The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “civilization

Our Frail Craft

Posted on March 8, 2018

Former UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon once voiced a perceptive observation concerning humanity’s potential and its limitations:   “We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” He went on to talk of how future generations will judge us on the strength or weakness of our moral vigor to manage change. And that’s just how it’s playing itself out.  We’ve learned in a previous blog about how the world is making important strides in fighting destitute poverty in the developing world.  Much of this is due to governments rising to the challenge of the UN’s Millennial and Sustainable Development Goals and also for the abilities of…

Is Our World Getting Any Better?

Posted on February 15, 2018

Is the world getting better or worse? It’s a ridiculous question really – not just because it depends on who you ask, but because a single answer proves impossible. The conclusion can only be that it is both. Plenty of research has been published legitimizing both arguments. As a kid growing up in Calgary in the 1950s, both dynamics framed my larger view of the world. It seemed a dangerous planet. The threat of imminent nuclear conflict challenged many of our neighbours to consider constructing bomb shelters. Polio made families insecure. Racism hovered over us as a dark cloud, given what was erupting south of the border. Most nations were anything but democratic and were frequently volatile. The communist threat was everywhere. Sadly, three…

Anatomy of Hatred

Posted on September 1, 2017

Hatred. Neo-Nazis. White Supremacists. Racism. KKK. These terms, and many like them, we had hoped were slowly disappearing from our public life and lexicon, yet they are everywhere in these troubled days. For those individuals and groups who have felt the sheer injustice of such things, however, they have been an ever-present reality. With the events of Charlottesville, we are struggling to grasp the implications of what happens when those most troubling facets of hatred emerge again to prove we never did deal with them effectively. Rallies are being held across the United States and Canada, including London, this weekend that pit the best and worst of human nature against one another. The troubles of recent days have caused me to reflect on the…

The Sacrificial Bond

Posted on April 16, 2017

An old sage once observed that, “the greatest sacrifice is when you sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of someone else.” The modern age isn’t so sure of that principle anymore. The term “sacrifice” summons up thoughts of loss, pain, foregoing of resources, even life itself. Our daily lives cater more to the concept of self-improvement and our economic choices frequently reflect that reality. We aim too low. It remains one of the great ironies of modern life that our heroes are frequently those whose lives barely resemble ours. When Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai visited Ottawa this past week, it was something like a spiritual event. We understood what she had given up in order to raise her voice for the cause…

Progress in War Outpacing Efforts for Peace

Posted on February 22, 2017

This post can also be read in the Huffington Post here.   In the modern era, the abiding belief has always been that war and conflict were vestiges of the past and that peace was the progressive option for moving humanity into a more secure future. That sentiment is now under assault. It’s troubling to think that armed conflict is in a more progressive mode than peace initiatives at the moment. While the great wars have all but disappeared in the new Millennium, regional conflicts have emerged with a troubling vengeance. The death casualties in these conflicts have grown so high that many are talking about the potential for these regional conflicts to rival the sheer human cost of the great wars of the…

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