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The Daily Paradox

The Daily Paradox: How can we help?

There cannot be a single person on the planet who isn’t horrified at the starvation of children in Gaza. The media have, quite rightly, abandoned their self-imposed rule of not showing sights that are too distressing. So we see, daily, the painful and deeply disturbing images of the haunt of suffering and death for innocents. We also see a frightening leaning towards war and terrorism as desperate attempts to right the wrongs humans are doing to humans. When an increasing number of anti-authoritarian voices are heard, even from countries where they risk their lives to speak up, it is natural that we ask ‘How can we help?’

When law and order give way in more than one significant country in the world, the rest of the world is inclined to follow. Defence against attack is understandable. Attack to quell possible attack is questionable but occasionally necessary. Armament against possible attack is essential but, as any business person knows, stock pressure builds action. Trained troops and expensive ammunition lying around incites their use. We are now heading straight towards a world war. On top of our climate, ageing and proliferating population and technology-dominating planet, a world war will bring humanity closer to extinction than at any time in the past. Our beautiful paradise may again become a swamp.

Politics is not a cause but a consequence. Political decisions, even in the most repressed societies, depend on consent whether or not active participation is a death knell. In more liberal societies anyone who ignores the governance of life is guilty of a dangerous deed. Many generous people give time and money and prayers to help. They are practical acts of humanism and are admirable. They do not assuage the need for something stronger to resist the tides of hell. Can we do anything in addition to physical and religious generosity?

‘A voice in the wilderness’ is the excuse of people who don’t want to get involved. For all of history up to the present time that may have had some justification. It won’t stand up today. Universal mobile communications permit any voice to be heard anywhere, anytime. If it is the voice of reason and restraint it will have difficulty making its point of view in competition with loud-mouthed bad actors. However, humankind usually persists when there are obstacles. Indeed, the best of the human spirit is often engaged by the darkest hours.

Our lips permit our eating and drinking for survival and enjoyment. They allow us to say what we want and when we want it. We may utter coarse language but that is our minds. Our lips don’t physically harm others. We use them to express both platonic and sexual affection for another. They are the servants of intake and output. And we are capable of controlling them. We sometimes fail to appreciate how useful they are.

It is the right and duty of every human being to speak reason and sense to and of others. If enough people demand peace the world can have it. If enough of us use our words to help others reach reason, they will do so. The word is mightier than the fake.

One word won’t create peace. Eight billion people expressing reason half a dozen times a week will do so. Each of us is one of those people. Each is only a drop in the ocean.

But the ocean is only myriads of drops. That’s why our words matter.

Good morning
John Bittleston

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12 March 2024