I’m approaching the age of 50, and over the nearly half-century that I’ve been living on this beautiful spinning orb I’ve been watching it shrink and shrink. Not literally, of course. But in wild and fascinating ways. Since the 1970s (when I was born) the economy has become more global and trade has connected the world in circuitous and complex ways. And with the internet and social media, it seems like the world has gotten really small compared to how vast it seemed just 40 years ago, in the 1980s, when I first woke up to the world.
Due to all of these changes, the world has become increasingly interconnected. Now, it seems like nearly all of Earth’s nearly 8 billion inhabitants are just a few clicks away. Increasingly, we are learning that all people the world over share more commonalities than differences. People everywhere want many of the same things: peace, security, food, shelter, water, good health, and opportunity. We all want to love and be loved. These things are universal.
For this reason, when we speak of “us” and “them” we are really referring to us and us. We all are human beings with similar wants and desires. And, as we continue to learn, we are all interconnected. The actions we take towards others seem to come back to us with increasing speed.
We need to cast off “us vs. them” thinking, because increasingly it is actually “us vs. us.” We all need to think of ways of being that benefit all people, because we all are affected by people’s actions. Increasingly, we are seeing mass migrations of people and this has to do largely with the fact that – thanks to social media – people can easily see and be constantly reminded that they could have it better somewhere else.
Individuals want to be in the places where they can have the basic things we all desire. These are the places where they want to raise their families. These are the places where they want to work. This makes perfect sense and is easy to empathize with. After all, we all are pretty similar. Chances are that if I want something for myself, others want that type of thing for themselves too. This makes sense.
Due to the fact that we are all so similar, due to the fact that we want similar things, due to the fact that the world continues to shrink, we all need to start to think of this planet being made up of “us” and “us.” People in far away places aren’t all that different from you. People who move to where you live from other places aren’t all that different from you.
With this mentality, we all can learn to see each other as similar and get along with one another. Let’s constantly look for the ways that we are all more alike than different. Let’s look for commonalities in culture and in ways of being. Let’s strive to love one another and be the kind of person for others that we would like others to be for us. Let’s make constant effort to be kind, respectful, empathetic, and compassionate… no matter how different someone might seem at first glance.
Things are getting better. The world is improving. Over the course of this century, the world is going to become less violent, less turbulent, more peaceful, and more prosperous. We will have a brighter future with us and us… all of us.