“The death rate from life is 100%,” my very wise patient once said.
No matter what, you and I will eventually die.
Humans, as a species, will also die, I’m convinced. I’ve said it before: We are the pathogen.
I believe the current vector of collective human action points squarely toward self-induced extinction. I’m also convinced we’ll take a good many other species with us before we’re through. But Earth herself will outlive us, and thrive in our absence. …Unless we figure out a better balance with nature, within and around us, as individuals and as intersecting collectives, before our spectacular self-destruction.
So assuming and accepting that our taxonomic lifespan is finite, I propose to embrace a beautiful and exhilarating paradox: As individuals at any given time, in any given place or situation, none of what we do may matter at all, and it all matters like life or death. Everything about our survival depends on how we relate—to ourselves, one another, our environment, our times—everything! How can I, myself, bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice? I grab it when it swings my way, and hang on with all my might—in all that I do. I call on my friends to grab on, too. Iterative, incremental change, a fraction of a degree at a time, nudges the vector’s direction toward something better. As I imagine sailors know: a small shift in tack here and now translates to a very different destination over a long enough distance and time. What might it look like? I think it has to be better polar reconciliation–letting go either/or and embracing both/all/and: Purpose and profit, humility and recognition, freedom and responsibility, diversity and inclusion, individual and collective health and well-being.
Every day we live is another day closer to our eventual demise. And every day we wake, we have so many breaths, encounters, and opportunities with which to shift the vector, to bend that arc.
Until such time as humanity actually succeeds in killing ourselves, and I really think we will, we still have a chance. We can still work to be our best, most creative, generative, communal, and symbiotic selves.
Onward, friends, ODOMOBaaT!