Dear friends, cousins, siblings
There is something I need to tell you. I have found it to be a simple but life-changing truth. I don’t know whether you will feel the same, but I hope you will read on with an open heart.
Here’s what I am moved to tell you:
Fear is the reason we are unable to solve our problems.
We all feel it; we all see it. Many of us resist it. Or try to ignore it. And this stops us from moving forward. How to convince an entire civilization to remove the “tinted glasses” they don’t know they are wearing? How to convince you that fear is limiting your capacity to perceive, think, and decide?
Let me try to explain. Please stay with me; keep reading.
Can you recall a time when you got terrified? Really terrified? Can you remember how your perception sharpened? Did you have the urge to defend yourself?
Fear shapes our perception of reality. It shapes our responses and actions. Its purpose is to protect us. But this means it can blind us to things we do not want to see. When fear kicks in, it shapes our thoughts to produce seemingly rational explanations; it infiltrates our thoughts. These explanations support fear’s prime directive: avoid risk, avoid change, find safety.
Fear runs through the DNA of our civilization. It shapes our systems and institutions. If you think about it, they were made to protect us, to increase our chances of avoiding pain, suffering, and death. Our ancestors worked hard to keep our family safe from scarcity and the threats they faced. They did this for us. They taught us this to help us survive, and we are survivors.
Today, our material progress has created abundance on a global level as never before. We do not need to see others as a threat anymore. We can solve most of our existential problems if we put our minds to it. Instead, we keep making the same mistakes: wars, violence, economic injustice, environmental damage, corruption, inequality, intolerance. We keep building tribes and divisions. We polarize our opinions, creating “others” to fight against, others to fear. Collectively we have become paralyzed by fear.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that radical change is possible. We managed to stop traffic and businesses in a matter of days, in unprecedented ways. This time our fear of the virus was greater than our fear of hurting the economy.
Do we need to be terrified to act? Or is there another way?
We need to acknowledge that our individual and collective fears are limiting our power to act. We need to know we are wearing old tinted glasses, which have now lost their original function.
Today is the right day to start. The new civilization we are building doesn’t support a standardized, mass-produced citizen. It supports individuality, tolerance, inclusion, interdependence, equality of opportunity for every human being. It provides the safety we need to live without fear.
Can you remember your first love? Did you feel like time stopped? As if you were in a bubble, where you and your loved one were the only ones that mattered? Do you remember how you would do anything for the one you loved?
Yes, that’s the answer to our prayers and wishes: a more just world, with more peace and less suffering. With less fear, we make space for more freedom, more peace, more love.
Change happens even if we resist it. Sooner or later, the dam fails, and the water flows.
Sisters, brothers, let’s live with the freedom that comes when we no longer fear. Let’s rebuild the systems that support our communities and nations to support life, not to earn the privilege of being superior to others.
Fear turns us against each other. Love brings us back into community.
We can all be equally satisfied, protected, and nurtured.
Fear paralyzes us when we most need to act. Let’s trust in each other, in the abundance of life. Let’s become the best version of ourselves.
That is what I have come to understand.
Do you feel anything like this too?
Can you step outside fear and into trust?
Will you join me in building this new civilization?
Edited and embellished by
Designed and illustrated by
I wish this article brings you hope, that there is something we can start doing to be more free. It is about finding our fears, understanding how they affect us, and learning to deconstruct them. Please share this letter, make it yours, send it to anyone that might like it:
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