Today's Reading

Now you may think that I have exaggerated the impact of all this. Things are better here on Earth now than ever before, right? Well, I suppose that's true for some, but do you know that on this day over 1.7 billion people will have no access to clean water? Do you know that 1.6 billion will live without electricity? Do you know that, difficult as it may be to believe, 2.5 billion people—over a quarter of this planet's population—will not have toilets to use in this, the first quarter of the 21 st century?

These are more than simple inconveniences. The heath hazards caused by such conditions lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths each year. And speaking of unnecessary deaths, consider this statistic: More than 650 children die of starvation every hour on this planet.

Every hour.

Starvation? Really? While we throw away more food in restaurants from Toyko to Paris to Los Angeles each evening than would be needed to feed the children of an entire outlying Third World village for a week?

Even a quick overview of such numbers—even the most dispassionate glance—surely provides dismaying evidence of our absolute, complete, and utter failure to grasp (much less activate) the simplest and most basic answers to the simplest and most basic questions that members of any sentient species would (one would think) sooner or later have to ask: Who are we? Who do we choose to be as a species?

What gives here? What's going on with the human race that it cannot see itself even as it looks at itself? Where is humanity's blind spot? What is the reason for all this?


CHAPTER 5

THE REASON

Sooner or later every thinking person comes around again to this question: Is it possible—just 'possible'—that there is something we don't fully understand about ourselves, about life, and yes, about God...the understanding of which would change everything?

It's time to ask that question everywhere. In the pews of our houses of worship, in the halls of our lawmaking bodies, in the boardrooms of our global corporations and the back rooms of our small businesses, in the town squares of our cities, in the dining rooms of our friends, and in the homes of our families.

I'm going to invite you to memorize that question and ask it wherever you go. Wherever good conversation and meaningful exchange and serious problem-solving is taking place, ask the question.

Then, as the question hangs in the air, explain why the answer is, obviously, yes.

We are a very young species. A lot of people like to think of humans as highly evolved. In fact, humanity has just emerged from its infancy on this planet. In their book New World New Mind, Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich placed this in perspective in one mind-boggling paragraph:

"Suppose Earth's history were charted on a single year's calendar, with midnight January 1 representing the origin of the Earth and midnight December 31 the present. Then each day of Earth's year' would represent 12 million years of actual history. On that scale, the first form of life, a simple bacterium, would arise sometime in February. More complex life-forms, however, come much later; the first fishes appear around November 20. The dinosaurs arrive around December 10 and disappear on Christmas Day. The first of our ancestors recognizable as human would not show up until the afternoon of December 31. Homo sapiens—our species—would emerge at around 11:45 pm & and all that has happened in recorded history would occur in the final minute of the year."

I consider that to be a brilliant piece of writing. In just 125 words these two gentlemen have turned a huge piece of information into bite-sized data that we can get our head around, then more easily understand why we are continuing to act the way we do, and have not yet, as a global species, made the Daring Decision.
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