troops in a more benign light than they had previously. The children, in particular, are learning at a young age that the troops are human and, more importantly, that the soldiers perceive them as human.
Cooperation rather than competition? Even in the face of war? How unusual is that?

The second story I heard this morning came from Egypt.
The new brand of eco-tourists are beginning to perceive Egypt as a go-to place. Not to view the pyramids—though they may be on the itinerary as well. Instead, these folks are fascinated by cave paintings in the southern areas of Egypt. Deep in the Sahara Desert some of the most intricate paintings on the African continent are currently available for viewing.
To be honest, when the story began, I just shook my head. I expected to hear about how the sites are being overrun and destroyed by the very people who want to save the ecology.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Astounded, really. It seems the Egyptian government and the local businesses are already taking steps before the hordes descend on the area en masse. Hotels in the area have been built out of local stone. Only the most lavish provide air conditioning. The majority use the natural insulation of stone and tile to keep their interiors cool. All are incorporating solar panels to augment their electrical use.

The caves themselves are being prepared for the inevitable increase in humidity as viewers traipse through admiring the art. The people of Egypt took a lesson from France’s experience. They want to avoid the problem of having to choose between allowing the art to be viewed and preserving it for future generations.
A government and businesses working together to protect the environment rather than exploiting it for short-term gain. What a novel approach!
And, amazingly, this mature approach actually helps the Young goals of enhancing the economy. Who would have thought? By cooperating to create a sustainable tourist industry in the area, the businesses and government see to it that the economy of Egypt benefits over the long run. Perhaps the Younger countries will take notice and follow suit—thereby moving the world further along the path toward Maturity, themselves.

And a third incident is quietly taking place in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I heard about this one on 60 Minutes a few months ago.
Greg Mortenson was mountain climbing along the border of the two countries and got lost. He staggered into a village where he was taken in while he recuperated from his ordeal. As he talked to the people he began to realize an important fact. They didn’t have a school and they desperately wanted one. He promised to help them realize their dream.
He returned home and began working to raise the necessary funds. Almost certainly, the people expected never to see him again. They must have been astounded when he returned with the money and began the process of building the school. It accepts both boys and girls—an unusual situation in the Middle East.
One hundred and thirty one schools later, in 2003, and after having been kidnapped for eight terrifying days before being released, he wrote a book about his experiences: Three Cups of Tea. A second book, Stones into Schools came out last year.
Other movements have been sponsored by his organization, ‘The Central Asia Institute’, to help his and other endeavors in the area. One is called ‘Pennies for Peace’. It engages elementary school children, educating them about the world outside their own countries’ borders and showing them how they can make a difference in the world one penny at a time.

I may be reading too much into these incidents large and small, but I take what glimmers of hope I can find. Maybe, just maybe, these are indications of the Mature mindset coming forward?


susan said...

Wonderful stories. I'm keeping my fingers crossed too but really, how can things not reach the plenitude? Still, it's so nice to read of wonders and miracles.

two crows said...

hi, Susan --
isn't it wonderful to hear of such things? maybe there is hope for the human race yet.

susan said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it happens sooner rather than later but it will come.

two crows said...

yes, Susan--
it is hard to keep the hope going when we read and watch the international and national news -- here in the US in particular. stories such as these help me keep my eye on the bigger picture.