For several years in a row, I have been writing a column in the Russian Pioneer magazine, which I really like. The magazine is beautiful and interesting and besides you can read it on-line. Each issue is dedicated to a particular topic.

In general, Russian Pioneer is a magazine about pioneers in business and art, in the service and in sports. The magazine publishes columns of Russian journalists, as well as famous people who share their opinions and views on various topics.
The topic of the next issue is Light.
There is always light. Beam of light in darkness. No matter how gloomy it is, it is important to remember that any darkness will eventually bring us light. Dawn will come.
Imagine you are in a dark room. There are no clocks, no lamps either. But you know that the dawn will come, that's for sure! You just need to be patient, wait and look for a way out of this room. Do not worry if despondency seizes you. Know that the longer the darkness, the closer the dawn!

On Earth Day 2022, let us remember that everybody wants to live a happy life. Not only human beings, but animals, birds and insects too. All of us should be concerned about our collective existence. As human beings our marvellous brains provide us with remarkable opportunities to do good, but if we look at how the world is today, we should be able to do better. We need a more holistic education, an education that incorporates inner values, such as a compassionate concern for others’ well-being.

Two years ago, in March 2020, I wrote: “Politicians are mistaken in believing that the world can remain the same. The Covid pandemic has clearly shown that the old world no longer exists, its final destruction is only a matter of time.” I was led to such a sad conclusion by observing how quickly the habitual way of life, mixed with unrestrained consumption and false values, collapsed. And Covid is not as deadly as malaria that takes more lives in a couple of days than a newly appeared virus in a year.

And while some of us froze in horror of the coming incomprehensible changes, the other try to keep the world within the framework of the usual rules and comfortable ideas.
I, like many others during the years of the pandemic, tried to understand: why exactly did we happen to live in an era of change? Moreover, these changes, apparently, affect the entire human civilization.
Not so long ago, I talked about a group of astrophysicists from the University of Rochester. Let me remind you that these scientists are conducting research of a Gaia theory put forward in the seventies of the last century. Without going into details, I will say that this theory proposes to consider the Earth as a physiological system, that is, a living being.
Try not to smile condescendingly. The existence of life on Earth, not to mention its origin, is still a serious mystery to science. A few scientists who have been studying the conditions for the existence and development of the biosphere for many years have come to the firm conclusion that not only we influence the Earth but the Earth itself contributes to the maintenance of life.
Rochester astrophysicists, based on their own research, go even further: they claim that our planet has its own consciousness. As wild as this thought may seem, it suggests the answer to at least one riddle.

A couple of days ago in the news feed, I read that a group of astrophysicists from the University of Rochester put forward a hypothesis that our planet is an intelligent being and has signs of personality.

Scientists took the so-called Gaia hypothesis as the basis of their guess, which was put forward back in 1970 by the British climatologist James Lovelock and the American microbiologist Lynn Margulis. According to this hypothesis, the Earth is a physiological system, and all life on the planet forms Gaia - a huge superorganism with a self-regulation mechanism.
Scientists from the University of Rochester have announced that the Earth is conscious. They are convinced of this by the perfection of the processes of self-regulation of the biosphere, which have developed over billions of years. They believe that this "planetary" superorganism (Earth) also has a mind.
In their opinion, modern human civilization is an immature techno sphere that cannot yet harmoniously interact with the planet. Humans have created systems and technologies that run on fossil fuel energy. However, the anthropogenic factor harms the seas and the Earth's atmosphere also leads to the extinction of species.
I often think of the documentary: Aftermath: Population Zero - The World without Humans, which I watched back in 2008. It made an indelible impression on me. Who is a man on the Earth? Is he just a "parasite" that sooner or later it wants to get rid of?

“The world belongs to those who are happy with it”. I always liked this slogan. They say that it is advertised on Indian buses. I like this approach. And I'm usually happy with the world.

Yes, if you love the world, it will reciprocate. You can, of course, change the way of thinking: condemn neighbours, judge what you don’t know, constantly use the phrase I don’t like: “but if I were in your shoes…” This fuss has nothing to do with life of world.
The last thing I want to teach is how to live. Without any coquetry I will say that sometimes I myself do not know this. Sometimes books written by great writers, philosophical and spiritual works come to the rescue. Sometimes just talking to a smart person is enough.
What I am sure of is that the Higher powers, when you turn to them with pure thoughts, will not leave a person without an answer. Sometimes it may seem that they have forgotten about you, do not respond to prayers, and your soul is discouraged. But this, believe me, is a false feeling.

