The other day I saw Ricky Gervais’ show Humanity on Netflix. During his performance he made some accurate (and funny) remarks and one in particular stuck with me. He stated that many people nowadays don’t differentiate between opinions and facts anymore. Take climate change for example. There is a huge group of people on this earth who take scientific facts to be just an opinion and therefore something that can be ignored. The US recently had a president for four years who turned this exact behavior into an art; it was scary to witness.
Same thing with the covid vaccine. Check out the number of people who are out protesting against something that literally saves lives. And not just a few protestors, but thousands. As a species we have been manipulated by so many strong forces that some people today honestly believe the worst (and weirdest) things about the vaccine that are not based on science at all. I saw a quote on Twitter that made me laugh, it goes: So…you have been eating hotdogs and McChickens all your life but you don’t want to take the vaccine, because, “you don’t know what’s in it”?
Back to our climate. The UN released a report on climate change that is so clear in its message but I feel that we live in such strange times that I seriously doubt we will be able to work together to ensure the future of this planet on a level that is needed. It baffles me sometimes, how cynical I’ve become about the future of humanity. I’ve seen so many examples of corruption, greed, abuse of power, ego-centrism and sheer stupidity in all levels of society that I feel very close to completely numb. However positive I really want to be as a human being, I just find it so hard to believe that in the years and decades to come, this earth will become a better place to live on. When I allow myself to feel this deeply, I can enter a pretty dark place inside myself.
But then I remember a quote from another Ricky Gervais-production: his series After Life on Netflix which is a brilliant show about grief and will make you cry and laugh at the same time. At one point, the character of ‘Anne’ in the series says:
We’re not just here for us. We’re here for others. All we’ve got is each other. We’ve got to help each other struggle through ‘til we die and then we’re done.
When I reflect upon it, this is exactly what my life is about. As I wrote a long time ago here on this blog: My life isn’t about getting what I want, it’s about giving who I am without the need for return. I feel a deep sense of purpose and inner peace whenever I spend my time giving something of myself to another person. This can take many shapes and forms! It also doesn’t have to be a big thing at all. This morning, for example, I met my neighbor and I could listen to their story about living with a depressed partner. I also love teaching; there is something quite extraordinary about passing on knowledge to someone else. And of course I love working with people, especially around trauma, and I’m very excited to open my own practice space later on.
The author and life coach Martha Beck recently wrote in a newsletter about her sociology research findings back in her days at Harvard University:
There’s far more peace and good sense in the human population than there is rage and nonsense. It’s just that as the craziness gets louder and louder, the sanity gets more and more quiet. (…) In troubled times, we are driven to our personal inner sanctuary, the center core of peace that is our essential self. It’s very quiet in there, very still. And very, very powerful.
However hopeful and inspiring this is to read, I doubt that I will ever get rid of my feelings about the future of humanity on this earth. As long as people continue to equal facts with opinions, as long as there are people in positions of power who abuse this for their own benefit, I find it difficult to see anything structurally changing. So I conclude once again; the only thing I can do is keep focus on my own contribution to the whole. Every day, and with as much awareness as I can. What’s left after that is just my hope that this will have caused positive ripple effects on the lives of other people, however small or large these might be.
Photo: Chris Barbalis – unsplash.com