The Digital Journalist
May 2007

by Beverly Spicer

We are hearing a lot lately about U-Turns, 180-degree shifts, tipping points and critical mass. Traditional thought suggests all it takes is 51% to change the world. But in a world where power is concentrated, it evidently takes more than a simple majority. In fact, with political manipulation almost a perfect science, a tiny minority can have its way with the whole world, as we are seeing with multiple players from many angles. Some are wearing black hats and some are wearing white hats, and it's hard to tell who is who as each tries to prevail. What we are witnessing now is not so much a "struggle against global extremism" but a struggle of global extremism -- many powerful, extreme minorities vying for control of a world that is rapidly becoming so interdependent as to be inextricably an entity of one.

In a globally conscious, symbiotic world that has been divided, redefined, and then becomes one, who will lead? Who will have the final say-so? Will it be one or will it be the many? This outcome has yet to be determined, the forging of which will produce many dramatic situations and events, as we are already witnessing. Because of the ferocious struggle involved in this process, the trickle-down effect is massive transformation on all levels for all beings, and it can go either way. For instance, look at the transformation that has taken place in the city of Dubai in just a few short years. Click on the photo below for a PowerPoint presentation about this amazing city in the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula.

I recently had the pleasure of being in the presence of Tenzin Gyatzo, The 14th Dalai Lama, who is both head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet. Paradoxically, this soft-spoken man often appears before the public on a stage designed for a rock star. Those expecting a rock performance will not have their expectations fulfilled, but I found his uncomplicated charm utterly fascinating. His quiet presence, genuine laughter and view that happiness is the birthright of humanity are heartwarming. He teaches a simple message of compassion and a religion only of kindness. Until January of 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was the most prominent voice in the world for non-violence and peace. The Dalai Lama embodies what Gandhi articulated but he focuses on the ease of suffering in a world of violent upheaval and rapid change.

To this end, many forces that seem to oppose one another are being brought together in a chance to transform themselves, but rarely do we hear emanating from them what sounds elegant, simple and true. In such cacophonous times, the Dalai Lama speaks to the heart, clearly audible like a pin dropping in a quiet room.

The plight of Tibet that transformed the once-sequestered Dalai Lama into a public figure and aroused the compassion of the world is no different from the plight of all refugees or exiled individuals, groups or populations everywhere throughout history. The powerful dominate the helpless, tribal cultures battle and consume each other, borders are created, destroyed, then created again. All religions teach a version of the Golden Rule. They also teach that to save a life saves the world and that one person's suffering is the suffering of all. With alleged cataclysmic earth changes upon us, we as a species could literally lose the hospitality of our home, the earth itself. These beautiful photos from NASA remind us of what is at stake. Click to enter a gallery of earth photos that are stunning.

The law of entropy states that a system under stress tends to get more and more disorganized until it eventually ceases to exist. Sometimes, however, there comes a breaking or tipping point, when a critical mass is reached, where instead a U-turn, a 180-degree shift or a total transformation is possible. When that occurs, the system reorganizes itself on a completely new level. With the earth and all of her inhabitants under stress, the word is that we still have a choice whether to transform or not.

"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." ~ Albert Einstein

"We must become the change we want to see in the world." ~ Gandhi

“If you think small things don't make a difference, try spending the night in a room with a mosquito." ~ The Dalai Lama

Let's hope we all make the right choices, no matter how big or how small.

© Beverly Spicer

Beverly Spicer is a writer, photojournalist, and cartoonist, who faithfully chronicled The International Photo Congresses in Rockport, Maine, from 1987 to 1991. Her book, THE KA'BAH: RHYTHMS OF CULTURE, FAITH AND PHYSIOLOGY, was published in 2003 by University Press of America. She lives in Austin.