Seeking the Spiritual: The Century of Common People (Part 1)

I watched a fantastic documentary tonight, for the third time. It’s called FLOW (standing for For Love of Water). The documentary discusses the privatization and pollution of the world’s water, and highlights the growing problem of water shortage, and what we must do to prevent it. I wrote a brief post about this a few months ago, and it’s certainly something I’ll explore more in the future.

But what really caught my attention this time around was a very short quote, from an elderly Indian Gandhian. The venerable man said, shortly and simply, “Twenty-first century is the century of common people.” Now, I apologize if this doesn’t strike you in the same way as it struck me, but this really made me start thinking.

A little interjection here: As far as I can tell, the phrase “century of the common people” is based on a speech given by Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s vice-president, in 1943 on the goal of the Allies in the Second World War. In the speech (which you can find here), Wallace says that the 20th century can and must be the century of the common man, not the century of America. I assume that this is what the Gandhian based his idea for the 21st century on.

I tend to think of the future in pretty optimistic terms, and I think that the world is generally getting better, albeit slowly. But a number of events over the past few years have really called my view into question. As I’ve grown up in the US, I’ve seen a terrible economic crash, horrific terrorist attacks, natural disasters compounded by human error, a plethora of wars, arguably one of the worst presidents this nation has ever had, and a whole host of other terrible things. So it’s been hard over the past few years to convince myself that things are getting better on the whole.

But! There are still many things that make me think positively about the future! And this is one of them.

Now, I can’t claim to know exactly what the gentleman in this film was referring to when he said “the century of common people.” But I can certainly tell you how I interpreted it! This phrase has helped give form to an idea I’ve been having for quite some time now, about the ways in which the world is improving, and that idea is this: Even though there is still great suffering and division in the world today, people are becoming much more willing and able to understand each other, help each other, and grow closer to each other, even with oceans of water, difference, or disagreement between them.

I see much greater understanding between people of different faiths, cultures, beliefs (political, philosophical, religious, or otherwise), and lifestyles looking past their differences in an effort to understand each other more, and this is what the Century of Common People looks like. We’re moving into a time when we can live with and even love the differences in other people, and regard them in a deep and loving way, no matter how dissimilar we may be.

I’ve decided to break up this post into multiple parts, as it’s already becoming fairly lengthy and will keep growing. Check back soon for the sequel!


Filed under People & Society, Seeking the Spiritual

4 responses to “Seeking the Spiritual: The Century of Common People (Part 1)

  1. You’ve taken “Flow” to a new level. Let the light of Love flow around the world. We need young positive minds like you to take over and create a gentle world. Please run for office.

    • Thank you so much! This really means a lot to me. 🙂 I don’t know if I’ll run for office, but I’ll definitely be doing my part to create a brighter and more gentle future.

  2. Hi Conner,
    Appreciated your, parts 1 & 2, and especially your enthusiasm . It seems as if there is a dichotomy between those who are desperately clinging to “business as usual” and those who are tired of “business as usual” and are opening their minds to a new way of thinking globally. Perhaps quantum physics has had an effect as more and more people realize we can’t harm someone else, or live at their expense, without harming our planet and ourselves. Regardless of the reasons, it’s great to see a movement toward love and oneness.

    • Thank you!

      There does seem to be a lot of conflict and division between those groups. Unfortunately, many people still cling to their status quo; it’s simply easier to hold onto what we already know and not have our presuppositions about life and other people challenged.

      But I’m so encouraged that there are also many people (a lot of them around my age!) who are seeing that things can’t continue this way, at least not if we want peace and love in the world. I really do feel that society is moving forward, toward greater oneness.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

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