In the biography of Buddha, the narrator described his enlightenment: that every moment that had ever existed had led up to this moment.
Europeans refer to The Enlightenment as a period in history in which reason and individualism drove prevailing thought, with a host of scientific discoveries and developments, leading to democratic governments. Unfortunately, it frowned on "unscientific" methods. If you couldn't measure it, it was invalid. As a species, we are prone to settle in to our comfortable opinions and prejudices until something comes along to disturb our complacency. Invariably, it does.
We are presently faced with the destruction of our planet through greed, ignorance and sheer overpopulation. When there were less than a billion people on earth, our impact was not as noticeable. Today there are 7.4 billion people, most of whom are located in urban areas. The time has come to use our creativity to restore our planet to health.
I read a little known magazine called Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, which had an article about new products being developed from wood. The sustainable forests of northern Minnesota will someday be used to create biodegradable polystyrene-like plastics because we have realized the hazards of plastic. Wouldn't it be nice to have a plastic bag that decomposes? This shows me that the path is forward, using our creativity, rather than backward into what used to work.
If you think global warming is not caused by humans, you can skip this paragraph. For those who do, there is a great book called How to Change Minds about Changing Climate by two climate experts, Seth Darling and Douglas L. Sisterson. They describe the complexity of our planet's ecosystem. It will take creative minds to work together on all aspects of this problem. Meanwhile, our government lags behind in policy that would help.
As a teacher, I look to education to help. Education, however, is also a reflexive system. It responds years, perhaps decades after a need is determined. Meanwhile, those who can afford enrichment for their children find that they have placed their children apart from a society that has no idea what they do. Computer science is one such field. If Hillary had known how to get her emails through a computer instead of a Blackberry, if the public had known Facebook could be manipulated, if putting everything online hadn't made us vulnerable to cyberattack, if tech companies hadn't become monopolies, how different would our government be? People! You need to learn everything you can about computers! They are not going away!
I am responsible for my own enlightenment. I have begun to see the power in nonfiction reading, although I still love a good novel or poem. The more information I have, the better the choice I can make.
I am responsible for feeding my creativity. Through quiet days and attention to detail, through creating feedback loops with other people, through reading about creativity and creative people, and through connecting with myself on a regular basis, I hope I am offering the world my best.