The Time is Right?
According to the World Hunger website it is estimated that 870 000 000 people are living with daily malnourishment, most of them in that state because of chronic poverty. The same website estimates that over 7 500 000 people die of starvation each year ~ I'm not sure how they reached this number, but let's assume it's roughly correct. These are people who have lived through horrendous circumstances, desperately hoping for what they need most: for a good harvest, a food parcel, rain for their crops, a safe haven. They died without ever receiving it.
A 2011 report released by the World Bank stated that about 1 500 000 000 people then lived in war zones, their lives blighted by bombs, chemical weapons, land mines, gun fights and all the rest of it. Could we even begin to work out the numbers of those who die whilst praying for peace, who live out their days physically or mentally crippled by all they have seen and lost and, in many cases, perhaps done? Wars whose end, when it finally arrives, is far too late for the benefit of countless millions.
Worldwide, how many live with domestic violence or sexual abuse, whether the latter be in a domestic setting or from sex slave trafficking, or organised rape gangs in wartime? Many try time and again to escape their situations and, whilst some succeed, a great many do not. Many don't even have the chance to try, but must endure day after day, year after year. Freedom either never comes for them, or arrives so late that the damage caused is irreparable.
Moving away from such brutal circumstances, how many people live with agonising illnesses that stunt their lives and opportunities ~ hoping for and seeking help but never finding a cure? How many people have lives of quiet desperation going, to paraphrase Thoreau, to their graves with their songs unsung? People who lay dead on the floor at home, rotting away for months because nobody has noticed their absence so little connection had they to anyone. So small a thing as human warmth and affection, amidst a population of over seven billion, proves too elusive for them and they live out grey lives of loneliness ~ what they most need to uplift their lives never occurring.
Are we to conclude that the time was never "right" for them to receive what they so vitally needed from whatever mystical force dispenses assistance to the middle class mystics of the West? Are the countless people over the last few millennia who have died without ever escaping the dark clouds that overshadowed them to be dismissed as somehow not being ready or in the right state of mind to be liberated from starvation, warfare, plague or brutality? Somehow I just cannot see that.
When people start twittering about the time being right they are, most likely, talking to people living safe lives with small problems which are (from the observer's point of view) at least partially created by the sufferer's own mental state and so resolvable when that person attains a more positive outlook. It's also a genteel way of telling the worried person to shut the fuck up ~ their problems will sort if only they stop moaning about them and just wait (because the person expressing the advice has no intention of helping resolve the problem or any practical ideas about how to sort the problem out, so twiddling thumbs whilst waiting for the Gods/karma/wyrd/ancestors/angels or whoever to sort it, becomes a safe position).
Underpinning this is another issue - who do we actually think will resolve such problems? I don't wish to sound like a down market Dawkins, but the hope for mystical salvation is, I fear, a mistake. I don't doubt that there are occasions when some entity decides to step in and sort out a crisis, but these situations are few and far between. To risk sounding like a bishop now (I'm sliding into Multiple Personality Disorder), I think divine love and compassion expresses itself primarily through mortal love. I was going to say human love, but my innate animism welled up and I remembered that so many species are capable to expressing affection and compassion that the Gods may as easily work through dogs, elephants or whoever takes their fancy. Anyway, back to the point... the social horrors listed at the start of this rant are frequently inflicted by humans on each other. Even where starvation and disease are not caused by humans, they are too often allowed to continue or get worse by governments or individual people who have the means to help but choose not to.
Whilst there is a great deal to be said for independence and learning to overcome one's own problems, it is abundantly clear that we are not islands existing in utter indifference to each other's suffering. Few people expect to be completely carried and reliant upon others, but all of us at some stage in our lives will flounder and find ourselves in need, to some degree, of help. Frequently that's all it is ~ a boost up to get someone back on their feet. The proverbial fishing rod that they can use to find their own food with, but for want of which starvation ensues.
Sitting on your arse waiting for mystic forces to save you is a futile endeavour, but equally refusing to help a fellow human because you expect angels or fairies to turn up and provide the help is an abnegation of our responsibilities to each other. If the Powers That Be are inclined to aid a lost or damaged soul, it is far more likely to be by prodding mortals into being the deus ex machina than it will be by inexplicable chance events falling out the sky to save the benighted.