Last July when Italy’s Finance minister Giulio Tremonti drew up their $42bn austerity bill, he went on to compare the current crisis to the sinking of the Titanic, recalling that ‘not even those in first class were spared’ when the famed cruise liner sank 100 years ago in the North Atlantic.
His premonition turned out to be more accurate than we could ever have imagined when Captain Francesco Schettino sank an Italian cruise ship off Italian waters. Schettino abandoned ship and refused coast guard orders to reboard the ship to assist in rescue efforts. Before the collision, he was hard at work impressing a woman and apparently afterward as well. The ship’s cook reported to a local news station that the captain had ordered dinner for himself and the woman after the ship struck rocks off Italy’s coast. The captain is reported to have ordered his crew to calm the passengers and tell them to return to their cabins, a command which turned out to be quite fatal.
The whole world has heard how the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship “cried like a baby” as he hugged its chaplain just hours after the boat hit rocks, the luxury liner’s priest revealed. Now we could fill pages and pages, as the press has been doing about the misdeeds and irresponsibility of what fellow Italians have dubbed “Captain Coward”. But let us stop for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Let us try to see the message the universe is trying to get across to us through all this chaos.
The truth of the matter is that we all are in one boat, but we do not understand yet to what extent each of us influences our common fate. This is the real issue that we have not truly grasped or accepted. In our global world, it does not matter if a criminal is far away from me or close by. In the new integral system, the person farthest away from me is equivalent to the person closest to me. The bottom line is – we are all in the same boat.
We do not see this integrated network yet, but we are quickly approaching its revelation. Soon we will feel that the concepts of people being close or distant, or people we depend on more or less, no longer exist, because we will come to realize that all people influence us in an equal manner.
Action precedes recognition of this fact because we live in a world of actions. This is why when something happens we say, “Oh,” only after something has happened. Then we forget and repeat the same mistake, and again say a little louder this time, “Oh!” After a whole series of exclaiming, “Oh-Oh-Oh!” we finally begin to think, “What could be the reason for these things happening? This is probably not a random accident.”
How much more time will pass before humanity finally realizes the reasons for all that is happening? How long will it take before all of humanity will want to understand that peace in society, peace for all of humanity and peace for each individual are completely dependent on each other? To the extent that we depend on our family or the people closest to us, today we depend on every person in the world. The truth is, we depend on those other people to an even more significant degree, but we are simply not aware of it yet.
The sinking of the cruise ship is truly a tragic event, and many families will be mourning their lost loved ones for years to come. But it really makes us stop and think. Is it possible that there is another way to live without this kind of suffering? There is of course but it will require us understanding that we must change our ways, and there is no way around this. We must solve the problem Nature has placed before us and move toward building an integral society. Otherwise we will have to work very hard to correct the mistakes we are making today. Our main problem is how we relate to the world. We must learn to accept it as a single, closed entity with very tight ties binding it together. We must recognize that these ties are a result of our reaching the peak of our human development.
Therefore there is only a single solution ahead: learning to live in the new system, rebuilding ourselves from scratch to match that same system, and educating everyone about the new nature of our world. The world has become integral, which means we are all completely and absolutely dependent on one another. We have everything to gain if we succeed in altering our behavior to suit it. On the other hand, if we do not make the necessary changes and retain our ‘each man for himself’ mentality and behavior, then we really have a lot to lose.
Let us finish this with a glimpse of the better side of human potential. In this CNN clip of the Costa Concordia crash, a survivor who helped others get to safety says there were many heroes on board who instead of only thinking about themselves, thought of and acted to help others. There is hope for us after all.