Society is the modern world is all its splendor and warts. Society moves slowly to systems reform. But it does change over time. Ideas such as prohibiting slavery, human rights, a drive toward progressive and ever more inclusive circles of who and what matters does have a methodical evolution. Western society is best known for its unique and influential diversity, which gives it its greatest strength. It is no exaggeration to say that all things in creation find their strength and flexibility in diversity. Society, is hopefully a word that one day will encompass not just the many strands of humanity, but also the living systems that are internal and external to the whole of what is human and beyond human.
Modern life has much stress and crisis. But there is no aspect of society from degradation to war that cannot be influenced and even solved, by cooperation being chosen over historically traditional forces, mainly exploitation. Man has come to now through conquest and might. International civilized behavior, freedom for all, comes from cooperation, not just among people, but among all living systems.
Social evolution begins often with the what is considered outrageous. The fervor remains controversial right up until it is considered normal. Eventually that which was regarded as an absolute scandal, such as letting people of color vote, own property and be treated as equals, or allowing women to vote, also, ends up being accepted as common sense. This shows how strange it is that extreme political debate and paralyzation such as has been the case in Washington DC for most of the last ten years, is frustrating, but normal.
Barack Obama is the first president of mixed race. Many people began to call for the "post racial era" as soon as he was sworn into office. Others, realizing the long, arduous and difficult climb to equality that minorities have struggled for over the last two hundred years is not something that will change overnight. In fact, that no one dare mention race directly, but that instead people often accuse Obama as being "non american, non christian, or non respectable" shows that racism still persists. Those who call to "take back our country" must be addressed. Which society are they calling for? The one before civil rights? The one before desegregation? Or perhaps, without realizing it, insecure people wish for "a man's world, as depicted in 'Mad Men', where women are routinely discriminated against, scandalized and treated with a double standard, and sexism is the accepted norm.
Another example of societal progress is that in the modern age people realize there is a quality of life cost to pollution, dirty fuel, addiction to oil and runaway consumption. Prior to the 1970's, and the first Earth Day, however, few people even thought about such ideas as a finite earth, critical habitat destruction and over population. What was called good was all "progress and development". Dominating nature was not seen as exploitation, and respect for cultural values of native peoples who held reverence for nature was seen as backward and primitive. But society today, whether or not being so politically correct is misleading or not, has come to a new normal. Today, even the biggest polluters on earth tout themselves as progressive green guardians of the environment.
A man better known for science may be turned to for people to truly comprehend how society moves. He adivsed for all people, (and all governments by the people)to look to nature to understand everything better. He also explained that to include more and more of all living beings and systems in a circle of compassion is the only way for humanity itself to evolve. He revealed the living Earth as a complex system that sustains all life, and therefore must be protected by the principles of cooperation over exploitation. He foresaw many of the great advances in societal progress and reforms now included in a wider "circle of compassion."
His name was Albert Einstein, and his participation in everything from the splitting of the atom, for better or for worse, to redefining the world's understanding of time, matter and space was crucial. A German Jew who lost everything to the Nazis, Einstein was also a role model for resilience and the importance of humility. He was instrumental is setting a profound example of everything that the best, brightest, non arrogant and admirable that all of society could be.