I was going to write something touchy-feely about what happened yesterday in Boston, and I don’t need to explain what happened at this point; the media has flooded our consciousness with new and old information, video of the explosion, and photos of the scene and the aftermath. There have been stories of incredible acts of kindness and generosity following the attacks, and stories of people returning from Boston, happy to be alive.
This isn’t going to be one of those posts.
The Onion, classically known as a satirical publication that sometimes acts as the newspaper version of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, published a story today that said a lot of what I’ve been thinking for years.
There are a lot of great people on this planet. Some of them are reading this. We pay a price for living on this beautiful planet with so many kind people. Sometimes, that price, as Patton Oswalt so elequently said yesterday on Facebook, is dealing with people with bad wiring. It seems we’re increasingly dealing with this.
Our era of history seems to be defined by incredible violence and crippling ignorance, when we have the resources and manpower to battle both of these plagues. And yet, here we are, staring into a chasm that keeps us from being closer to our potential. There are literally millions of people on this planet who wish others ill or dead, both in the US and elsewhere (and some of them are also reading this), simply because they’re different. Because “they” aren’t “us.” It is, and for centuries, has been, “Us Vs. Them.” And it doesn’t need to be.
We have the power, the talent, the manpower, the ability to change this. But we haven’t. So many of us cry out for unity, peace, harmony, conversation, understanding, etc. I’m one of them. But our cries fall on deaf ears because it’s “hippie talk.” We become complacent and say, “Things will change,” and “One day it’ll be better.” Look around. We exist in a reality where we are more divided than ever, and it shows. Politics, religion, nationalism all act as glaring examples.
I’ve given a name to our part of history, and it’s partially my perception of what’s happening around us, and partially a continued cry for unity:
The Great Divide.
Boston native Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “All violence, all that is dreary and repels, is not power, but the absence of power.” We have the power to put a stop to all of it. Step away from preconception, from crowdsourced opinion, from media-induced delusion, and religion-directed obsession, and think for yourself. Become that which you desire in the world, and it will become reality. But only if you make it happen.
The alternative is, the void becomes greater. We become so divided, so far apart from each other, that we begin to misunderstand even our closest friends, and the random violence happening around us escalates. We’re better than that. We’re stronger than the divisions between us. There’s always been more that unites us than that which separates us, except what we’ve learned to believe and what we’re told to believe.