Day Twenty-Two

"Today is a day of rest. Not walking gives me some time with my computer, writing correspondence and making plans. My computer and I are located in Room 110 of the Rodeway Inn in Phillipsburg, Kansas. It's a good place to think. 

"I'm thinking of the interviews I've done and the points I always hope are part of the discussion. Usually these points come up naturally, but if not, I add 'Oh, and one more thing...' before we shake hands or hug and part ways. Some of those points may end up being left out of the published version; that part is out of my control. But I can share them with you here. 

"I won't be redundant with 'Who am I?' and 'Why am I walking?' and other such questions that are part of every interview. These are the real thoughts I want to everyone to consider...

"We are, by the Earth’s standards, a very young species and we should be wary of defining our potential by our personal and collective experience. At some point during every interview I will mention my belief that 'We are all swimming in uncharted waters.' No prior generation has ever faced the challenges we face.

"I follow that with the point that the uniqueness of our problems requires a corresponding uniqueness and creativity when it comes to solutions. The tools we need are not here. I often share my father’s advice from long ago 'If you're on a ladder, trying to fix something, and you have the wrong tool in your hand, don’t increase your effort. You’ll only exacerbate the problem. Get down off the ladder and get the tool you need.'

"If I have time in a conversation, I share this: I have a growing belief that our inability to effectively fix the problems facing our generation is sapping our self-esteem as humans. We have come to accept our inability to fix what needs fixing, from collective problems such as climate change to interpersonal problems such as economic inequality. We regard them as flaws rather than challenges.

"In some of the these conversations, I hear concern about who the beneficiaries will be when we include Intergenerational Justice (IJ) in our decision making. For me, the 'future humans' implied in IJ includes all humans-- those just born and those yet to be born-- who currently play no role in deciding how we conduct ourselves locally, nationally and globally.

"Regard for beneficiaries is a point I regrettably failed to mention in at least two interviews. But current humans also benefit from including future generations in discussions about our relationships with one another and the Earth. It's global, long term thinking and it's crucial. 'For current humans and future humans are like opposite wings of a bird, we fly together or we don’t fly at all.' (An adaptation from prayer regarding Gender Justice given by a Minister of the Bahai Faith prior to a meeting of the Vienna VA Town Council.)

"Given enough time, I will always try to include this Einstein quote in every interview, for I believe it to be true and critical to answering the question: Where do we go from here?  Einstein said 'You can never solve any problem using the same mindset in place when the problem was created.' 

"Many of us were raised to believe this: 'It is your responsibility to be personally successful. If you work for a business, it is your responsibility to make sure that business is successful. And in whichever nation you call home, it is the responsibility of yours and your fellow citizens to make sure your nation is successful.' But at no time were we asked to include the responsibility I now believe we all share, whether we accept it or not: the responsibility for the well-being of future humans, i.e. Intergenerational Justice. 

"If we each incorporate that responsibility for IJ into our personal beliefs, we create the changed mindset that is Einstein's first step. We begin to solve the problem. And we have to do it together." 

earth.jpg

"For current humans and future humans are like opposite wings of a bird, we fly together or we don’t fly at all."

Bob McCormick