Every year, we remember the brave, courageous, and the unfortunate whom laid down their lives, so that we could hopefully live ours in peace. Remembrance Day marks the date when hostilities formally ended at the end of World War I, with the signing of the armistice at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
Today is a reminder of that day long ago, nearly 100 years ago as we are now also in the 11th year of the new millennium. My message from last year hasn’t changed: remember those who bravely gave up their lives, but also remember the many whose lives have ended in vain; remember the needless waste and destruction, the torn and separated families, a world that was scarred, and lives that were changed forever.
Can we change the world? I think we can, but first we need to look into our own souls and change what lies within. When we think in terms of “us versus them”, use force to get our way or to impose our will upon others, and only think about what’s best for us, then we sow the seeds of hatred and fear. We need to change ourselves, and start thinking about how to evolve as a species and as individuals.
Modern civilization and an advanced marketplace have made us all dependent on each other more than we’ve ever been before. When we trade the fruits of our labour with each other, the world becomes a better place. When we exchange with our neighbours, we feel friendlier toward them, and they with us. Groups that interact and share with one another become interdependent, and see the value in maintaining these relationships and refraining from aggression.
It is those that hide behind iron curtains that do not see the light, and as they do not trade or share with their neighbours, have no qualms about invading and destroying them or in oppressing their own people. We saw it in Nazi Germany and Japan in the first half of this century, and we’ve seen it in the Iron Curtain and in North Korea since then. We are not immune — the same feelings lie dormant within us all, and I have seen then manifest again and again right here at home, in various ways and at various times.
The world has changed much in a few decades, but human nature hasn’t changed, and history has a tendency to repeat itself. The structure of the system matters, but even more importantly, the structure of your own soul matters. By changing ourselves, we can bring a little bit of that change into the world.
As the economy stutters around us, people point the blame at others and look for scapegoats to target… remember where that road has led us before. Fill your soul with warmth and compassion, not hatred and aggression, and you can truly honour the sacrifices made by those brave souls, across time and around the world.