I am not Me. I am more Us. Defined as a collection of Us, a collection that began as a population of one and has grown to colonize the world. I represent the best of Us. I represent the worst of Us. I am the source of the greatest discoveries this planet has ever known yet I continue to disappoint: My artwork ranges from the most majestic masterpieces the world could imagine to graffiti on the side of a railroad car. My music stretches from the greatest symphonies ever created to street musicians beating on empty pails. All well-meaning and all for their audiences to appreciate.
I am no longer a physical being, more so a conscience, a soul, an observer of what I represent. I am beyond vision, sound and touch, yet I have experienced every sensation, every emotion relished by those I observe… and I observe all, sometimes with great pride, sometimes with great sorrow. I am not a god, a deity in any form. I am more a history of what has been, a measuring stick against which change is arbitrated.
I am Humanity.
Over the centuries of observations that I have made, one image persists clearly above the others. It is simply this. Humans seem to believe that the future has already been determined, decided upon by some higher power. That Fate, Karma, Kismet exist in some different plane, just waiting for man to cross over into its path. Mystics, mediums, soothsayers and card readers make a living by telling their believers what awaits them in the future. They read cards. They read palms. They read tea leaves, asserting prescient power in knowing the unknown. They predict who you are and what kind of life you will lead based on the year, month, day and hour of your birth. That somehow the alignment of the planets and moons at the moment of your birth determines your future happiness and your overriding personality traits.
During Humanity’s inhabitance of this world, these soothsayers have taken different forms in different costumes. From witch doctors to Shaman, from priest to politician, they all know better than the person in front of them on how they should live their lives and why happiness continues to elude them. They know why your children misbehave and how you need to raise them. They convince you and the world around you that they alone know your destiny; that you have no choice but to be a lemming and follow the path already laid out for you.
If you gain no insight but one from the tale I share with you here, let this be it. There is no force of nature, no magic, no religious prophecy, no event from the past that controls the future of Humanity other than the man himself. Humans are not a product of their environment, not a victim of birth order, not cursed by genetics nor simply unlucky. There is but one force that manages one’s life.
Simply put, Humanity’s lot in life is a direct product of the choices he or she makes. Nothing more, nothing less.
What the inhabitants of today’s world have lost most of all is empathy, the ability to see the world through someone else’s lenses. It’s being able to, as Mary Lathrap once said, “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins.” Empathy, however, is not pity. Seeing through another’s lens does not mean you think like him. It means you see his place but can see a path forward that he may not be able to see with his limited vision.
Through my time as an observer I can tell you that events happen all the time and that humans cannot change them. However, what they do have control over is the way they observe the event or the way their lenses color their view of these events. Seeing the world through different lenses…empathy.