Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
A police officer fatally shoots a mentally ill black man who is “acting erratically”.
Another police officer is shot dead, execution style, while sitting in his idling cruiser.
Twitter users gang up to troll people they consider their cultural opponents and try to drive them out of social media altogether. And they get plenty of help from a proliferation of programmed Twitter “bots” which mimic human speech and interaction so well that they elicit thanks and praise from the real people who thought they were their living, breathing allies.
Politicians announce that they’d like to deport certain types of people, control the movement of others, and build walls to keep others out, and a significant percentage of the populace sings their praises and lines up to vote for them. The opposition responds by clogging airports with demonstrations, filing lawsuits, and creating sanctuary cities where “illegals” can reside without fear of deportation.
Radicalized young men walk into nightclubs in Paris, France and Orlando, Florida and open fire, killing tens of people just enjoying a night out. Or they drive vehicles into crowds of pedestrians just trying to get from Point A to Point B.
At every turn, it seems our modern world is fracturing into a million disjointed pieces, with battling factions at each other’s throats. We’re divided by politics, race, religion, class, values, gender, and every other conceivable way we identify ourselves. As reassuring as our factions are, they don’t seem to be helping. If anything, they’re hurting.
Wouldn’t it be much better, if we overcame our separation, if we turned away from our schisms, our contrast-and-compare approach to life, and came together as one? John Lennon promised us it would happen, if we could just imagine… and put our divisions behind us. Not far from the ashes of the bombed out Bataclan nightclub, a French pianist set up a grand piano club and playing “Imagine”. He was surrounded by hundreds who joined him in his song of hope.