Wednesday, January 28, 2004

As the Human species has broadened its numeric footprint over the past two centuries, has there been a corresponding expansion of understanding of the individual and his or her impact upon the future of the species? Has there been a coefficient increase in compassion for each individual and their potential for joy, misery, inclusion or alienation?

There seems to be a large amount of energy spent on the whole of humanity as a colossus of epic proportions, able to destroy and create on a scale never before possible. Much time and money is spent on impact study, population projection, resource base diminsiment, mass marketing strategy, and environmental degredation because of population and practices, and while most of these efforts are very good, do we really understand the impact that each second can have on the human heart and soul? Have we stopped to consider the impact of our pell-mell rush into global decision-making on the person?

Perhaps it is a question that only poets can consider, poking at the human condition until it bleeds syllables. TS Eliot wrote in the morning of the twentieth century, in 1917,

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

That brief stanza distills a tragedy of perception that many people are afflicted with. The individual person, when cast against the great universe, is so small as to disappear from perception. Our modern, macro involved capitol-oriented civilization furthers this perspective in the interest of expanding the economy and economic opportunity for a greater number of people. Though a rosy perspective of capitolism, it still focuses on greater number and expansion of vision past the individual. The individual doesn't matter in our system, unless that individual drives an engine of production and expansion for the benefit of the economic universe integrated thereto.

The person still suffers. Whether that person lives outside of benefits of the economic behemoth in a tenement of La Paz, Bolivia or in the belly of the beast known as New York City, the individual can get lost to the hope of fulfillment. Changes in humanity's perspective on success have made it difficult for most humans to achieve it. The collective march toward financial illusions have left uncountable individuals in psychological ruin.

What can be done to turn the collective vision from material to spiritual and mental well-being? Perhaps the task still lays with the poet, with the mystic and the wanderer. They know how to tear apart the veil, the shroud, the wall surrounding the heart, and that's where the good of the individual lies.

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