February 8, 2018 in Dag

Taking a big or a small world view

I’m going to break one of my regular rules today.

Generally, I try to steer this blog away from politics. I don’t like to post anything that may be seen as taking sides, or being controversial or divisive in any way. People who know me, or who read what I write on a regular basis should be able to get an idea of where I stand on most issues. But I don’t like to push my values or opinions down other people’s throats. I suppose it’s part of who I am, and how I’d like to see that reflected in my blog.

Sometimes, however, there are times when you feel you have to speak out. When, after thinking about things, you realise that you do have something to say and you want to say it. I’ll try not to get too pushy or preachy about it. But I do feel it’s important enough to want to say it.

As most people would be aware, we’re living in troubling times. I don’t recall anytime during my lifetime when political discourse was so divided, all over the world. And, as a child of holocaust survivors, I know too well where that kind of division can lead.

To me, what it comes down to is this. There are two different ways you can view the world. One way involves focussing on yourself, and those nearest to you, whether that’s your family or your immediate cultural group (your tribe, if I dare use that expression). You can concentrate only on what’s important to you, and put your energy into improving your (and your tribe’s) position at the expense of everybody else. I like to think of this as the small world view. You see the world as a small place, with you and your tribe at the centre. You never look further to see the wider world beyond.

The opposing viewpoint is what I like to call the big world view. In this view, you see the world as a big place full of wonder. Some of that wonder is natural – we all know (or I hope most of us do) about all the natural beauty that surrounds us. But much of that wonder involves the people that occupy that world. People of different gender, and skin colour, and various other noticeable features. People who come from different cultures, with different customs and beliefs and ways of life. Most are (I hope) good, though of course some are not so good. But all of them are people. All of them are equally valuable.

A big world view looks beyond the immediate benefits to an individual and their tribe, and considers what is best for all of humanity. It’s beyond politics – it doesn’t necessary ally itself to any particular party. It’s beyond race or religion or culture. It is simply about looking out for everyone, and trying to make the world a better place for everyone.

To me, the answers to many of these issues lies in our ability to shift from a small to a big world view. Only then can we move beyond petty rivalries and consider the big picture. How to do this, I’m not completely sure, given that small world-ism dominates so much of our culture and permeates the media so deeply. I know it’s a view I try to promote in my stories, but as an independent writer, I know my impact is insignificant.

All I can hope for is that somehow the big world view will eventually win out. I think it’s our only hope.

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