The Dalai Lama’s Optimism

Today is the Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday, and in honor of that I will post a wonderful paragraph of his from his recent book, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World.

“I am often asked whether I am optimistic for the future of humanity. My simple answer is yes. In the early part of the twentieth century, for example, it was widely believed that the solution to any serious conflict would have to come through the use of force. Happily, this view is no longer widespread. Today, people everywhere are fed up with war and genuinely wish to seek nonviolent ways to resolve differences. Similarly, until quite recently science and spirituality were widely considered to be in compatible, yet today, as advances in science penetrate ever more deeply into the nature of reality, there is growing recognition that these two domains of human endeavor can and in fact do complement one another. While in the recent past not many were aware of the impact of human behavior on the environment, today it is almost universally accepted that we need to be sensitive to the environmental impact of our actions, especially when it comes to economic development. And finally, while nationalism based on strong attachment to one’s own country was a dominant force until quite late in the twentieth century, today, thanks to our increasing interconnectedness owing to communications and mass migration, its appeal is greatly diminished. As a result, the oneness and the interdependence of humanity are increasingly taken for granted. These are some of the reasons for my optimism.” (185ff)

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