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November, 2006
Vol. 5, Number 11
The SNS Press E–Zine presents new perspectives for a better future in society, politics, religion, education, self-awareness and human relations.

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This Month's Article

Can People Live Without an Enemy?

At the end of the nineteenth century the civilized world began to fear an invisible enemy — germs. This was shortly after Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease. The twentieth century faced a succession of other enemy threats — Nazism, Communism, Racism. While our battle against disease seemed to be progressing well, the social “germs” of ideology, greed and prejudice presented a more difficult challenge for human survival. Now, early in the twenty-first century, ideology and prejudice have morphed into the fear of terrorists. This fear has inflamed racial and religious hatred and thrown humanity back into the most primitive behavior and mentality, thereby delaying solutions to our real pressing problems.

The fight against disease in the twentieth century was an on-going global effort. “Have” nations helped “have-not” nations through many non-governmental organizations coordinated by the United Nations. People cooperated to rid the world of smallpox, polio, measles and tuberculosis.  In stark contrast to the war on disease, the war on terrorism has made terrorists of all participants. Conflict has caused all parties to act contrary to the moral bases of all their self-righteous claims and justifications. Enemies have become mirror images of each other, and they have become just like what they hate.

How much pain and unhappiness is humanity willing to tolerate? Terrorism, war, and disease, as well as the more universal peril of environmental pollution are all visible symptoms of invisible psychological “germs.” Preventative medicine is always less costly than treating symptoms resulting from neglect. In addition, a conscious, healthy lifestyle creates a better quality of life. On a global scale, we must treat humanity and the planet as one organism and view it as our own self.  We must live a healthy lifestyle — physically, emotionally, and mentally — and secure it for all people. By not viewing the whole planet as sharing a common destiny, we create obstacles to universal peace and prosperity, and poison our relationships. It is obsession with our separate personal or national identity, expressed arrogantly, that creates enemies.

At the end of World War II the United Nations was founded to end the “causes of war.” This was based on the wisdom of prevention. The state of war is the consequence of self-centered ignorance, nothing more. Ideology, religious doctrines, and economic reasons are just excuses, and methods for “rallying the troops.” War, terrorism, and now environmental crises are really the breaking point of past selfish attitudes, negligence and short-sighted choices. Foolish pride, the human ingredient for tragedy, is ever the enemy of human success. It is curious that historians never really cite “human folly” as the cause of human suffering and as the cause for unfulfilled human potential.

Perhaps the function of enemies, whether germs or terrorists, is to distract us from facing the real enemy that is within. Human and social progress is a result of self-improvement. Unless we face our flaws, fears, habits and addictions we cannot prevent them from ruling our life. When we collectively consider our flaws to be virtues, then we choose leaders that embody them, and are happily led to our self-destruction. Humility is not easy when leaders tell us we are right and others are wrong, and when they feed our addictions. How can we face ourselves objectively if we always feel that others and not ourselves are the threats to our happiness?

A global view of current “enemies:”

“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Western allies have been asking: What will replace the threat of communism as the cement that holds together the Atlantic alliance? Some have argued terrorism, but I don’t think so. I think my German friends have the best idea: the issue that will and should unite the West is energy and all its challenges.

After all, nothing is a bigger threat today to the Western way of life and quality of life than the combination of climate change, pollution, species loss, and Islamist radicalism and petro-authoritarianism — all fueled by our energy addictions. And no solution is possible to these problems without concerted government actions to reduce emissions, to inspire green innovation and to shift from oil to renewable power.”

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, The New York Times
Published: October 27, 2006 (read whole article — you may need to register for Times Select)

Comment: How sad that threats rather than shared goals unite us!

Below are the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals that all 191 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. Unfortunately, most governments are not living up to their committment. It nevertheless shows direction for cooperation based on dedication to shared principles:

United Nations Millennium Development Goals
Adopted September 2000 (read entire declaration)

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

8. Develop a global partnership for development

 United Nations Millennium Declaration (read entire declaration)

In conclusion:

There is no need to have enemies — either visible or invisible. All we need to do is open our eyes to the problems of the world that stand in the way of survival and then take global action to solve them with all available resources. The lack of goodwill of most national governments is the sole enemy. It doesn’t take much intelligence to see that. Thus we must no longer let governments stand in the way of our future. We must not let them busy themselves creating enemies then squandering our resources destroying their creations while becoming like them. Governments have proven that they can cooperate when it serves their economic interests. They need to realize that cooperation serves everybody's interest.


Annual Cost of Improving the World
$19 billion: Eliminates starvation and malnutrition globally.
• $12 billion: Provides education for every kid on earth.
• $15 billion: Provides access to water and sanitation.
• $23 billion: Reverses the spread of AIDS and Malaria.

The Cost in Perspective
• $420 billion: U.S. Military budget this year.
• $300 billion: Cost of Iraq War thus far.

Source: The Borgen Project (Check out the Borgen Project as an example of a non-governmental organization taking on poverty and attempting to put principles of the U.N. Millennium Declaration into practice.)


© 2006 Richard Sidy


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Articles about Consciousness and the Future:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?

Protecting Children: Words and Deeds

Related Poems:

Making Friends
Old Glory
The Wake of Disaster


Support child survival, protection and development:
Donate to U.S.A. Fund for UNICEF

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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Archives 2002: Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003: Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life

Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004: Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All
Poetry Diplomacy Science and Religion  Teen Help
Archives 2002 Archives 2003 Archives 2004
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