The older I get, the more thankful I am on each and every Thanksgiving. On this day, I am thankful for all the wonderful things in my life and the blessings I have been provided with, but there is something else I am thankful for. Something that everyone should be thankful for since it presents such great opportunity.
Each and every one of us faces very different circumstances and challenges on this day, but pretty much everyone reading this shares one very special thing with one another – a tremendous opportunity to change the world together. While I firmly believe that we are at a huge crossroads politically, socially and economically as a nation, I believe we are at an even greater crossroads as a species. Back in my college days, I felt that things could never sustainably change on a planet level for the better without a change in consciousness. Back then, I cynically couldn’t see how such a consciousness shift could happen in my lifetime, but then a few years ago a strange thing happened. I started noticing a shift in consciousness within myself and within many of the people around me. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but I think the internet played a huge role. This awakening sends shivers down the spine of the power structure, but should be cheered to the heavens by the rest of us.
I firmly believe Gandhi’s statement “be the change that you want to see in the world” applies now more than ever. One thousand years ago, most people couldn’t read, had almost zero access to any knowledge, and the most contact they would have with the world beyond themselves might be an occasional visit from a neighboring village or some army rolling in to invade. Think about what prior generations would have given to have had the tremendous opportunity that we have with the internet.
I was already a huge optimist in the ultimate outcome of all of this before I joined Twitter, but believe it or not, this social media network has made me twice as optimistic. I only joined this service in May, but I believe it to be one of the most powerful and effective tools of humanity’s advancement I have seen. To witness first hand a Jewish hacker interact and aid a Muslim activist trying to avoid the censorship of his oppressive regime live on my stream was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. These sorts of things are happening on various levels every second of every day. Twitter, social media and the internet generally allows humans for the first time in recorded history to reach out to people tens of thousands of miles away, in countries we know nothing about and in many cases are told to hate, and say “hey brother, you are not my enemy and despite our respective government’s attempts to manipulate us into hating each other, I do not hate you.” As soon as we all learn to do this on a wider scale, the world will fundamentally change for the better. For this opportunity, I am extremely thankful and I hope you all are as well.
I want to conclude with the words of Tecumseh:
Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time
to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
(1768-1813) Shawnee Chief
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With warmth, peace and love on this Thanksgiving Day,