The premiere of COSMOS with Neil deGrasse Tyson (First aired on FOX March 9, 2014) really got my brain cells clicking. Phenomenal cinematography aside, it was the story of Giordano Bruno that impacted me the most. In a time where the entire world was convinced the Sun revolved around the Earth, Bruno wrote about a crazy idea he had of an Infinite Universe where the Earth revolved around the Sun. He was suggesting we were not really the center of the Universe. The society of the day vehemently disagreed and was frightened by his theories. It eventually led to his imprisonment for eight years and ultimately his execution.
There have been a great many monumental mental shifts throughout history by the great and like-minded thinkers of our species. It’s impossible to list them all. Galileo, Copernicus, De Vinci, Confucius, Aristotle, Marie Curie, Bell, Margaret Mead, Einstein, Gandhi, Steve Jobs (think about it), the list goes on. These great thinkers or “Change Agents” stood against the fearful establishments of their day. They effected change for our species despite the risks, hardships and even certain death to pull the rest of us one rung up the growth ladder.
In our world today, technology is taking us to places we couldn’t reach before. The world and all of its cultures are available at our fingertips. We are now able to better understand each other. It opens our minds to new possibilities only knowledge and fresh understanding can promote. Does this mean we are on a verge of the next great mental shift? I believe it does.
What do I mean by “mental shift”? Let’s go back to Bruno. He and other like-minded individuals refused to believe society’s view that the Sun revolved around the Earth. The old point of view seems silly to our modern, science-based knowledge. Back then it was gospel. A more current example: our ability to send large amounts of data (text, picture, voice) around the world through tiny fibers in a matter of seconds (Depending on your internet provider).
Changes in Scientific Theory – While some well-known scientists still are holding firm, String Theory has been called into question by others. Alternate lines of research are starting to sprout up like Biocentrism, Dr. Lanza’s concept which suggests Biology should replace Physics in foundational science. According to his book, this new concept leans toward supporting the beliefs of the Eastern Religions. I’m reading the book now. It has some thought altering ideas.
Speaking of Religion – The world has become a smaller place. People from distant lands with different religious beliefs and philosophies have moved into towns half a world away. They share with the locals, giving Miss Small Town an opportunity to choose a different belief system which may fit her personal outlook. Hatred of “those people” who believe differently than the locals in the small town, diminishes. These strangers aren’t strangers anymore. They’re neighbors who just happen to worship differently. We learn tolerance for the sake of harmony.
I think one of the finest examples of a modern day Change Agent is constantly in the news. There has been a major mental shift for a centuries old religion, one I’d never thought to see in my lifetime. This mental shift has been brought about by one man, Pope Francis. He’s loved by those who don’t classify themselves as part of his religion. He frustrates and worries those who, I believe, view him as the supreme head of the church. Can he bring about a mental shift for the largest and most powerful Christian Church in the world? I have hope he can.
Final Thoughts: Our world is a place of infinite possibilities. Attitudes are shifting. Friends that were once enemies share ideas. The plight of faraway places have become real to the average person. That person has the ability to effect change for those in a distant land with the click of a mouse.
Chaos often foreshadows change. Leaders entrenched in the old ways, fight against the new to continue their way of life. Storms of conflict blanket nations, organizations and cities. Growing pains are inevitable when we develop as a species, but it’s time to explore with the new tools and awareness we’ve been given. If we look past the storm clouds, we see a horizon full of hope.