The Life Force Within Us

The Life Force Within Us

Worrying about the future of humankind is second nature to me. My maternal grandmother worried about the health and well-being of her offspring every moment of her life so I have the right genes for the job. Professionally, I spent most of my career in the world of finance where I was paid to think about what could go wrong and what can be done to mitigate the risks?

With my background, I have absolutely no doubt that humankind is on the brink of a series of disasters that threaten our species and most other life forms on the planet. We continue to wage war with one another even though modern weapons (nuclear, biological, chemical and cyber) could easily create a series of mass extinction events. We also continue to pollute land, air and water to the point of no return.

Even though I am 72 years old and an 8-year cancer survivor, I do not subscribe to the philosophy that “life’s a bitch and then you die”. I know that I will soon be ashes in an urn labelled “No More Worries” but I believe that the rest of you may still have time to create a better future for humankind.

My optimism comes primarily from the fact human beings have within themselves a powerful innate desire to help others in need.

When I was a young man I used to go to Formula 1 car races in Montreal with my buddies. One Saturday our group was raucously marching toward the subway station to beat the crowds to the track when we passed an elderly lady standing mid-street beside two very large suitcases. She looked confused to the point of distress.

I stopped and asked her if she needed assistance while my gaggle of buddies carried on down the sidewalk.

Grace was her name. Her 84-year-old-husband had suffered a heart-attack on their cruise ship overnight and had been taken to hospital and she had been deposited downtown in the hotel district.

I whistled for help from my friends and we immediately took Grace and her luggage to the nearest hotel and arranged for the day manager to get her checked in and to help her get to the hospital where her husband was being treated.

It was such a small thing but the warm glow I felt from helping Grace has stayed with me for over 40 years.

While people are usually focused on helping family and friends, they will also typically respond to help perfect strangers in an emergency situation, sometimes at great personal risk. They jump into a freezing lake to save a drowning child. They run into a burning building to save somebody they do not know. We might even rush in to save a pet.

I recently became aware of psychological studies that infants as young as 3 months old are attracted to people or stuffed animals that help others. The instinctive desire to help others may not be as powerful as the instincts to survive. reproduce and protect our families, but it sets us apart from less intelligent life forms and will help us become at one with our species if we let it.

I like to think of this powerful desire to help others as the life force within us.  If we dedicate our lives to placing the needs of others above our own desires, I believe that our life force will grow ever stronger allowing us to realize our full potential as intelligent beings.

If this life force is a type of energy, it cannot be destroyed and would survive the death of our bodies.

No world political or religious leader is currently trying to unite humankind. Barring divine intervention, their perpetual efforts to exert power and influence over others will eventually trigger a mistake and probably a series of mass-extinction events.

Since our leaders are letting us down, we the people of Earth need to come together in support of a united world at peace.

Kenneth B. Little

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