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When will we come to it?

In 1995, Maya Angelou delivered her poem, “A Brave and Startling Truth” at the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (

Over a quarter of a century has passed since, and one cannot help but wonder if we are any closer coming to it than we were 25 years ago. Her heartfelt and brutally honest plea for humanity to learn that truth is also full of hopeful optimism that we will, someday, be able to live in unity and harmony on our “minuscule and kithless globe”, our “mote of matter”. 

This reference to Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot” (photo taken of the Earth by Voyager 1 in 1990, when it was about 6 billion kilometres away), is a stark reminder of our place in the universe: “a mote of dust in a sunbeam”. That is our reality, and we need to recognise and embrace this “mote” as our one and only home, for we all share this home, and all the wars, quarrels, and disputes are petty in the greater scheme of this brave and startling truth: that all our seeming differences are insignificant when placed in the context of our precious humanity on our pale blue dot.

“a mote of dust in a sunbeam…”

(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It is very tempting to say that we are no closer coming to that brave and startling truth than we were a quarter of a century ago. Or if that we will ever come to it. History seems to want to insistently repeat itself.

Is it naive to hope that humanity will learn this truth and make the necessary changes to live as one? 

A paradigm shift is at hand – for we need to embrace the truth of our collective humanity rather than fight over our differences – and perhaps then, and only then, can we become “the possible”, “the miraculous”, and “the true wonder of this world”.


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