Last Updated on November 2, 2019 by Anil Premlall
We’re onto something really big here at Hearts & Minds, even if we don’t yet have the funds to fully achieve one of our main goals. We want to empower everyone, everywhere to realize:
You Can Change the World
Our Global Survival Campaign offers you very specific ways you can get to the roots of some of our world’s most pressing problems.
Incredible opportunities for all
Personally, I feel very lucky to be working for a goal like this: to do as much good as we can. Of course, everyone always has this opportunity, all the more so when we put our hearts and minds together, thinking and working more creatively.
Many people are ready for this kind of world-changing message. Many are already involved. Many more will join in, once they get the message.
All over the world we see rising concern for our environment… massive, increasingly effective action against world poverty… Even the rise of terrorism has a possible upside, hopefully moving everyone everywhere to think through the dangers of fanatic ideologies…
Crisis and Opportunity
This is surely an interesting time to be alive. “May you live in interesting times” is not really a Chinese curse. And though Chinese linguists say it’s not necessarily true that the Chinese word for crisis also means opportunity, perhaps disagreeing with the author of that linguistic link, it is often true worldwide throughout history: out of crisis comes great opportunities. Really great opportunities: to fight slavery, end oppression of women, abolish child labor, protect freedom of religion and democracy – all of which have seen massive success helping millions of people, though plenty more needs doing.
Growing up in the 1960s helped influenced me to see things this way. Back then, working for change was a mass movement in many nations. I think we need more of that now.
Power to the people
That was a slogan of the ’60s. And this is still the ultimate revolution. Once people come together, there’s no known limit to what we can do.
Time and again people prove they have the power. And only the people should have this power. Because if you can’t trust millions of people to look after their own best interests… (often you have to wonder – Winston Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government in the world, except for all the others.” 🙂
If you can’t always trust the masses to look after their own best interests, you certainly can’t trust a small group of dictators of the proletariat, self-appointed spiritual masters, or führers for the patriotic volk to do what’s right…
And now is the time for change
We face the biggest crisis ever, far as I can tell: despite all the good work being done, we still have very serious problems:
growing threats to our environment, including global warming, pollution, urban sprawl, growing devastation of our life-giving oceans and rainforests…
grinding poverty affecting two billion people, though we could end massive poverty in just a few years, if we had the political will…
the rise of ideologies glorifying self-destructive killing thousands of civilians. Blind-faith fanatics threaten world peace, potentially using weapons of mass destruction, starting a World War of nightmare proportions. That could leave billions of people dead….
For all these reasons and more, it seems clear to me, we are deep in worldwide crisis.
But out of crisis comes great opportunities…
A personal confession
It’s been true in my personal life. My most valuable learning experiences, the most important feedback for course correction, the most beautiful opportunities to create something new, loving, and much more sustainable were often the direct results of crises in my life.
Not that it’s much fun being deep in crisis:
I was a shy, tall, nerdy, awkward kid with thick glasses and poor social skills, growing up unhappy in the suburbs just north of New York City. I was often teased, shut out. Lunch time in the junior high school cafeteria, it seemed no one would even let me sit at their table. Any insecure bully might threaten to beat me senseless to give his own poor self esteem a very temporary boost.
I went years at a time with no friends at all. The isolation was very painful.
I love my family, but when I was a kid, it sometimes seemed no one could give me the basic love I craved. Though I never tried to kill myself, there were many times it seemed an attractive idea.
I didn’t feel I’d ever have the love I needed, the love that everyone should have, freely given and in beautiful abundance, something we all could share in a better world. We have great power to work for this, once we overcome the obstacles that block us.
One way to end it all
Age 13, alone one gray April afternoon, I snuck up to the roof of Plaza Hotel, a pinnacle of high class comfort on 59th and Fifth overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park. I leaned over the railing. Quite a view, green, leafy trees stretching miles north to the hazy slums of Harlem.
I looked down. Tiny horses and carriages lined up for tourists; ant-like pedestrians and toy cars rushing by.
It’d be so easy to jump. I could quickly end all my pain. But I wasn’t quite ready for that.
Jumping off could kill some innocent people on that distant sidewalk. Maybe some happy young tourist couple walking hand in hand, talking of their future, the beautiful life they could create for themselves, their children, their grandchildren… just as they got ready to cross the street for one of those romantic, slow-moving, horse-drawn carriages… when one very unhappy teenager rushes down to meet them. That was a horrible thought.
And I was just too curious what the future might bring. Maybe it could be much better for me, too. In any case, I wanted to know how some kind of important story would unfold. Back then, the future was at least a vague idea of great potential.
I made it through my 13-year-old teenage crisis, though it was far from the end of my suffering. Suffering can be a great gift, not that I’m volunteering for any unnecessary suffering. But it made me much more sensitive to the mismanagement, corruption and shortsighted selfishness around the world.
Over time, my desire to address all this injustice grew much stronger. I began to understand, putting our hearts and minds together, vague ideas of great potential become a course of action of almost unlimited potential.
As we say on our Home Page, we can work to do as much good as possible. And what are the limits of possibility?
Stay tuned, our story is just getting started…