Modern noise, TV, media, music, thoughts… Where is my head? Where is my heart?
The two men came walking across the wide promenade in the last rays of afternoon sunlight. Smartly dressed and good looking, they could have been well-to-do friends on a long-weekend getaway. One of them approached the dustbin close to where I was sitting, with my shoulder bag parked next to me on the bench. As he pulled out a paper from his pocket some keys fell on the ground, and he kneeled fumbling for them while I stretched forward to help. Moments later, with his keys in hand he turned and went calmly away…
I don’t think that more than ten or fifteen seconds could have passed when I turned to look down the other side of the promenade and noticed, with not a little sudden panic and disbelief, that my fancy brand-name black leather bag, with a brand new Apple Mac computer, unopened software, and glasses, was gone.
A few days have passed, and after first running around breathlessly in the back streets looking for the thieves, then spending several hours at the police station reporting, then trying to identify the culprits from mug shots, I have now settled into – or am trying to settle into – a more philosophical way of thinking about the event.
After the initial “This can’t happen to me!!!”, and then “Why me???” and then, yeah, “it happened to me…”, then the self-accusing and the guilt of being an idiot falling for such a scam, and then talking it over (the police were very helpful), I realized that these thieves were professionals. It probably started earlier, in the café where I was sitting working on the computer, and charging my phone, when a well-dressed young woman walked out shortly before I left. She was about the same age as the two young men (mid-thirties), and had been sitting across from me, alone, and not doing much of anything (no book, newspaper, phone). Apparently this is the drill: identify the target, follow him/her, create a distraction, get the bag and disappear. And according to the police, it’s quite successful.
Why do I bring this up in my blog on Energy, Economy, Ecology, and Humanity?
Well, yes, it’s first on the part about Humanity. Do I have a right to blame this professional liga who are very good at what they do? Maybe, maybe not.
According to police, the groups originate in countries where poverty is widespread. Why is poverty widespread? According to Oxfam, the British charity, there are 85 individuals who together own more than 3,500,000,000 of the other individuals on the planet – half the worlds population. Gives me something to think about.
We need to think about poverty when we think about Energy, Economy, and Ecology, and equally so, we need to think about income inequality, considered the greatest challenge of our time by no less than the super wealthy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in 2014. Should I be grateful for contributing towards a more equal wealth distribution? No, I won’t go that far, but I was certainly given a lesson, close-up and powerful, on what the possible widespread consequences can be of continued ignorance about unequal wealth distribution.
It also occurred to me what can happen in ten or fifteen seconds of distraction. I have insurance, and Macs have a great backup system, but I could have lost all my work, and been in serious trouble for quite some time, which I’m lucky not to be, at all. And I wasn’t mugged, beaten, knocked down, or otherwise harmed, except possibly my pride…
I was distracted for ten or fifteen seconds…
Most of us in the modern world live in a state of almost constant distraction, while “805 million people – or one in nine people in the world – do not have enough to eat.”.
Energy, Economy, and Ecology, is all about Humanity! Isn’t it time to get our heads, hands, and hearts together, mindful of what we really want to do with our lives, our planet, and our future?
P.S. And that, by the way, is what Sacred Valley Dialogues is all about…