17 November 2009


here is something that is making the rounds by email. the information is illuminating, but i have serious issues with the conclusions drawn. first, the info --

1. If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of --
~ 57 Asians
~ 21 Europeans
~ 14 Americans (North, Central and South)
~ 8 Africans

2. There would be --
~ 52 women and 48 men
~ 30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
~ 30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
~ 89 heterosexuals and 11 homosexuals

3. 6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA.
~ 80 would live in poverty
~ 70 would be illiterate
~ 50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
~ 1 would by dying
~ 1 would be being born
~ 1 would own a computer
~ 1 (yes, only 1) would have a university degree
4. If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious. But, consider the following ....

5. If you woke up this morning in good health, you have more luck ehan one million people, who won't live through the week.

6. If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death by starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.

7. If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault you or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that's right) people. And if you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world's population.

8. If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few among the 100 people of the world.

9. If someone sent you this message, you're extremely lucky, because someone is thinking about you, and because you don't comprise one of those 2 billion people who can't read.

10. And so?

~ Work like you don't need the money.
~ Love like nobody has ever hurt you.
~ Dance like nobody is watching.
~ Sing like nobody is listening.
~ Live as if this was paradise on Earth.

12. Send this message to your friends. Bypass those who will treat this as childish, having their own egocentric view of the world. If you don't send it, nothing will happen. If you do send it, someone might smile while they are reading it, and that will be a positive.

13. And apart from that, have a nice day.

got all that? did you notice the GLARING disconnect between entries 1-10, and 11-13? we are presented with a "demographic perspective", courtesy of global village, which spells out how privileged we few are, and what shattered lives most of the world leads. not to mention dismissing anyone who might disagree with the totality of the message as "childish, egocentric". i think the writer needs to look in the mirror.

and then, we're told to celebrate this, smile, be happy, have a nice day.

WHAT?? ok, fine, appreciate what your privileges and gifts. but where is the obvious followup message -- to use those gifts and privileges to make the rest of the world a better place? where is the exhortation to level the economic playing field, eliminate war, poverty, starvation, torture, religious and racial and ethnic intolerance? where is the appeal to conscience? to social responsibility?

and above all, where is the discussion of the root cause of nearly every human misery you can name, which is our own staggering overpopulation? our garden planet could sustainably support roughly one-tenth of our current 6 billion people (a number which is increasing geometrically). where is the call for birth control, for literacy and education, for the global prosperity which would shut down the runaway engine of having more and more children?

where is the recognition that simply placing our heads in the sand, enjoying ourselves, having a nice day, means that we are signing the death warrant for the natural world, which, by the way, happens to make our continued existence possible?

"don't worry, be happy" -- i would suggest instead "stand up to injustice, use your gifts for good, and do so with a happy heart."

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