Our world has become a place of information: the internet and computers has revolutionized our knowledge base and access to nearly limitless tools for learning and study.
Yet people's understanding, wisdom, and personal knowledge of how things work, the science of basic mechanics and biology (and other fields), has it seems, not increased much at all.
The beauty of the internet, and learning in general, is being able to discover new things about the earth, about the world around our very lives. We can learn how to determine a real emerald without shattering.
Some examples of things we commonly may not know:
-How do batteries work? Why do they "die", whereas some can be recharged?
-Native plants in your own yard or landscaping areas, what is their benefit, versus other 'normal' plants?
-What are the chemicals added to our foods, are they safe to eat? Why are they added?
All of these questions can have some impact on your daily life, yet people rarely know the answer to them. With the information access at our fingertips to search online, why don't more people take advantage of learning about things, or being informed?
Add this to the feelings of hopelessness in a greater, wider world full of things that can seem daunting:
-Large corporations making huge decisions about energy, buildings, cars.
-Governments and officials deciding on wars, safety regulations, and policy on our food and energy.
Combined, with large massive changes that can affect us, and a feeling of not knowing enough about situation can be demoralizing. Likely all of us have at one time or another felt hopeless considering the worldwide nuclear energy waste and nuclear bomb concerns, or wondering about what impacts varied middle eastern war zones have on the entire world population.
What I fear, and see happening among friends, co-workers, and people I interact with in daily life (see: magic tournaments) is a sense of inability. People feel that they themselves cannot do anything, or change anything, about how things are going in the world, so: why bother trying?
But I'm reading "The Human, The Orchid, and the Octopus", a book put together by Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein, wherein Cousteau describes his explorations, and later personal endeavors to alert the public, governments, and experts on the massive concerns facing our world for
overfishing and nuclear power. And while Cousteau paints a relatively frightening picture about the state of our nuclear energy in the world- the lack of safety and security revolving around radioactive materials, and the dwindling fishing stocks, he talks a major point:
We as the general public HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE EVERYTHING.
Let me repeat that, and explain. Every person in the world has the ability to change things, at some level. You may see yourself as insignificant, but we can make our own part of the world better for us, our children, and our communities. That in turn can help affect regions, or states, and even countries! You as an individual may have limits to what you can accomplish, but we can work together in small measures to create large changes.
The task before us today lies in refusing to be defeated by what we regard as impossible and in beginning our struggle for what we know to be essential. The necessary has always proved to be possible. Regarding survival as imperative is far more logical than accepting disaster as inevitable.
-Jacques Cousteau, Chapter 9: The Hot Peace: nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, in The Human the Orchid, and the Octopus.
Coming back around, to the original point: Knowledge is our key to change. Knowledge is quite literally connected to power.
We in the 21st century have the ability to learn so much, to explore and discover so many things! Most children are curious, yet we as a society are losing that curiosity. With smartphones and 3G access, with cheaper education and videos and learning from the world over, why are we not pushing to learn more?
Go back to being curious. Learn new things, use the tools we have to discover, and ask WHY.
Demand answers. We as individuals can make change. We cannot wait until our time is up.
One final thought to leave you with:
According to legend, there is a way to tell if a stone is an
authentic emerald. You heat it to a certain temperature, and if it
shatters--it was real. We have inherited our emerald--our Earth--only
in usufruct. If indeed it has become too late to remedy our actions, if
we shatter our emerald, we are committing a crime not only against
ourselves but against future generations.
-Susan Schiefelbein in The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus.