30,000+ feet above the earth breaks my pen free and my words out of any dam they once floundered in. I fill margins, napkins and notebooks with thoughts, ideas, emotions, revelation, and bits of the future. Last month I hopped once again from Portland to Denver. It was Sunday, and as I do every Sunday whether in flight or out, I had my thick edition of the New York Times handy. Being just before Christmas, I penned thoughts on consumerism, markets and the patterns of our world to prioritize material possessions. My personal struggle with money, time and priorities is here, too. These are my thoughts from 30,000 feet….
Traveling high above the world’s crushing expectations and theories, looking toward pure beauty without the dislodging commentaries. Free to process and believe in the future. Here I see the potential for the better world I sometimes grow weary of keeping my faith in.
It is time for me, and I do not believe I am alone, to finally and radically shake the assumptions of society. We have been narrowly focused on a dangerous trajectory – heading through a tunnel towards an infinitely meaningless future. This tunnel points us towards industry and production. It ignores the mountain of possibility it resides inside – a mountain of peace, sustainability and harmony. It chooses a narrow definition of success – that is to provide for oneself, to acquire and achieve, to place morality at a descending point on our spectrum of priorities. This view of the short days we live on Earth is no longer sustainable. Its viability broken as we witness pervasive violence and discontent.
To sacrifice family for the sake of dollars.
To sacrifice health for the sake of convenience.
To sacrifice rightness and justice for the sake of our short-term affluence.
To sacrifice all the wrong things and place arbitrary worth on objects lain atop an unresponsive alter.
Through the evolution and innovation of industry we have celebrated the seemingly unstoppable journey of “progress”. Pulling ourselves from poverty and plague with advances in mechanics, science and medicine, we elongated our lives and increased our living quality. We progressed untethered through the days of plenty, grew through a pioneering Spirit and settled in unknown territory to a promise of greatness. The result, at first, was glorious. People lived longer and better lives, and our accomplishments contributed to a culture of growth and success.
Today we sit upon a pile of that growth, needing to evolve and pioneer once again. We must take today’s hardships and uncharted land and commit to a future that can be supported and celebrated. We must shift our gaze from acquiring the old symbols of progress to pursuing and investing in what is truly valuable.