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Take a Look at the Mirror

By: Julio Barthson

Date Posted: 2000-01-08

Take a look at the mirror; tell me, what do you see? Is it what you think you are, or what you’re supposed to be?”
(Jimmy Cliff)

It is said that the past feeds the present and the present feeds the future. It is also common knowledge that a good and clear understanding of the past can contribute enormously to better shaping the future. This week, as we mark the effective beginning of a New Year, a New Century, and a New Millennium, it seems necessary for all residents of Okinawa and of Japan as a whole – nationals and foreigners alike - to take a retrospective look at the main events that marked 1999. In so doing, we hope that the mistakes of yesterday will not be repeated, that the wounds opened by senseless conflicts could finally heal, and that prosperity would overcome where poverty and other problems prevailed in the past.

For the past years, there has been a feeling at the turn of each new calendar that the future might not always be as bright as advances in science and technology indicated. Several Doomsday cults and their adepts predicted – and are still predicting – an apocalyptic end of the world at anytime sooner than later. Every accident, every conflict among groups or nations, every scientific experiment that went wrong or went too right, every technological glitch, everything that many people found difficult to explain was treated as a sign that the world was coming to an end.

The cloning of sheep in Britain led to fears that better armed mad scientists may try to clone men, hence provoking the wrath of God. That is, if some neurotic dictator just did not simply multiply himself by a million so as to take control of the world. However, the greatest fear of all was that famous bug called Y2K, whose shadow made it appear so monstrously big that it actually cast doubt on humanity’s own ability to survive the electronic beast of its creation. But with the dawn of the 21st Century, and the arrival of true light, the world may have discovered that the Millennium bug was, indeed, just a small insect that could be easily eradicated through the use of human intelligence and good software “insecticide.”

There is a lesson to learn in everything that we as humans have imposed on ourselves in the pursuit of progress and better living standards. First of all, we may strive to attain perfection, but there is only one perfect being - God.

Secondly, if we take a conscious and unbiased look at the mirror, we should all realize that a better world in the future greatly depends on whether we who lived to inaugurate the new Millenium are conscious enough of our universal responsibilities. But then, as the saying goes, nobody knows at sunrise if we will live to see it set; and nobody knows at sunset if we will live to see it rise again. Make the best of your lives this day, this year. Once more, Happy New Year.

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