We manage to get a billion Euro to reconstruct the Notre Dame in no time, but we cannot manage the same for the most pressing matters of our time. A temple/monument/building versus all sorts of existing coercion, such as war, violence, suppression, genital mutilation, brainwash, hunger, poverty and so on… Is the collective mind of mankind sicker than we think?
Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries says it right: “if we were just as generous to the starving, fleeing and oppressed people as to the Notre Dame, the world would look different. That has also been my objection to religion: the church — the outward appearance — has always been more important than the people themselves…” I know that de Vries is not a fan of religion. I completely agree with the idea that religion often stands in the way of true spirituality and humanity. I agree with religion still coming with many mechanisms that do not serve us anymore. Meanwhile, these organized man-made power structures make it almost impossible for the masses to understand that spirituality is not some floaty concept, or linked to any ways of (dogmatic) living. Luckily, we begin to understand the universal character and necessity of SQ in our daily lives, also in the business world.
Spend the same amount of money on any of the current pressing matters
Even if you do not agree with de Vries’ statement on religion, you have to admit the underlying point. For instance, François-Henri Pinault, husband of actress Salma Hayek, provided 100 million for the reconstruction. But does he provide the same amount of money for starving children, or for child vaccinations for instance? No, I am not a walking guide with a list of global and local charities, but obviously, there are many that solve problems in a sustaining way. No, I don’t know where Pinault’s money is going to. It is none of my business and I couldn’t care beyond this discussion. However, let me ask everyone to spend the same amount of money within a month on any of the current pressing matters we have in the world, a real one… Collective transformation in the world has to be supported by the philanthropists. Examples are Melinda and Bill Gates. Their fund changes the world, including politics. People who take responsibility, the lead even and think and act from a place of higher consciousness.
Gather everyone at the table
Also, what about all the other historical buildings that were and are being destroyed? We don’t hear anything about those? Do we really think that the pain was and is not felt? Don’t get me wrong: I have family that literally lives around the corner of the Notre Dame. That monument has cultural value for generations within my family. I do appreciate the care and involvement of the donors. Only, the donations have to do with goodwill and the likeability-factor. Possibly also with stroking the ego, because how nice is it to attach your name to such a public goal? Unfortunately, goodwill and the likeability-factor usually hold off when it comes to other monuments and thus population groups.
As long as we don’t gather everyone at the table, in other words, as long as we don’t care about all those different buildings and thus population groups and as long as we are not involved in all of each other’s struggles and solutions, our humanity is indeed in a bad position. The shame that I felt for humankind since the burning of the Notre Dame is new. For instance, I felt anger already when I encountered how people in my (working) environment would advocate for diversity. They shouted it from the rooftop, but they truly meant: my group of people comes first. They did not mean: it is time for the grandeur and grace of true diversity, inclusion and unity. After all, words are words, but actions always express what is essentially meant.