The big picture - can you see it?
In 1994, using a picture of earth taken from 6 billion kilometers away by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990, Carl Sagan elegantly laid out the big picture of our place in the Universe.
His words are still profound and compelling a quarter of a century later, and worth repeating:
"The earth is a small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of all those rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe are challenged by this point of pale blue light.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image.
To me, this underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Evocative words indeed.
Here he is again:
All over the world, millions of people have aligned with Sagan’s sentiments and are embracing that we are all in this together. They can see that whatever their creed, race or tribe, everyday North Americans, Africans, Asians, Europeans or South Americans are not so different from each other. We are all human beings, our blood is interchangeable, we share a world. The vast majority of us want to live in peace, take care of those we love and have some fun in our life. Pretty simple.
But the clarity gets muddied by political leaders who thrive on division, fear and ultimately war.
As Gil Scott-Heron, the great American poet said, "We gotta work for peace. Peace ain't coming this way."
Pow*r! is a major step forward in working for peace.
Will it succeed?
There are a lot of known and unknown obstacles on the path to POW - it's a long journey.
At the same time, I believe it may be easier than skeptics might think. There are not that many people who support the idea of war given the likely outcome from AI-controlled nuclear weapons.
And what of the alternatives to Pow*r!? If you let the status quo rule, countries will bankrupt themselves trying to keep up militarily with each other. For example, the recent increase that Congress gave to the Pentagon is greater than the entire Russian military budget.
The other traditional means of promoting peace is ordinary people demonstrating in the streets - like they have done for the last 60+ years, to no effect. Demonstrating, whether for peace, climate change, civil rights, gun control or whatever, raises awareness but rarely leads to action by the political establishment.
Realistically, empowering people to, individually and collectively, reinvent the rules and allow peace, opportunity and wellbeing to emerge is the only way to stop the rivers of blood, save the organism and create a world that we are proud to leave to our children.