Pine Nuts: That single starfish is us


As we all know, preparation for war begets war, and Russia, with 100,000 troops camping on the Ukrainian border, has taken an increasingly bellicose stand. But wait! E-Sports might come to the rescue. Yes, multiplayer battle video games now have more fans and more participants than the architects of that more deadly sort of warfare. These young gamers have freed themselves from the national prejudice and political rhetoric of their parents. Today’s Russian gamers team up with Ukrainian players to take on other teams comprised of both Russians and Ukrainians. Today’s young gamers are starting to see the planet as it really is…one world.

Yet Russia’s president Putin and Ukraine’s president Zelensky can’t see anything but borders, and so the rhetoric hardens, while simultaneously each side attract allies, yielding a threat of yet a third world war. We have doctors without borders, a climate crisis without borders, and a pandemic without borders, yet Putin threatens Ukraine with weapons that make an ancient plague of frogs look almost friendly.

Today’s gamers might be onto something. They are telling us atavists that we can now work together peaceably to tackle the most serious matters at hand. The “Heads-Down” generation just might actually be the “Heads-Up” generation. Gamers might be the very ones to take a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall of 2022. Saber rattling is so yesterday, and yet sabers are drawn today, and they are made of real steel. But now, let’s turn those sabers into plowshares.

We Americans enjoy dining at a Japanese restaurant, a German restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant. We have no permanent enemies, except weapons of mass destruction.

So do we give in to what Mark Twain told us, “When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear, and life stands explained.” Or, do we insist that we are not all mad, that the mysteries will disappear, and life is salvageable.

Our calling should be higher than party politics, our calling should be higher than national interests, our calling should be to sustaining life on Earth.

Remember the starfish parable, where a young boy tosses a starfish back into the ocean, and an old man asks what difference could it possibly make with so many washing up onto the beach. And the young boy answers, “It made a difference to him.” Well, we are each that young boy or young girl, and that starfish is our future.

Drawing down weapons of mass destruction is tantamount to our tossing that starfish back into the ocean. We can draw down 10% a year until the world armory is reduced to an Earth endearing number, and then, we can finally say, “It made a difference to him.” Because that one starfish, my friend, is us…

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