Drops of a Global Waterfall
By Eli Williamson-Jones
How we might go about building a world
beyond borders is very difficult for any human to imagine. There may be more
connections in our brain than all the stars in the entire cosmos, but this still
doesn't help us even scratch the surface of completely understanding ourselves
and a world of dizzying complexity, let alone figure out how we are going to
Some of us may see the big picture but most of us can only concentrate our energies towards trying to master limited parts of the whole. One of us may be an expert on psychology or sociology. Another may be an expert in physics, biology, or neurology. Some of those more gifted among us may be renaissance human beings like a Leonardo Da Vinci or Ben Franklin. They become experts in multiple fields, which lets them build a more coherent systems view of the bigger picture.
But even if we are renaissance human beings, we will still have limited knowledge of the world. Because of the limited nature of being human, we'll always carry fragmented parts of the whole that can only become clearer when we come together and combine what we know and have learned together. When this happens, we can begin to move mountains.
Taking a tour of the assembly plant of a modern jet fighter reveals thousands of specialists working together to build a miraculous machine that could never be created by any one individual on their own, even if they had all the time in the world to do so. Building a world beyond borders will be a similar exercise in human cooperation. It will be a movement initiated and carried out by millions upon millions of human beings, all specialists in their particular field of expertise, working towards a more wholistic way of living and governing ourselves.
As an individual writing this article and imagining this potential, it is easy for me to feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. If I suddenly died tomorrow, would it make any difference to the completion and execution of humanity's greatest potential? Probably not, but it may slow it down a bit if we are no longer engaged in helping others and contributing all our talents and energy towards this endeavor.
As individuals, we are small parts of our planet's evolutionary journey. We are connected enough to the whole that we feel elation and joy in the triumphs of our kind, but none of us are significant enough to satisfy egotistical fantasies or longings of becoming a savior to humankind. Similarly, if a drop of water was alive, it could feel joy along with value in being part of a waterfall, but it could never take full credit for its power and majesty.
In the same way, if any one of us are out of the picture, the waterfall of life will continue as it always has, but we will miss out on a fantastic ride. This analogy brings another point to our attention: the collective consciousness of the waterfall can't even take full credit for its own splendor. Through the hard work of gravity, the water crashes down the side of the mountain while the sun illuminates its crystal clear beauty and shines a fantastic rainbow-studded jewel of light through its mists.
There is a danger when the collective consciousness of humanity thinks that we can take full credit for our civilization's triumphs. In many ways we are simply putty to evolutionary forces shaping and controlling our ultimate destiny. This then begs the question, if we can't take full credit for ourselves and how far we've come, do we have any free will or any measure of control over our lives whatsoever?
Most of us would probably argue for the existence of free will or at least the illusion thereof. Two paths lie in front of us and it is our hope we can choose or have the most desirable one chosen for us. It's crazy to think we're doomed, like some believe, destined to promptly end our existence with a 40,000-strong stockpiled arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The absence of freedom has often driven humans to suicide and other acts of desperation. As a civilization, we need to believe in and pursue free will with all our determination because it would be tragic if it was there for us all along but the suicidal hole humanity is digging for itself, pushes us over the brink. But if drastic action is taken, perhaps World War III isn't as inevitable as it seems.
And perhaps we aren't as insignificant as we sometimes feel. Even a waterfall must begin with the first drop. Our efforts to raise the awareness of those around us can open their eyes to our potential and what we must do to successively reach it.
Eli Williamson-Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a writer/student, and co-founder of World Beyond Borders.
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