Laudato Si.

Joan: I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God.
Robert: They come from your imagination.
Joan: Of course. That is how the messages of God come to us.

— from Shaw’s Saint Joan

No matter whether one believes in God, I should think that everyone who’s been paying attention to our horrid societal and environmental momentum can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a personal physical ailment, the unnecessary extinction of a given species as a painful collective disfigurement, and the torture of other human beings as an abomination.

Am I right? Do you?

I’m an educator, and I’ve been teaching, counseling and mentoring youngsters worldwide on all levels for decades. I speak to you as an experienced parent too, having contributed to the growth of three of my own children, ranging in age from forty-seven to seventeen.

None of the horror touched upon above could go on, let alone be getting worse daily, if educational institutions nationwide weren’t engaged — to some significant degree — in compounding ignorance with ignorance. Meaning, there are elements in academia which beg to be addressed anew, For all across the board youngsters are going down fast, dwelling on short-sighted, self-serving ambitions, dispensing with the notion of there being such a thing as the Collective Good, and dead-set on accepting an apocalyptic mindset. Add to all that that they’re fast becoming irretrievably addicted to the products of solely secular Silicon Valley, and you’ve got a recipe for The Perfect Storm for students.

I should say Perfect Storm for Citizens, I guess, ’cause there’s no way for anyone to get out of the way of the wave that’s coming our way, it having engulfed plenty of us already, doing irreparable, unprecedented damage to date in many quarters.

The new community I’ll be relocating to shortly is fortunate respecting environmental hazards. It is not plagued by Super Fund sites, nor is it festooned with Brownfields which foul its potable water. That said, they are not immune to the macroscopic forces at work across the entire country, the whole of the world. And the adjacent communities bordering my new home which are overrun with toxic areas are slated to impact on the quiet, peace and health of the privileged realm I’ll soon inhabit.

That’s partly why I’ll  be offering my services as a volunteer to all schools, non-profits and members of the Chamber of Commerce. There’s an urgent need to move in solidarity following a fresh paradigm. Although there are a lot of well-meaning souls already engaged in civic engagement where I’ll be heading, they’re hedging their bets, you might say.

Fact is, though, one cannot address our collective crises effectively by keeping one foot in healthy activism and one foot on obsolete ground. [Pause.] What is obsolete?

That’s easy to spell;out. The problem, though, is that everyone’s on the run these days, And the administrators, teachers, counselors, city fathers and mothers, socially- and environmentally-conscious non-profits — virtually everyone —  is so much on the run having fun and/or blindly embracing a less than ideal (politically correct, socially acceptable) treadmill that no one takes the time and energy out — the requisite heartbeats — to get down with any new discussion about the viable options concerned citizens have as viable options.

I opened with God. I will close with God.

There is a spiritual dimension that’s needed for us to deal adequately with the major issues of our time. The challenges of youth today and the cries heard from Mother Nature can’t be dealt with properly without injecting some degree of spirituality into the mix of civic engagement that’s in gear at present. Nowhere in the nation.

A new ingredient needs to be blended in. And I humbly and respectfully submit that that can be found in Divine Guidance.

I’ll be happy to elaborate, upon request. But that will require time. Time for delineation that’s not forced to be telegraphic. Time for your lesiurely feedback. Time for me to get back to you on your responses without rushing, without watching the clock. And, then, more and more back and forth. And so on.

Until we’ve exhausted all that’s worthwhile sharing. Until that takes place we can only look forward to further advances toward the precipice.

And until I hear from readers the Collective Imagination can’t get into gear and come to glory.

Richard Martin Oxman can be reached at [email protected].


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