(Ideas 101 to 200) Introduction * A View From Outer Space
A world that has become a single geographic unit is now groping its way, however slowly, toward global institutions as the only way of achieving common safety and common progress. A new world is waiting to be born. Norman Cousins
If a divine or extraterrestrial committee of experts in planetary management visited the Earth, they would not believe their eyes. "You are insane!" they would exclaim. "This is no way to administer a planet! We give you the lowest mark in planetary management in the entire universe. "
We would look at them with surprise, astonished by the vehemence of their attack. "Look at what you are doing!" they would add with gentleness and pity. "You were given one of the most beautiful planets in the cosmos - one of the rare celestial homes, at the right distance from a sun, endowed with marvelous forms of life. It is a living planet with an atmosphere, fertile soils, waters, and oceans. It is vibrant and interdependent, with elements that are all interlinked in the most marvelous ways. A true jewel in the universe. And look what you have done with it:
1. You have divided this planet into 185 separate territorial fragments without rhyme or reason - without geographic, ecological, human, or any other logic. All these fragments are sovereign; i.e., each of them considers itself more important than the planet and the rest of humanity.
2. You have armed these fragments to their teeth in order to defend their so-called "integrity." They often steal a piece of land from their neighbors.
3. You let two of the biggest parts of this international jigsaw puzzle stuff the surface and the inside of the earth, the waters, the seas, the airs, and tomorrow the heavens and the stars with nuclear devices capable of destroying most of life on this planet.
4. You permit ego-driven tyrants to snuff out lives with poison gas.
5. You put some of your best minds to work designing more efficient ways to kill - instead of better ways to nurture one's body, mind, heart and soul.
6. You spend huge sums of money for each of these sovereign territories, and almost nothing to safeguard and provide for the needs of the planet as a whole. You do not even have a planetary budget! What an aberration!
7. You let many of your scientists, industrialists, developers, builders, promoters, merchants, and military progressively destroy the fundamental resources of your planet, so that within a few decades it will become unlivable - and you will die like flies.
8. You educate your children as if each of these territories were an autonomous island floating on an ocean - instead of teaching them about their planet, which is their home, and about humanity, which is their family.
We are still a long way from what Abraham Lincoln called the 'family of man.' In fact, we seem to be receding from the ideal rather than growing closer to it. Interests of all kinds - personal, selfish, state, nation, group, and, if you like, company interests - still considerably outweigh genuinely common and global interests. We are still under the sway of the destructive and vain belief that man is the pinnacle of creation and not just a part of it and that therefore everything is permitted.
Vaclav Havel President of Czechoslovakia Address to US. Congress
They would have a long list of other grievances: the gaps between the rich and the poor, between the overfed and the hungry; violence in so many forms; self-destructive drugs; the radioactive and chemical poisoning of the planet; ruthless greed for money and power regardless of the harm to fellow humans and animals; the violation by states of individual human rights; refugees; tortures; abandoned children; the homeless; the absence of a philosophy of life, of ethics, of planetary morals; a youth without ideals; racism; misinformation by the media and governments; abusive all-devouring monopolies; and an unlimited imagination to dress our own nation or group with every possible virtue and greatness while at the same time denigrating and dividing other nations and groups.
We could offer many arguments to explain how we got this way: our checkered history; the current nation-states being the result of conquests, murders, stealings, invasions, wars, and marriages; the recent discovery, only 500 years ago, that we are a globe rotating around its sun rather than the contrary; the dearth of global data until the United Nations and its specialized agencies were born; a total inexperience in planetary management; the absence of any precedents; the novelty of the crises, challenges, and global problems to which we react like little children burning our fingers; a first very weak world organization, misunderstood, used as a scapegoat by its masters, who monopolize all fiscal resources of the planet; belief in obsolete values and ideologies; the multitude of tongues, cultures, beliefs, and religions that we have inherited from the past; and so on.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu Nobel Peace Prize, 1984
The extraterrestrials would answer, "All right. You have extenuating circumstances due to your history and slow evolution. But this has lasted long enough. You have until the year 2000 - the date of entry into your next millennium. Sit down. Think. Bring together your best minds. Consult your populations. And make a blueprint for a better system of planetary management. Luckily you have many excellent resources available. "The latest is PlanetHood, a book by Benjamin Ferencz and Ken Keyes. PlanetHood seems to us a good point of departure.
That book raises in effect the following fundamental question: What would be the fate of the United States if each of its fifty states were sovereign and possessed an army, navy, and air force, a President, a Supreme Court, a State Department, a national hymn, a national flag, national days, and a Congress? What if the United States government were no more than a United Nations without sovereignty; without legislative, executive, judicial, and fiscal powers; unable to make laws or decisions, but only recommendations and exhortations? You would exclaim: 'What an indescribable mess it would be!' Well, this is exactly the state of your planet torn up into 185 pieces!
"We will return during your celebration of the Bimillennium. We hope that by the year 2000 you have drawn up a proper political and administrative regime for this planet."
There are no boundaries in the real Planet Earth. No United States, no Soviet Union, no China, no Taiwan, East Germany or West. Rivers flow unimpeded across the swaths of continents. The persistent tides - the pulse of the sea - do not discriminate; they push against all the varied shores on Earth.
Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau Oceanographer and Explorer
"Do not lose any time. Be courageous.
Do not get stopped by the antiquated beliefs carefully nurtured by existing powers and all those who benefit from the present disorder. "You are on the eve of major potential nuclear, ecological, and climatic disasters.
May God protect you, bless you, and guide you.
After all, you are our brothers and sisters.
May cosmic enlightenment finally illuminate your marvelous little planet circling faithfully around its sun in the vast universe.
"And please remember," they would advise as they left, "this planet has not been created for you. You were created as part of it and to take good care of it."
My evening prayer: Thank You, O God, for having let me live another day, for having let me see so many things, thought so many thoughts, felt so many feelings. Each day is one of Your incredible, precious gifts. Thank You, O God. I love you immensely for the miracle of my life.
Most of All, They Taught Me Happiness by Dr. Robert Muller
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PROPHET - THE HATMAKER'S SONThe Life of Robert Muller by Douglas Gillies
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- Robert Muller
Poems and Reflections for a Better Life by Kathy J. Ward
"A book for anyone anticipating a lovely older age..and a perfect gift for anyone over 50..I read a page or two every single day and have since Kathy sent it to me. I love her book so easy to hold in my hands and read everyday." - Robert Muller - Click here to order.