I chanced upon a display of Pulitzer prize winning photography. The collection was generally a collection of images that brought light to human strife in various parts of the world. They told a tale of events that ended up being lethal for millions of humans.
I expected disease, famine and starvation to be lethal. But, I was struck by the most lethal killer of them all – humans. Or, more specifically, “man” – as it nearly always was driven by men.
I know the sample probably wasn’t representative. But, in an age when we’ve solved for issues like disease and hunger at an unprecedented scale, our greatest enemy is ourselves.
Or, perhaps more accurately, the stories we tell ourselves. These stories – of “us” and “them,” of “enemies,” or of the relative perfection of our respective faiths, beliefs and ideologies have been most lethal.
It is easy to brush it away as decisions made by “them.” After all, most of us aren’t on the front lines and aren’t in the rooms that declare war.
But, let that not obscure the fact that we have the power to make an impact. The stories that we tell ourselves, our families and our communities have an effect on our collective consciousness. We can choose to tell stories of oneness or division.
The change needs to start from within.