by Jerry Alatalo
“Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.”
– ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955) Youth (1932)
Persons paying attention will discover these are amazing days on Earth. If one holds to Einstein’s quote about how one can choose between believing nothing is a miracle or that everything is, depending on which one has chosen, these days are exhibiting more “miraculousness” than experienced in some time.
After listening closely to Pope Francis’ address to the United Nations and his accurate articulation of today’s international condition, the wishful thought came of him and Noam Chomsky getting together with the goal of coming up with good solutions to humanity’s historic and current major challenges.
Then, the impossible idea of those two elderly men, Pope Francis well-studied in things spiritual and Noam Chomsky well-studied in things more material, intellectual and scientific, being joined by John Lennon if he were alive came up. Seeing John Lennon, an artist for all time, unfortunately died at the age of only 40 years old with people basically robbed of experiencing his extraordinarily promising future potential, perhaps a suitable fill-in to complete the “three amigos” would be Peter Gabriel.
Imagine (intended) Pope Francis, Noam Chomsky and Peter Gabriel agreeing to spend as much time as it takes to come up with the best possible solutions for humanity’s greatest challenges. You’d have the person who some believe is the spiritual leader of leaders on Earth, the person who some believe is the world’s most influential intellectual, and, although up for debate, the person who best represents the world’s artists and their one-third of a claim to human evolutionary activism.
Peter Gabriel was one of the forces behind the founding of the Elders, a group of high-level retired political and academic leaders including Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and other elder men and women former heads of state and influential leaders. One of its original members, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, has for years supported universal membership by nations in the Rome Statute and coming under jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Pope Francis, among the direct ideas he conveyed to the United States Congress and the United Nations, talked about the paramount importance of international law and increasing the effectiveness of a global “juridical” framework to keep the peace, and that framework is the International Criminal Court. Mr. Chomsky favors greatly strengthening the ICC, Mr. Gabriel is certainly in the same view, and so that could be one of the solutions agreed upon after the three discuss for as long as it takes.
Peter Gabriel would likely send Kofi Annan in his place for such a “meeting of the minds” if it ever were to occur because he’s the kind of guy who respects elders and the wisdom stored up over long lifetimes. It’s too bad Pete Seeger isn’t still living because him, Noam Chomsky and Pope Francis, to use the title of a Beatles song, certainly could have “worked it out”.
Some of the points and issues put forward by Pope Francis at the United Nations include:
- the role of international finance, “oppressive lending systems”, in practices which abuse developing nations and peoples through usury
- development and promotion of the rule of law, without which damage becomes inflicted to universal fraternity
- the spirit of law itself is all about limitation of power
- negative results occur when individuals or groups consider their power absolute
- international law limits power badly exercised and leading to innocent victims
- juridical norms need to become more effective on the enforcement end of international law
Pope Francis covered the environment, economic and social exclusion, the toll on innocent lives of somewhat impotent resolutions made by leaders who should consider doing “more than assuage our consciences”, the need for humanity to become “consciously conscious”, abolition of nuclear weapons from the Earth, sincere, patient and constant dialogue for the sake of all people, seeing innocent victims of war as human beings and not statistics, among other matters.
He read words used in an address to the United Nations by a previous Pope 50 years ago, and that decades old message, unfortunately, still applies today. A widespread recognition of the sacredness of each human being no matter their status has yet to take root, grow and effectively become the major factor for decision-making at high levels of governments of national and international institutions.
In essence the Pope’s message was spiritual, a direct challenge to leaders for action based on moral principles established in all world religious organizations, and joining together in selfless service with a higher degree of wisdom that rejects any deference to an “all-powerful elite”.
I thought the United Nations address was profound for its revealing of truth at the root of today’s global problems and conditions, for its strong suggestion to facilitate international law with true enforcement tools, and the message of the sacred nature of all men, women and children. Unfortunately, the man felt current conditions on Earth made it necessary to discuss urgent matters with both the America people in the United States Congress and the world’s people at the United Nations.
Although Pope Francis accused no person or nation specifically for wrong-doing and didn’t call for a new investigation of September 11, 2001, overall his addresses delivered serious food for thought about eliminating divisions, service to power and greed over selfless service to others, war, poverty and disrespect of people, the environment and creation. His talks get “two big thumbs up”.
While Pope Francis and Noam Chomsky in their respective styles can speak for long periods on issues of great importance, if John Lennon were still alive his talks would be, let’s say, a little more “concise”. If the “three amigos” imagined earlier of Pope Francis, Noam Chomsky and John Lennon were to happen miraculously or presented in an artsy creative movie, one can see in their mind’s eye John Lennon’s first words to the two men after first sitting down for discussions, instead of an hour-long oration, taking the form of a short question…
“How about peace and love?”…
(Thank you to Beatleboy Jd at YouTube)