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The Millennium

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By George Piggott

The Millennium, marking the ending of a thousand years and the beginning of the next thousand years, is looming ever closer on the horizon. We are told the ending of 1999 and the beginning of the year 2000 will be a significant event in the history of mankind. Fortunes will be spent by Governments world wide in preparation for all types of celebrations to mark this momentous occasion.

At Greenwich, Great Britain has the new Millennium Dome, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1999. The overall cost will run into millions of pounds. Thousands more will be spent on street parties, displays of fireworks and a host of special events. A once in a lifetime experience, an unforgettable time for millions of people as we enter the new Millennium.

The long holiday break will provide a welcome opportunity for people to meet up and spend many happy hours with family and friends, renew old acquaintances, and of course make new ones. There will be a sense of excitement as everyone is poised ready for the countdown, to participate in and enjoy this rare occasion.

It is easy to get caught up in the momentum as we approach the countdown time. Many minds will be focused on the present — few will stop and find time for reflection, to look at the other side of the coin.

Looking back at the history of mankind over the last thousand years, one is left with a bag of mixed feelings, a legacy of good and bad events. The global conquest of countries to satisfy the ambitious desires of the few. Countless lives sacrificed in horrific wars. Millions of people massacred, many left with terrible scars and injuries. There were religious wars, people tortured by barbaric methods, slave labour was rife, the suffering immense. Continents, seas and oceans were plundered in the lust for precious metals, timber, oil, plants, animal furs etc. Anything and everything was exploited for profit, with a total disregard to the pain, suffering, cost in human lives, and the extensive damage to our environment. The ultimate goal being… self greed.

On reflection, we see this as only the tip of the iceberg. In the last hundred years alone, we have dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Nuclear bombs with a greater destructive power, with the capability to destroy our planet, are stockpiled by several nations. We have cut and torched thousands of square miles of valuable, irreplaceable rainforest. Many species of animals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fish have now become extinct, mostly due to our ceaseless destructive nature and ignorance. It still goes on — at an alarming rate.

In recent years oil spillage has polluted the oceans and coastlines of various countries.

We have fears and concern about holes in the ozone layer, the layer that protects us from radiation. Twenty-five million cars in the UK produce health problems with their pollution. Motorway pile-ups, road rage and parking cause frustration and stress. Our use of the car has become a major issue between the Government and the public… There is no practical solution in sight.

Mad cow disease still haunts us, millions of people die of AIDS, genetically modified food is loitering in the wings, ready to bring further stress to our already complicated lives. Computers control practically everything — a prolonged power failure could cause havoc. The ‘Millennium bug’ is hovering, ready to bring chaos to computers — millions are being spent in an effort to correct the faults. Most of our basic food contains additives. Labels confuse us, we can never be sure of what we are eating.

Every year crimes of violence, muggings, rape, burglary, drink and reckless driving take their toll. Depressive suicides, drugs, food, chemicals, progressive technology, swell the figures of the statistics. The list could go on and on. We have created a world of madness.

Across the globe, many people of all age groups will not be rejoicing. The Millennium will be as distant as the furthest star. Their day will be one of fear, hunger, war, pain, and suffering. Nothing will have changed, the situation is beyond their control, not self inflicted, in fact, forced upon them by the deeds and actions of fellow human beings… So called.

The hype and words of goodwill, pouring forth from the lips of those in high places of authority, whether political, religious, social, or commercial, will be meaningless. The Millennium will pass unnoticed to those in despair, as they suffer alone… Such is the state of the present day world.

If we take stock of our actions past and present, we must ask ourselves this serious question — “What and why are we celebrating, is it just a particular moment in time?” Or is it just an excuse to have time off to indulge in a party on a grand scale? Surely it can’t be the list of horrors outlined in this article!

It is generally accepted that the human species considers itself unique, supreme, above all else on planet earth (Christians will say, ‘with the exception of God’) We possess a large sophisticated brain that has the ability to analyse, to form an opinion, make decisions and so forth. There is nothing to equal the potential of the human brain, it certainly is remarkable. It has no opponents — it is a law unto itself.

But there is nothing outside of our heads to question our belief. No Martian jury, or Alien ombudsman to offer an impartial alternative. No E.T. sitting in a neutral corner to question the view we have of our conscious minds…

So how do we define intelligence?Could our opinion be tainted with a touch of ego and arrogance?

If we are serious about the question, then we must try to seek the truth. We must be kind to ourselves, allow ourselves the time to investigate, to explore and pay attention to our thought process which is responsible for each and every one of our actions. The whole structure of our society is based on our thoughts and their equivalent actions.

It appears as if our brains can’t distinguish the difference between intelligence and madness. Please, take the time and trouble to examine the facts. We may not take kindly to self criticism, truth can be painful, our pride may be bruised; but something is amiss, the horrors documented here can’t possibly be the work of intelligence — can they?

Surely, the truth is we live and exist in a mad, mad, world created over a long period of time by brain power. These same brains are responsible for the carnage, the enormous loss of life, each life as precious as yours or mine. Thoughts turned into vicious reality. The contents of the minds we accept as unique. It is a sickening revelation.

If it is accepted, it has serious implications. Can we trust our thoughts? Freedom, democracy, human rights, racism, politics, religion, to name but a few are all part of the equation. We could easily bury our heads in the sand and hope that life’s problems will ease, or disappear, or put our faith and hopes in politicians, religious groups, gurus, or on our marvellous education system — so far, none of these have ever found the solution.

Politicians, religious leaders, philosophers and gurus have tried for centuries to give guidance, to lead us in various directions they believed would lay the foundations for an ideal environment for mankind. Whatever their purpose, we still exist in a complicated world of conflict and discontent. Millions of pills and medication are swallowed by humans each day to combat stress and fatigue, due mostly to the pressures of life… self made.

Now comes the important question, “Could there be a simple change to make life more acceptable and pleasant for all?” First it must be realised that our structured society is vast and complicated. The die has been cast, so to speak. It would take a miracle to dismantle. Secondly, the minds of everyone have been heavily conditioned since birth, the impact of this can be seen and experienced throughout our lives. So, we have a formidable situation to overcome.

Perhaps, ‘simplicity’ may be a way forward. To make change is simple, nature does it constantly. The effect can be instant and on-going. So our third option could be a change in attitude. The attitude implied is ‘right attitude,’ expressed as respect for others, ourselves and the planet as a whole. The word ‘respect’ is self explanatory, and embraces everything. This is a simple step in the right direction. If used in our everyday lives, it could have a profound and instant effect on everyone.

‘Simplicity is the cradle of compassion.’ — To give is a simple act. It saves many lives.

In contrast…

‘Complexity’ — ‘is the den of demons.’ It is the life we lead now.

The Millennium presents us with a golden opportunity for change, for a new beginning; not only for ourselves, but for our children and future generations. It seems certain this important moment in time will lose out to parties and celebrations. A golden opportunity lost!

As we enter the year 2000, news headlines and other media sources will be reporting the serious news world-wide. It will be interesting to see how much our unique and sophisticated brains have learnt from the past.

If the horrors of the past are seen as a pattern of the future, the serious question of “How do we define intelligence?” will become even more difficult.

Perhaps the answer is — simple.

May your footsteps echo peace.

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