Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Lebanon: A Magnified Ray Of Humanity

Imagine the sum total of humanity – all of our religions and rebellions, our wealth and poverty, guns and love; our sex and celibacy, philosophies and knowledge, sciences and superstitions; our arts and our ignorances, our laughter and tears. Then imagine that sum total embodied as our Sun and all of our power being focused througha magnifying glass into a concentrated point of intensity. This point of intensity is Lebanon.

For such a full spectrum of human diversity to be represented on such a small pieceof land is truly mindboggling. It’s no wonder that so many of the Lebanese youth, especially Beirutis, are turning away from their parents conservative sectarian values and looking for a pressure release in drugs and hedonism. This is never the answer though.

The current social, political and economic upheavals of the Middle East and the world in general are expressions of the war between the old and the new; the fight

of people against power; poverty against wealth; liberty against repression; reason against religion, and knowledge against ignorance. This war has been brought about by two main dynamics - a rampant increase in the world’s population which has been facilitated by our exploitation of oil, and rapid advances in technology which has quickened the pace of relative time and allowed previously monopolized scientific knowledge to become accessible to the common individual.

When analysing the population issue it is clear to see that we cannot continue on our present course of growth and consumption. Old norms need to be challenged; our behaviour needs to change if we are to avoid a species apocalypse. We need to stop consuming the produce of our environment so quickly and thoughtlessly. We need to invest our thoughts and energies in peace and cooperation, not war and conflict. We need to invest our sciences and technologies in renewable, sustainable and clean energies. We need to value education over wealth. There’s a lot we need to do.

Rapid advances in technology have quickened the pace of relative time by speeding up the movement of, most importantly, people, ideas, knowledge and decisions.This means that time really is flying by – more and more things are happening in a shorter period of time, and this is a constant acceleration. Older generations who choose not to interact with new technologies and knowledge are becoming distanced from their children faster than any parents have become distanced from their children at any time in history. This distancing can be seen in the fracturing of societies around the world, the widening gulf in values, ideals and philosophies between generations. This is not to say that the younger generation will automatically produce enlightened leaders that will be able to pull humanity out of its self-created nightmare though; power is inherited and institutionalised – we need to break down the institutions of power that pitch man against man, and man against his environment. We need to revolutionise the institutions in which we operate before we can make any true progress towards enlightened living.

So, back to Lebanon, and another analogy. We’re living in pressure-cooker days and Lebanon can be seen as a valve on a pressure cooker. Emotions are going to become increasingly strained; the war of light against dark, new against old, etc etc, is going to be magnified in and around the borders of Lebanon. The Lebanese youth need to be prepared stand up for peace and social justice. They need to be the change they want to see in the world. They are already strong.

Knowledge really is power, it is also liberating, but with knowledge, power and libertycomes responsibility.


Restless Ed

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