Believing in a positive future for mankind
When Eve ate from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, the snake thought for sure the world was going to be his alone because Eve's and Adam's act of defiance was punishable by death. Things never go the way you expect. The snake was so disappointed. There's a worthy lesson there and one worth remembering as we near Yom Kippur.
What saved Eve and Adam from extinction was that they repented. They were ashamed and embarrassed, so instead of killing them, G-d covered them with clothes. There is a connection between Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and this story. The word the Bible uses to describe G-d's act of clothing the young couple is "kafar." "Kafar" has the same root as (Yom) "Kippur." Sins get covered — not forgotten, but exempt from punishment. Memory, in many senses, is a forever thing.
Being ashamed and embarrassed started Eve's and Adam's repentance. Without these emotions, promises to change one's behavior or societal norms are a political tactic. This biblical story's themes hold true today. Snake-like manipulations dominate both our politics and our personal relations. I don't know where our shame and embarrassment will come from in the future, but without them, we will constantly be surprised that things keep moving downward and backward.
How is the repentance process continued and made viable in real life? Here is a general method for self- and societal improvement.
Picture, please, a wheat field bending and bowing in the stiff breeze. A single stalk that stands alone or too far from its fellow stalks will be broken as the wind picks up. Wheat, planted close together and well rooted in the soil, can withstand the troubling wind. Each stalk supports those around it. From the details of each stalk emerge the beauty of waving fields of grain.
Image: Wheat field by wirestock.
This paradigm of wheat surviving the storm has been known to mankind for millennia in different forms and has always been honored, even if only in the breach at times. It was only common sense among those who knew that their time might come to require support in their crises.
However, nowadays, true, organic cooperation among individuals and institutions interferes with the goal of reducing world population. According to this view, people do not need mutual support strategies so much as they need extinction. The hordes of people expecting increasing standards of living are interfering with the acquisition of wealth by those who are already wealthy. So say the political thinkers who have studied the growth of the human population. Their research is jaded and manipulated because those who pay for the desired results require predetermined outcomes. So much for science.
What we can use to reinstate mutually supportive behavior among people is to view working examples. Syrupy preaching is not particularly useful, but pictures might help us understand the possibilities for improvement.
The exact replication of successful examples is unnecessary. Here are three examples of collective life in Israel in the form of YouTube musical videos. Kibbutz Sa'ad was seen five years ago, preparing for its 71st birthday. It produces about one fourth of all carrots consumed in Israel. The song starts off, "Together, all the way, together, no other way; hand in hand, we will reach out for the good that will still come, that will surely come; together, all the way, together, no other way; together, each man will open his heart."
The second example is of a less collectivized agricultural unit called a "moshav," where homes are owned by individual families, though the agricultural land may be worked by the entire community. Kfar Maimon was celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Our last example is Kibbutz Ain Tzurim. In 1947, the original kibbutz was overrun by the Egyptian army as the collective's members tried to keep Jerusalem safe. It was re-established by the women, children, and surviving men closer to the Gaza Strip a few years later. Here they are in 2019, celebrating their 70th anniversary, singing, "We are living together."
None of what you see is forced statism. All of it is communities voluntarily supporting each other, in good times and bad, in a fulfilling way that allows for the strength to acknowledge and grow from mistakes.
I hope these examples provide hints to about how we can behave to give ourselves hope for the future.