Saturday, May 5, 2007

Democracy's last frontier

We do not live in an egalitarian society. The circumstances into which one is born - relative affluence or deprivation - vastly shape the opportunities we have access to, and ultimately to so many qualities of life.

Imagine if this applied to sunshine. What if access was tied to money? That the richer a person was the more they'd enjoy?

As humans there's something universally important about our relationship with sunshine. Anthropologically, it's more than our dependency on this source of heat and light in sustaining our fragile ecosystem. Our personal need for exposure to the sun is embedded deep in our psyche: it nourishes and buoys our spirit.

If access to the sun was dependent on money it would have a devastating impact on one of the most fundamental qualities of life. Societies the world over would be further divided with the 'fortunates' benefiting from contact to a major influencer of happiness; sunshine is a potent environmental element that affects our psychic condition though not a cause of happiness itself (it's a far more complex, multivariate state for that).

Thankfully, each day, money and advantage make no difference to the right to access the sun. Whatever part of the world, country or region one lives in everyone in that place has an opportunity to walk outside and have one's skin or mood warmed by the sun overhead.

It is one of the last few frontiers of democracy. Though we follow different gods, and believe ours affords greater protection than other deities deliver, we all live under the same, single sun.

No comments: