Independence Day & The Indomitable Hope
Yesterday as the sun began to set at my friends' beautiful 4th of July barbeque and we waited for the impending fireworks, I ended up involved in a great conversation, that in essence asked:
"What does the 4th of July or "Independence Day" mean at this moment in human history?"
Throughout the conversation, we'd learned that, among the party-goers, visions of the future of humanity were bleak.
One person shared that it scared him to think that "we might truly be living at the apex of humanity."
His fear was that we had reached the highest realization of peace, liberty, prosperity, freedom and justice, and that what lies ahead for us is the eventual decline and destruction of our species...
...A silence spread around the table as we all sat with the thought. It seemed that more than a few people had also toyed with that idea.
After holding space for a moment, I felt a desire to offer an alternative perspective:
The gist of my perspective was this:
At this point, the future of humanity teeters on a spectrum of two possible extremes--
On one end there is the utter destruction and/or degradation of humanity.
On the other end we figure out how to live in sublime peace and harmony.
Between these two ends, there is a huge field of possibility, and where we go from here is largely up to each of us.
In every moment, I have the opportunity to consciously take a step in the direction of the future I prefer.
I can choose the pathway of DESPAIR, on my way to the future of destruction,
I can dare to HOPE, and take the steps toward a world at peace.
If, in this moment, I start believing that we have reached the apex of humanity, that destruction and degradation are the only realistic outcome, if I choose to travel the path of DESPAIR, I will MOST CERTAINLY help manifest that reality with every choice that I make.
If enough of us all start believing it and walking that direction, choosing that future together, destruction is seemingly inevitable.
What we can choose instead, in spite of its seeming lunacy or naivete, is to HOPE. In every thought, every word, every deed, every conversation.
The reality we arrive in as a species will ultimately be decided by our collective belief, our collective choice of hope vs. despair, and our decision to let either dictate our individual actions.
This brings me back to the 4th of July.
The American Revolution was a revolution built on HOPE.
HOPE for EQUALITY.
HOPE for LIBERTY.
HOPE for HAPPINESS.
In this time, when the context of our world forces us to look at all of our American symbols and re-evaluate them, to me, Independence Day symbolizes indomitable HOPE.
Just like the Founding Mothers and Fathers of this country, I have to hold the HOPE that a group of united and determined individuals can work together to create a better world than they inherited. Then I have to show up to the work of building that world.
Happy Independence Day!