WHY FLIGHT 800?

By John McConnell

July 21, 1996

What is the purpose and destiny of human life? This question comes to my mind as I think about the Flight 800 tragedy and try to sort out the monumental problems -- and amazing opportunities! --now facing humanity....you, me and every person on Earth.

The people who are pinnacles of power on our globe seem to spend all their time on the symptoms of our distress -- without any awareness or concern for the basic causes.

As I write I am seated in a small back yard under a large wild cherry tree. In this Queens neighborhood the adjoining back yards have lawns and plants. I hear the caw of a crow and on looking up see a fluffy cloud. It is a beautiful pleasant summer day.

Sounds of a siren and then a jumbo jet passing overhead remind me of the continuing search for wreckage of Flight 800 now going on. How strange so many of the lives consumed in the plane's fiery death were such great examples of what life could and should be. In one case, twenty six outstanding students from a small Pennsylvania town, together in a great venture with inspiration and hope for the future, had their lives snuffed out.

A butterfly passing by reminds me of last night's coverage on TV of the astounding Olympics opening in Atlanta. Here, so soon after the TWA tragedy, were all the countries of the world cooperating, including Iran and Iraq and others who in the past have engaged in terrorist actions. Here in the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. was an outstanding demonstration that the power of the spirit offers a better future than the power of the sword.

What will the future bring? Will civilization, the people on our planet, go the way of Flight 800 or the way of the Olympics? The answer will depend on our attention now to the primary question, "What is the purpose and destiny of human life?" Only if the people of good will -- who are in the majority worldwide -- come together with a common purpose and agenda will we avoid catastrophe on our planet.

To find this needed agreement we must limit the question to "What is the purpose and destiny of human life ON OUR PLANET? While life after death and the ultimate mysteries of life are of great importance, there is little likelihood of agreement on our differing creeds -- except that we can agree to peacefully disagree.

Recognizing the differences that exist in different creeds where they pertain to a future life or to metaphysical mysteries, Pope John Paul II in his book "On the Threshold of Hope" said, "The way to heaven is to pursue peace on Earth." Though it has not yet been appropriately followed up, a real breakthrough in this direction was the encyclical letter, "Pacem in Terris" (Peace on Earth) issued ion 1963 by Pope John XXIII. This unique message to all people of good will was taken to heart by people of all faiths as a basic statement of the rights and responsibilities in the conduct of life and the achievement of peace on Earth.

As we focus on why we are here we will find agreement on what our purpose and future on Earth should be, and seek a general agenda for implementation.

To go further in seeking understanding of where we are and what we should do it is well to look at the perspective science is giving us. While we now know there are billions of stars that may have planets, what we know about the rest of our solar system indicates life may be extremely rare. The amazing web of life that covers our globe is precious. And it now requires our understanding, protection and care.

If humanity is to continue its search for meaning -- meaning in the chaos of the cosmos and meaning in our hearts and minds -- then we must make a quantum leap in our thinking and recognize our future depends on our coming together in a grand peaceful effort that can appeal to all people of good will.

To avoid catastrophe and instead move toward limitless horizons we must seek common ground all can support. We must resurrect the search for meaning, the values it inspires and the actionable knowledge it reveals in our religious faith.

A way to accomplish this is described in the Earth Magna Charta. This sets forth the Earth Trustee vision and agenda and how each person can find a niche that will contribute to its goal: elimination of poverty, pollution and violence with ever increasing meaning, purpose and opportunity.

As this happens the search to understand the purpose and destiny of human life will increase and be reported through every means of communication. The new reality of cyberspace allows individuals the opportunity to contribute and interact apart from the power structures of organized religion, politics and business. Here is a democratic opportunity to end the corruption of power that dominates the world through institutional structures. The information I give on this Web Site I also keep -- and we both have it. With an Earth Trustee world view, sharing good ideas will rapidly spread.

The power of the spirit -- love, good will and rational thinking -- can now replace the power of the sword with its hate, greed, fear and violent deaths. The key to a great future in the information age is to spread the power of love.


To friends and other interested parties. This is a pilot project with great promise. We hope you will help make it work.

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