Posted by: nmontague | June 8, 2010

Problems facing the world

I didn’t think I would be up so late so I wasn’t expecting to write again until the morning. But I can’t help but notice there are a lot of problems facing the world. We are in an economic downturn. Everyone wants to blame everyone else for it. Political parties want to blame their opponents. Rich want to blame the poor. Poor want to blame the rich. Americans want to blame Europe. Europe wants to blame Americans. Etc.

The truth of the matter is that the blame doesn’t matter. Blaming someone isn’t going to get the guy down the street a new job. Blaming someone isn’t going feed your children. We want to blame someone because we are angry about what we see, but blaming someone isn’t going to eliminate our anger. We need to actually fix the problems.

I wish economic problems were the only things we needed to worry about. But if you are paying attention to what’s going on in Europe, you know it’s not. Civil unrest. Violence. Look at your local neighborhoods. Violence happens all the time. People are caught in thefts and drugs cover our streets. My good friend, Phirun, had his family endangered last week because some people in his neighborhood started shooting each other in front of his house.

And then there are the problems facing our own personal lives. Some of us are in debt up to our eyeballs and don’t know how to we are going to pay the bills. Others may be addicted to drugs or find solace in alcohol in hopes that our problems will disappear. But they don’t we can’t pretend that life great and perfect by avoiding it. Some of us are struggling because those we love are struggling. Maybe a husband is paying more attention to internet pornography than to his wife. Or maybe our children are suffering because they are overweight.

People look to government’s to solve our problem. But how can you rely on governments we can’t trust? I can count on one finger the number of politicians I trust. And honestly, I’m not sure if I’m not being too carefree giving that trust. I mean do we honestly expect someone in Washington, our State capital, or even worse, the UN to be looking out for us? They can spend all the money in the world (and I think they are trying to do just that!) but it’s not going to fix our problems global or personal. The only way our problems will be fixed is if we do it ourselves. We need to learn how to govern ourselves again. And in order to do that we need to build our character through faith and hard work. We need to build the character of our families and friends and everyone we can.

Whether at the global level or at the individual level, the problems our generation and the rising generation faces stem from two major character flaws:

1) Pride

2) Dishonesty

All of the problems I’ve mentioned are symtoms of those two vices. They destroy the foundation of our character. If we want character that will help us overcome these problems and allow us to govern ourselves, we need to develop the virtues of Humility and Honesty. If we build those, other virtues will follow. We will have a firm foundation grounded in reality.

We can pass every law ever imagined. We can empower people to rule over us. We can work hard all our lives, but without those two virtues, the problems will not be fixed. In fact, they will get worse. The more we lie to others and more importantly to ourselves about what we are looking at, the harder it will be to fix everything without serious pain. I know this sad truth from experience.

And unless we are humble enough to do what is necessary to face each of these problems, to reach out to others and make ourselves vulnerable, and recognize we don’t know everything there is, we will continue to live in misery and feel helpless and angry. We can’t learn until we accept that we don’t know everything and do the work necessary to learn it.

I have a dream that some day we will build a society based on honesty, humility, and other virtues. We will be united in our efforts to work together, to lift one another, to truely be free.  Some people may say this naive and will never happen. But you know what? It only takes one person to start it. It takes one person to stand up and start fixing the problems in their own lives by living the time honored and time tested virtues that lead the great men in society to the point we are today.

Society is just a bunch of individuals. Each one who starts on this path helps eliminate alittle corruption from the world. They help eliminate a little dishonesty. They help eliminate a little bit of pride. And we are one step closer. But it comes only when individuals step up and make an effort in their own lives. No program can do it. No law can do it.

Now I am not saying this because I am perfect. I’m not. I don’t think any of us are perfect. But it’s not just the outcome that’s important. It’s the effort to get there. I’m writing because I want to reach out and grow and I hope you will help me and I can help you. We accept each other as imperfect people with higher goals that we are trying to reach with patience and love.

Every great journey begins with a step. Take your first step with me. I don’t know where we will go, but I am confident we will be amazed at what we accomplish.



  1. […] I’ve been pondering the virtue of humility the last few days. In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that pride was one of the greatest problems facing our world.  But what is Pride? The […]

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