The Knowledge Tree
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
Small voices in collective unison

America at a Crossroads...

America is currently at a crossroads. It has recently been battered by forest fires and devastating hurricanes. A large percentage of our workforce is suddenly at the mercies of job displacement due to globalization and the short-term profit motives behind offshoring. Our economy and our financial markets have seemingly been built on a house of cards and their shaky foundations are unraveling…

The world is running out of oil. We are on the downward spiral of Hubbert’s Peak Oil Curve first predicted in the 50s and confirmed in the 70s. Much of the future geopolitical maneuvering will revolve around this. Sadly, we are now — and will be even more so soon enough — fighting over the "last piece of the pie". Creative new ways to equitably power our planet are long overdue.

Arctic ice sheets disappearing… ecological disasters on an unprecedented scale looming on the horizon… the inconvenient truth of global warming at our doorstep… All part of the troublesome legacy we have handed our children.

We all, as individuals, must engage in "hard, solid thinking" and research the aftermath of exploitation the United States has engaged in through the years — not only in the oil-rich Middle East — but in the Philippines, in Central America and elsewhere. We must understand the consequences of failing to adequately engage and respect other cultures. We must understand the consequences of exploiting their resources and be prepared to face the inevitable "Blowback" that will occur. "Might is not right" in any language.

The "Ugly American" has reared its head for far too long overseas and in many ways has set loose a volley of repercussions that we are only beginning to fathom. No longer viewed as a shining beacon of freedom, American's legacy of exploitation and assimilation now overshadows the democratic ideals it preaches to the world.

Critical thinking

Troubles in the world are no longer just viewed on the evening news, but in living color on the streets where your children play. Heeding Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, "one must avoid the universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions". Social and economic change must come from all of us to be effective.

The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dealing with complex issues means comprehensive research and well-thought solutions. Clever sound bites and shallow knee-jerk responses fashionable these days serve no useful purpose but to fan the flames of discontent. Critical thinking and understanding diverse viewpoints involve breaking the pattern of "running with the pack".

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sadly — more and more these days — Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words seem prophetic. Politics and the news media have, by their strident bickering, demonized the individualist who dares cross fences or truly think and act "outside the box." But now, more than ever, each one of us must be willing to speak out when called, dig deeper and "question by default." Change — albeit seemingly glacially slow at times — can happen but begins within each one of us. Small voices in collective unison can and will be heard over the clamor and din of the noisy hatred of a few…

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

This essay was based on a speech/testimonial I gave on Martin Luther King Day at my local church. Surprisingly, with only a few minor additions, it lent itself quite aptly as another way to link to the various interactive narratives in the Knowledge Tree.