How to Save the World

To save the world you must first save yourself. Rid yourself of life’s most destructive habits: excessive drink, texting while driving, painkillers for breakfast, addiction to gambling, serial adultery, brawling on weekends, foolish risk-taking, street crime. Keep fit and healthy in both mind and spirit. Don’t give up on education or recreation or communication. Be part of the world, and of the lives of those around you. Recognize that you have some things to give the world, and in giving them you will receive as well.

Save your conscience. Remember that small, imagined voice between your ears that used to warn you about jumping off the garage roof? or tweak your nerve endings when you snuck one of your dad’s cigarettes? Well, believe it or not, that conscience is probably still alive within you, even if on life support. Revive it if necessary. Listen for the moral and righteous and considerate voice that will guide you to what is true and proper and fair and humane. Shut out the gratuitous yapping and ranting and talking-pointing of our media-saturated culture, so that you can hear your own inner guide. Then follow it.

Save the one(s) you care about the most: your spouse or sweetheart or significant other, parent or child. They populate your world and the moments of your life more than any others, and are therefore deserving of your greatest and most constant care and attention. Always approach them open and attentive, ready to do, to experience, to give, to share, to love, and in turn you’ll find many of life’s greatest rewards.

Save your family. After all these years, isn’t it about time you stopped grousing about whom Mom loved best? In the bigger picture of life, does it really matter all that much who ended up with that favored childhood quilt? or silly set of figurines? Try to see your family clearly, without the intervening veil of gripes, grudges and recriminations. Recognize that they too are just people, muddling through a chaotic world just as you are, struggling for equilibrium and satisfaction and a clearer route to a better future. Avoid placing still more obstacles of guilt and shame and anger and regret and pain in their path. Instead, offer your care and concern and good will; you’ll be surprised how often such gifts are thankfully received, welcomed and reciprocated.

Save your friends. As our lives become more hectic and disorganized and disconnected, we too often lose friends along the way. Our pasts become littered with the husks of discarded and atrophied relationships. Take the time and energy to stay in touch. Reach out to old friends and remind yourselves why you liked each other in the first place. You will find even more commonalities and reasons to appreciate one another. Your lives will become richer for it, and you’ll have greater psychic and emotional resources to face what tomorrow may bring.

Save your community. There’s no one to build better schools, better parks, better roads, better senior centers, better congregations, better local leadership if each of us does not get involved. Quit assuming that ‘the other guy’ will figure it out; that other guy’s probably relying on you. Stay informed and vote. Get involved in a cause that you believe in. Contribute your time, your knowledge, your money, your voice or your helping hands to something that matters to you, and you’ll begin to see real and immediate change in your world.

Save your country. Strive to hear the voices of those Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”. Seek equality and consideration for every American, of every race, creed, color, gender, political belief, sexual orientation, income level, television viewing habits, automobile model, lawn size, pet choice — whatever. Stop comparing and contrasting your neighbors; recognize each one as the individual, discrete and completely human human he or she is.

Save the world. Yes — it’s easier than you might at first have thought. If each one of us 6 billion+ souls can just manage but a single one of these relatively few and relatively easy steps, then we will be 6 billion+ steps closer to saving the world, this precious blue marble hurtling through the void — the only home we have, the home we all share.