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HAT Forum - "Living in a Chaotic & Competitive World"

  • The 519, Rm 304 (Check lobby screen to be sure) 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

As of September 1, 2019, which was the 244th day of the year, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S (a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter). In South Africa, a woman is murdered every 3 hours. There are very few or no human rights in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Burma, Libya, Cuba, Somalia…the list goes on. In South America, the Amazon basin, the ‘lungs’ of the planet, is ablaze. Since July of 2019, fire has charred about 2.4 million hectares of Siberian forest. Greenland's ice sheet is the second biggest in the world and 2019’s ice melt has already contributed around half a millimetre to global sea levels. It comes in a summer where the Arctic has experienced "unprecedented" wildfires, which scientists say have been facilitated by high temperatures. In other words, global warming. Some countries are at war, or on the verge of war, like India and Pakistan or Israel and Iran. One in nine people in the world habitually go hungry and as a result, suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Food security may be the biggest threat to the overall health of the human population. We are losing biodiversity (flora and fauna). Many people in the world have no access to education. Clean water is becoming scarce in parts of the world. The newspapers are filled with stories of sexual violence. And now we have a leader like Trump. Closer to home in Toronto, we have issues concerning too many cars on the road, not enough mass transportation to accommodate everyone coming into the city, overcrowding, high rents/housing prices, increasing violence, not enough jobs (the likelihood that millennials or younger generations will have the same job for 30 years like the baby boomers, is highly unlikely), prejudice against Muslims and other groups (including immigrants), more homelessness than ever (more and more people are getting left behind…survival of the fittest seems to be the norm), and so on…It would seem that life is simply unfair.

The above paragraph represents only a portion of all the maladies that affect the world. It would seem that we’re in very bad shape indeed. And on the face of it, the situation appears to be getting worse and worse. So the question becomes, how do you, as a global citizen, deal with all of this? How do you create a life that is meaningful for yourself, that is hopeful and not filled with dread, in light of all these issues that might normally overwhelm any sensitive, sentient being? How do you keep yourself sane and find your peace in an increasingly brutal and insensitive world? And along these lines, because of how chaotic everything is, how competitive life is, how unfair it all seems, do you find that it is difficult, or maybe even impossible, to attain the kind of life you aspire to? For instance, you might feel stressed in trying to 'keep up with the Jones's,' so to speak. You might aspire to own a nice house in the city, or maybe have a wonderful car. Especially in a city as expensive as Toronto, you may end up renting your whole life. Do you feel resentful that certain societal standards of ‘success’ will be unattainable? How does this realization, that you may never have certain things or conversely, that you may never be as successful as you might like because of the way things in life are, affect your ability to lead a good and meaningful life?