If the world were a village of 100 people

I’m probably going to get in trouble for this. I’m breaching copy-right laws but I read this wee book on my self-given coffee break this morning (because I just can’t work as hard as my Japanese counterparts) and it affected me big time. The fact that it was written 14 years ago but still applies most specifically today, for me, holds significance. I hope you too, can enjoy it’s eye-opening message.

beauty

If a the world were a village of 100 people 
by Douglas Lummis 

My daughter’s junior high school teacher is
a wonderful woman who sends out an e-mail
every day to her students,
in the form of a class paper.
Among those messages there was one
that so moved me that I want to send it to you.
Sorry if it’s a bit long.

When you woke this morning,
did you look forward joyously to the day?
When you go to bed tonight,
do you think you will be filled
with satisfaction?
Do you think the place you are
is precious?

It is to you who cannot say
“Yes, of course”
that I send this message.
If you read this,
the things around you might start to
look a little different.

In the world today, 6 billion 300 million people live.
If this were shrunk to the size of a village,
what would it look like?
If 100 people lived in this village,

52 would be women,
48 would be men.

30 would be children,
70 would be adults,
among those,
7 would be aged.

90 would be heterosexual,
10 would be gay or lesbian.

70 would be non-white,
30 would be white.

61 would be Asians,
13 Africans,
13 from North and South America,
12 Europeans,
and the remaining one
from the South Pacific.

33 would be Christians,
19 believers in Islam,
13 would be Hindus, and
6 would follow Buddhist teaching.
5 would believe that
there are spirits in the trees and rocks
and in all of nature.
24 would believe in other religions,
or would believe in no religion.

17 would speak Chinese,
9 English,
8 Hindi and Urdu,
6 Spanish,
6 Russian, and
4 would speak Arabic.
That would account for half the village.
The other half would speak Bengal, Portuguse,
Indonesian, Japanese, German, French
or some other languages.

In such a village, with so many sorts of folks,
it would be very important to
learn to understand people different from yourself,
and to accept others as they are.

But consider this of the 100 people in this village, 

20 are undernourished,
1 is dying of starvation, while
15 are overweight.

Of the wealth of this village,
6 people own 59%
-all of them from the United States-
74 people own 39%, and
20 people share the remaining 2%.

Of the energy of this village,
20 people consume 80%, and
80 people share the remaining 20%.

75 people have some supply of food and a place to
shelter them from the wind and the rain, but
25 do not. 17 have no clean, safe water to drink.

If you have money in the bank,
money in your wallet and 
spare change somewhere 
around the house, 
you are among the richest 8. 

If you have  a car,
you are among the richest 7. 

Among the villagers
1 has a college education.
2 have computers.
14 cannot read.

If you can speak and act
according to your faith and your conscience
without harassment, imprisonment,
torture or death, 
then you are more fortunate than
48, who can not. 

If you do not live in fear of death
by bombardment, armed attack,
landmines,
or of rape or kidnapping by
armed groups,
then you are more fortunate than
20, who do.

In one year,
1 person in the village will die,
but, in the same year,
2 babies will be born,
so that at the year’s end,
the number of villagers
will be 101.

If you can read this e-mail,
that means you are thrice-blessed.
First, because someone thought of you,
and sent you this message.
Second, because you are able to read.

Third, and most important,
because you are alive.

Someone once said:
what you send out
comes back again.

So sing
from the bottom of your heart,
dance
with your body waving free,
and live,
putting your soul into it.
And when you love,
love as though you have never been wounded,
even if you have.

And love the fact that
you, and
others, live
here, in this
village.

Perhaps,
if enough of us learn to love our village
it may yet be possible to save it from the
violence that is
tearing it
apart.

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