I believe in a global community. So much so that I tattooed the word “Ubuntu” on my ankle to remind me of my life’s motto. Ubuntu is a word used by the Zulu people in South Africa it means “I am because you are, my decisions affect you and your decisions affect me.”
It’s hard though. So often the darkness feels like it’s winning the battle. Someone I know recently said in a rather defeated tone that everyday someone, somewhere is doing something horrific, blowing themselves up, and causing the loss of life. It was meant to show us all how the world is going to hell in a hand basket and there is nothing we can really do about it.
So I said, in a naively optimistic way, that even I find hard to take seriously all the time – you’re right but there is also something amazing that happens everyday where someone makes the world better for people. I was then kindly mocked for being like a PBS special and so quintessentially optimistic.
I couldn’t bite my tongue because I don’t want to give in, and I feel disheartened sometimes. The more people who agree with the mentality that the world is shot the harder it is to believe in something better and take active steps towards a better world. It’s hard not to take it as a sign that we are giving up when reminding people of how much good there is in the world is the perspective that is mocked and the reminders of how screwed the world is taken as fact.
I am not naive though, I understand that optimism and realism must go hand in hand. I know that terrible things do happen in the world and will continue to happen. But I will not let those terrible things ruin my perspective of the global community and my faith in humanity. We need to believe in one another because in the end we’re all we really have.