We are but travellers on a rock
“We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.” R. Buckminster Fuller
This week as we make our way through yet another wave of the pandemic, I am reminded of the words above of the American systems theorist and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller.
A rambling yet distinguished career in the field of science and mathematics (which included the development of the self-supporting geodesic dome), eventually led him to become devoted to "applying the principles of science to solving the problems of humanity".
In short, despite all of his personal accomplishments, he came to recognise that it is not enough to simply excel in life on an individual basis.
For humanity to endure we must come to terms with the fact that we are all in this together and either we thrive together, or we suffer together.
Living on an isolated island that is a mere 20 square miles of rock and sand in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you might assume that we have advantage when it comes to grasping the truth of this statement.
But, in this modern age, perhaps we also tend to indulge in the notion that this is not the case – a mistake that our seafaring ancestors would not have made.
At the mercy of violent storms and cut off from the rest of the planet for weeks at a time, families and communities co-operated in good times and in bad because their very lives depended on it.
For them, life “on de rock” was all they knew – many never even dreamt of travelling beyond the boundaries of their own parish let alone crossing the ocean to distant shores.
Oh, how things have changed.
And let’s hope they continue to change some more, and we reach a new place where we value the beauty and simplicity of our island life as much as all the modern conveniences that we have become so dependent upon.
Let’s also hope that we reach a place where we value the health and friendship of our fellow man more than the vestiges of a self-centred “me first” consumption-driven existence we once knew and find a way to embrace the new opportunities that will be coming our way.
Will this be an easy journey?
Perhaps not but it is a voyage we must take and, like it or not, we must make it together.
For we are but travellers on a rock, in an ocean, on a planet, in the middle of a galaxy that is hurtling through the Milky Way at 1.3 million miles per hour – according to Google that’s about 361 miles per second in case you were wondering.
And since it’s not terribly likely that any of us will get selected to go colonise Mars, wouldn’t it just be easier to start taking better care of this rock and each other?
Robin Trimingham is the chief operating officer of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a virtual presenter, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or firstname.lastname@example.org