For those of you following the progress of the Road Warrior crew, I am writing to you tonight from Stone Mountain, Georgia, outside of Atlanta.
Today as I sat with my family in an Atlanta restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice the guy who was sitting just across from us. You see, he looked a lot like me. It was the look of his eyes, and his eyebrows, I think. But then he was “black,” and I am “white.”
He was an attractive guy (of course). And he was with a very attractive young lady. So we both have good taste. 😉 Could we be related? I have heard that we may have distant family in Georgia. I suppose that we could be cousins.
But then of course we are related. Modern DNA research has proven that humankind is very closely related. We are all, everyone, close cousins.
Yet, despite the familiar looks, I instinctively noticed those features of this man that were different than mine. In fact, I gave those features a name, and I then defined this man by that name (and me too). He was a “black” man and I was a “white” man, remember?
Why did I do this? Cultural training, certainly. But why do we all seem to insist on describing people who are not part of our immediate family in terms of the ways in which they look different from us?
Some anthropologists say that mankind has an ancient genetic tendency to be clanish and tribal. We favor those people more closely related to us over those who are not closely related. This historic adaptation most likely once served to help our ancestors survive in a dangerous and primitive world.
But today, if we do not learn how to quickly shed this genetic drive towards thinking in terms of “we” and “they,” we will destroy ourselves and the world. Today, a few determined people who hate their neighbors (even though they have probably never met them) can do a great deal of damage to us all.
But what could happen that might suddenly bring all of humanity together to overcome this threat to human survival? What hope do we have of changing hundreds of thousands of years of genetic adaptation overnight?
Only the widespread perception of a common threat can achieve such a miracle. Only the survival instinct that created this genetic trait will likely succeed in erasing it.
Perhaps a visit from ETs would unite us? Or perhaps the remnants of human civilization after a devastating world conflict will get the point?
I do not know what the solution will be. Yet somehow, I remain optimistic. I do not believe that we have come this far in order to simply blow it all now. I can envision too many wonderful futures to believe that none of then will come to pass.
I am an optimist, yes. But I truly believe that we can and we will come together.
You can start the process yourself today. Expect nothing from anyone. Spread kindness and compassion to everyone you see. Give without expecting anything in return. Give instead for the good that it does for your soul. Don’t try to change your neighbors, just respect them as they are.
And finally, notice in the strangers around you those things that bind you together, and not those things that separate you.
You just might discover a whole lot of long lost cousins.
All the best,