Christmas wishes: expanding our sphere of caring

By Joern Fischer

It’s Christmas today in the Western countries, and for all Christians. Along with this day come many good wishes, from many people, to many people. Many politicians and people in the public spotlight use the day  to publically wish for a more peaceful world with greater tolerance. I wholeheartedly share this wish, but at times, I also feel troubled the limited scope of many of these good wishes.

Wishing for greater tolerance towards other cultures, or for a more peaceful world will not be enough to actually reach such a world. The global power structures we have created, and the lifestyles many of us take as given, fundamentally don’t lend themselves to a peaceful world. Much of the wealth enjoyed in rich nations comes at the direct cost of exploitation of poor nations; and our highly material lifestyles undermine the life support systems that ultimately all human beings depend on. We’re destroying life on Earth — and injustices (towards members of our own species or other species) will not be resolved by occasional wishes for a more peaceful world with greater tolerance.

My wish therefore is that we might try to expand our sphere of caring beyond our families, and even beyond “peace with other cultures”. It’s life on Earth as a whole that deserves greater care and appreciation — and it’s the blindness towards our own greed that causes suffering to much of the world. And so I wish for a world of greater care towards all living creatures — not just at Christmas.

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2 thoughts on “Christmas wishes: expanding our sphere of caring

  1. I agree with your sentiment whole-heartedly but I’ve recently read a view that challenged my thinking in “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari. He suggests that the relative peace which characterises our modern world (see psychologist Steven Pinkers work) has much to do with a shared story of capitalism and consumerism which has united , and continues to unite, much of the world. This made me smile over Christmas when religious commentators traditionally bemoan the loss of the true meaning and its replacement by a festival of consumption, when if Harar’si theory is valid Capitalism has done more for world peace than any religion ever has.
    Its a difficult thought, but what it points too is not capitalism as being right but that humanity needing a common story to unite it: if only we could replace it with some form of natural stewardship.
    Thanks for the though-provoking blog

    Happy New Year

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