I read the news today and see that even the air is ringing from the tension between different countries. It is especially unfortunate that the tension is building up on the eve of a big sporting event: the Winter Olympics, which is about to open in Beijing. But Pierre de Coubertin, who revived this wonderful tradition, dreamed that the guns would fall silent and all bloodshed would stop like in ancient Hellas during the Olympic Games.

I am far from thinking that there are too few people of good will on earth, or that the Lord has turned his back on his creatures. But, as they say, he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, and he helps those who help themselves. So, maybe we should try to change ourselves?
According to many scientists, humanity is now in a deep intellectual crisis. And this, admittedly, is a scientifically established fact: as studies have shown, in the past half century, the average intelligence quotient, the notorious IQ, has been declining by seven points from generation to generation. Despite the betterment of nutrition, the availability of education and a general improvement of living conditions.

On these bright Christmas days, maybe just few people would want to remember such gloomy things as the crisis, war and other misfortunes. But, in my opinion, this is the best time to seriously consider our future and what it might turn out to be if we continue to live by inertia. And, may the reader forgive me, I have serious reasons to bring up this issue right now, and remind you far from most pleasant realities of our time.

World Powers Pledge to Stop Spread of Nuclear Weapons made on January 3, gives little hope for mutual understanding. It emphasizes the desire to prevent war between the member states of the nuclear club and adherence to the principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. So, we may relax?
I am afraid it is not the case. The point is not even the regrettable incapacity to negotiate and the habit of changing the rules during the game, which our Western partners have repeatedly demonstrated over the past decades. The pledge concerns only nuclear weapons but what about conventional weaponry, the destructive power of which is now little inferior to missiles with nuclear warheads? The pledge contains general words about avoiding an arms race but it does not say a word about stopping the development of military robots and drones with artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, this development threatens us no less than the danger of a global nuclear war.
More than 50 Nobel laureates recently called for 2% cut to military spending worldwide over the next five years. At the same time, they proposed half the saved money in a UN fund to combat pandemics, the climate crisis, and extreme poverty. A positive response to this initiative would be the best evidence of the commitment of the leaders of the nuclear club to the principles of disarmament and peace in the world. 

On December 10, the world community celebrates Human Rights Day, officially established at the Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly in December 1950. The date was chosen in honour of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This document could become the main and determining one for our whole life. I'll explain why it didn't happen.

In the last decade, Human Rights Day has been held every year under different slogans, such as:
Take a stand for human rights
Don’t be idle, take what is yours
Fight for what is yours
Equality comes with equal rights
Stand and fight together for human rights
Celebrate Human Rights Day every day
Speak up, say what you need to say
Your rights give you a voice, use it.
Raise your voice and take what is yours
Fight, but only for fair and truthful.
Don’t be calm, it is your right.
Encourage human rights, don’t abuse power.
Your voice counts, etc.
The slogan of 2021 is "equality".

I learned with interest that there is a holiday called "Day of the Upside-Down-World", and it is celebrated on November 26th. On “Day of the Upside-Down-World”, all people on our planet are encouraged to look at the world in a new way, to act unexpectedly and look at everything around from the opposite position.

The geographic map of the world, on which all continents are shown upside down, was created by Stuart MacArthur from Melbourne. His first map, as seen by a person living in the southern hemisphere, Stuart drew in 1970, when he was 12 years old. The geography teacher told the boy to redo his homework and draw the proper map if Stuart wanted to pass the exam.
Three years later, while in Japan on a student exchange programme, Stewart became the target of ridicule by his fellow students in the United States, as he came from "the bottom of the world." Then, at the age of 15, Stewart was determined to print a world map with Australia at the top.

I read a lot about how in the spring of 1945 people had the feeling that the Second World War would be the last global massacre in the history of mankind. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the shocked Einstein uttered his famous phrase that the fourth world war would be fought with stones and sticks. Yet people, for the most part, wanted to believe that the peace would last forever.

By the way, then practically no one knew, and even today it is a revelation for many that by May 22, 1945, by order of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Unthinkable plan was developed, which assumed a military conflict between England and the United States with its yesterday's ally - the USSR.
This is how the British politician, who only recently praised the country that "defeated Nazi tyranny", initiated preparations for the third world war. Since then, the development of plans for the destruction of Russia has become a constant occupation of the generals and politicians of NATO countries. Former US Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul also spoke about the need to "curb" Russia some time ago. Why they needed to occupy the foreign lands, neither McFaul nor his colleagues from the bloc countries have explained, but so far, their words often find a grateful audience.

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