Love Letters from the Universe

This week’s edition of At Water’s Edge was called Love Letters from the Universe; it sprang out of a need for perspective in the wake of so much bad news coming from the media. These are the closing remarks from the program.

The Final Note

The world seems to be going crazy. Bad news is everywhere, violence is all over the media, and people are desperately hanging on to their crumbling belief systems — and their humanity — in the midst of heartbreaking strife.

Belief systems built up over lifetimes, over generations of lifetimes, are how people identify themselves to themselves and to each other. When belief is such a fundamental part of one’s identity, maintaining that belief is critical.

Now those belief systems are falling apart, and as they do, so are the people who hold them.

The human race made a critical error millennia ago, when its members decided that men were more important than women, that light skin was more important than dark skin, that one religion was more important than others, that humans were more important than animals and the environment.

But the fact is that we are completely and irrevocably interdependent. Without every other human, without every other component of life on this planet, we cannot live. No single person or group is better than another, and the consolidation of personal or cultural power is a shallow and shortsighted use of individual and collective energy. It is all for naught if we kill ourselves and each other in the process.

With only a few rare and brilliant exceptions, human culture has arisen around fear — fear of predators, fear of nature, fear of other tribes, fear of the unknown, fear of having less power than someone else, fear of one’s own thoughts.

To the extent that we should fear at all, I believe that we fear all the wrong things. The point of today’s program is to make us look beyond our petty concerns, to recognize that all we have is each other. We’re on a tiny little ship together, spinning alone amidst a sea of stars.

Our ship is sinking. The only way we can survive is by working together to patch the holes, to look each other in the eyes and fully recognize the humanity in all of us, and to understand our place here — inextricably part of, not separate from, the nature in which we live, and the people with whom we share that nature.

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