What if… (response 2)

This piece is one in a series of responses to “What If…” that we are posting this week.

If I understood that I am one with you and you and you, how would I listen?

As you have no doubt noticed, people are eager to talk but reluctant to listen. Why would you need to hear another’s opinion when you already know the answer, and have reached it alone and self-sufficiently? Indeed, other people are incredibly stubborn, and refuse to see the truth, even when it is so clear and obvious that you are right. A herd is made up of individuals; when you see that you are walking towards a cliff, you have to move in another direction and try to get enough people to follow you to avoid complete disaster.

But, as you remarked, humanity is not a herd of sheep, but rather like the cells of a body. Every one of us makes up one whole. You and I and she and he and they are all united. It is not possible for one part to take its own direction without causing harm to the rest. No one is alone, and what affects one affects all. A shot in the dark in Sao Paulo reverberates in Sydney, the crying of a child in Port-au-Prince is heard by a mother in Montreal.

Viewed from this perspective, how can you help but listen? What concerns your neighbour concerns you; what harms your friend harms you; what brings joy to the heart of a child who is heard laughing in the background of a broadcast on a murder brings joy your own heart. Knowing this, you will always listen. You will strain your ear, on a busy day and on a silent night, to hear what endeavour and woe, what joy and plight, what sickness and what new discovery is coursing through humanity at this moment. And that sound will energize you and give you new life!