"The times they are a changing", so wrote Bob Dylan in the early 60's. The title had its meaning to the young people of the period and in the current social evolution of man, but really it has always had a universal meaning and not a very complicated philosophy. The times have always changed and will continue to do so.
The social order of man has continued to ever evolve. If one looks at that evolution in perspective of its entirety, rather than just one small segment, then we can get a true perspective on what really is going on.
Man has a very brutal past. He has brutalized the world since his very emergence it seems. Recorded history is full of examples of this brutality towards his environment and his fellow man. But evolution by its very nature accelerates. And just as they are many examples of this brutality, there are many recent examples of a kinder, gentler man.
Today we stand on the threshold of monumental change within our society. This change is part of our evolution just as the change from hunter-gatherers to agriculturists, from the agriculturists to the industrialists, and the uninformed to the informed. This last change is perhaps is the most important in our present period of evolution.
This leap forward in evolution to the informed began with the invention of the printing press and continues today. We call it the "information revolution".
How important is information in the overall scheme of things? Very. With this information some have been able to bring about this evolution to a gentler and kinder mankind.
A good example is our attitude towards our environment. Very early in our history, maintaining good relations with our environment was generally unquestioned -- for the concept of not fouling one's nest was easy to understand.
But as man gathered together in larger groups the concept was lost. As man made more and more demands, first on his local environment, and now on the planet, it became obvious that something needed to be done. We turned it over to our government. Although the results are not totally in, governments have generally made a mess of things.
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We are now beginning to understand that protecting the environment was an individual responsibility and not a group effort, especially not a government-led effort. This is not to say that government should not be involved, but their involvement should be restricted to the very few things they do well.
So what's really going on? Change from "bigger is better on all things" to "smaller is better for some things". Large numbers of people throughout the world are beginning to vote with their everyday life to bring about this change to smaller is better. Examples abound; the growth of cottage industries, wide scale recycling, alternative health care practices, alternative energy usage, population movement from the cities to the suburbs and beyond, and the fall of nationalism as the revered concept.
But with change comes conflict, and it is this conflict that is necessary to bring about the change in the first place. We should not revel in the conflict, but embrace it for the change it brings and continue to vote everyday with the way we live.
Perhaps, Henry Miller said it best. "Example moves the world more than doctrine."
About the Author
Robert Jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf.com with his wife Marie T Russell. InnerSelf is dedicated to sharing information that allows people to make educated and insightful choices in their personal life, for the good of the commons, and for the well-being of the planet. InnerSelf Magazine is in its 30+year of publication in either print (1984-1995) or online as InnerSelf.com. Please support our work.
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