The beginning of the 21st century can be a time of extreme hope and transformation for humanity. Driven in part by economic and political interdependence and largely by the growing recognition of a commonality between all mankind, the states of our world have striven, and must continue to strive, to develop principles of responsibility that are to be upheld by each state, each leader, and each individual in the global community. The regard for human life, and the inalienable rights endowed to each human by virtue of their nature, must hold primacy over all over political and economic concerns. In such a world, the specter of destructive war, the oppressive repression of thought, action, and life, and the exclusion of individuals from the ability to dictate their own choices and shape their world could be a forgotten blemish on the past record of humanity. In a world where each human life is regarded as precious, where the exploitation and destruction of human life for political, economic, or personal gain is seen as so appalling that it must not be accepted, must not go unpunished, the future of humanity will shine brighter than ever before, and the global community will prosper as the full weight of human energy and will acts upon  in a manner never before experienced.

Such visions for humanity are seen as ideological, as unrealistic, and utopian. Even today, we are witnessing the antithesis of this hope: a world paralyzed into inaction as human lives by the thousands are taken daily by the tyrannical decrees of a dictator in Syria, continents exploited by unjust and indifferent corporations and economic interests, societies languishing under and repression of speech, thought, and activity. Today, the world looks bleak, perhaps as bleak as it ever has. Our problems are still numerous, our solutions still limited, our will to enact these solutions almost nonexistent. In such a world, how can any hope for a peaceful future for mankind, any hope for a world of justice and tolerance as opposed to one of ignorance and destruction, hold steady?

Such optimism is not the result of wishful thinking, of a disregard for reality. Yes, the reality of today has manifested itself in the destruction and torment we witness daily across the world. Yet this reality is the product of change in the past, the product of collective actions and decisions which have created the global culture, norms, and circumstances which have enabled such destruction and torment. The world of today is the product of the humans of yesterday. Today, we are the ones who can and who must bring about a world of tomorrow, a world in line with the vision described earlier as opposed to one which accepts and sustains the status quo. Already, the foundation for such a world is in place. Already, institutions which can facilitate understanding and cooperation on a global level exist, yet are severely neglected. Already, laws and customs and regulations which dictate and mandate against the widespread devastation, destruction, oppression, and exploitation are in place, yet are hardly heeded. Already, the ability to disseminate the knowledge of what is needed and why exists, yet has not been utilized to the degree it must. Already, the resources, the will, the capacity necessary to solve the world’s problems and usher in a new era of humanity exist, but are locked away in a system that perpetuates our destructive tendencies to perpetuate the existence of a privileged ruling class.

We must unlock these resources. We must destroy the status quo. The next generation of humans to be born upon this Earth, the next generation of leaders who will inherit the situation and precedents of the past, must break from the traditions which have allowed consistent war and exploitation. They must recognize that the endowment of all mankind with natural rights and liberties, the enfranchisement of all mankind to pursue their talents and contribute their minds to the greater repertoire of human knowledge, thought, and perception, will bring about a world of growth, development, prosperity, and peace completely unknown to the world of our present day and time. This is what is needed for mankind to prosper. This is what is needed for the future. The beginning of the 21st century can be a time of extreme hope and transformation for humanity, but only if the human inhabitants of the 21st century so choose it to be.