It frustrates me how people really do struggle to see the bigger picture. Sure, it is hard, astronomically hard. One action, or inaction can do a lot to change the course of things. Though, if you add one action to the actions of billions of others and sure enough you have a bigger picture, like the pixels which now display you this blog.
Now, I started with 'see the bigger picture' earlier when I really should have stipulated that I in truth mean perceive. A very subtle difference though I assure you it is there.
For example I remember a joke on Facebook a while back. (I know there are other more rewarding stories, though this makes it easier to make my point without distracting you!) The joke was if everyone went out and ‘panic bought carrots’ on a particular day then there would be a shortage of carrots
Har har, sure, the concept is hilarious, though when the stunt is finished it just ends up that everyone has a lot of carrots and there is no link back to the real world. None of the participants seem to get it.
So, earlier I may have implied that you should use perceive in the place of the word see in my first sentence. What I should have used is comprehend. I say this because they see the carrots, they perceive the fact that many people have many of them though the miss the part that they were part of something greater than themselves. (Remember its not about the carrots, its about the, ‘being part of something great’ I know there are more poetic examples of the masses making the difference. Just right now, I’m trying to take about something else.)
These people don’t comprehend that they have bought just a few of millions carrots and then become part of something, or if they do it is very quickly lost to them. Things like this happen all the time; people say that they don’t recycle because ‘nobody else does.’ They say, ‘sure I bought some carrots, but if I hadn’t bothered there would have still been millions of carrots purchased.’
All this and I haven’t really touched on what I consider the bigger picture yet…
We (plural) have the power to literally change the face of the Earth (singular) but we just don’t comprehend the bigger picture. So slowly we damage, destroy, grow and gluten en masse. Despite this though there are still people (singular) that notice and try and remind us (plural) that if we just step back and take a look at what we are doing we would probably be appalled. This little girl tries to tell us, of which I am sure there are more.
I don’t blame us of course. As I said at the start it is hard to comprehend the actions that we take now fundamentally affect the culture, the landscape, the moral and ethical choices of future generations. Neuroscientists tell us that this kind of thinking is hard. We are still running on the programming of our oldest ancestors, where it is we and those close to us are more important than the rest.
If I now appear to be barking down from upon a high horse I should dismount it now and say, that although I see the lack of comprehension I have no answers for how to solve it, or how to address the problems that we have and will have caused for ourselves. I only suggest that the best course of action is to realise that we truly never fully comprehend it all and we should always act upon that belief. If we start from there and work up it will surely be hard to go wrong no?
Yours indignation on behalf of the world
PS: this isn’t actually the post I planned to write. It was a lot less heavy and dark. I do believe there is hope! And although we will always find it difficult to comprehend the bigger picture at least we are trying.
PPS: I was going to link a load of interesting articles etc in the text but I decided to do the extras here:
Neuroscientists talking about morality wrapped up in a neat little podcast
Then the little girl