Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom

by Project Interfaith Community Mosaic Video Project Coordinator, Sierra Pirigyi

‘Tis the season for giving. For many people, this means giving to the charities, causes and non-profit organizations that one supports. This holiday season, you can make a difference in the world by helping to grow understanding, respect, and relationships among people of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures by making a contribution to Project Interfaith.

Why give to Project Interfaith? Why not instead give to your local food bank, or to an organization that helps refugees in a war-torn nation? While these are no doubt worthy causes, they are all symptoms of something larger. Hunger, war, poverty and human suffering are all effects of a world without understanding, mutual respect, and real relationships.

Any health care practitioner would agree that the most important steps one can take to improve his or her health are preventative, not curative. Curative health care treats symptoms—the effects that have already resulted from poor health and poor health habits. Health care should instead focus on prevention, by changing the causes that are contributing to poor health and thus resulting in disease, and integrating the steps that will grow a happy, healthy, fully-functioning human being.

Changing the world works much in the same way. We must take a step back, focusing not on the symptoms of this broken world, but instead on the causes—the things that have lead us to a world full of poverty, strife, and inequality. The true way to improve the world is to change the way the world works in the first place, not just to deal with symptoms. You can take medication for your high cholesterol, or you can change your diet. You can endure radiation therapy for your lung cancer, or you can quit smoking. You can create a plan for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine, or you can look at the root causes for this, among many, religious conflicts throughout the world—a lack of understanding, respect, and relationships among the various faiths, beliefs, and cultures.

The time is now, and it’s not too late. We can change the course of this planet. We can live in a world of peace and harmony, where each individual is free to live, believe, and practice those beliefs however he or she chooses. We can put an end to the religious conflict and intolerance throughout the world. We can do so by treating the root causes that have resulted in the unhealthy world we live in today. The lack of understanding that results in misconceptions. The lack of respect that results in the dehumanization of people throughout the world. The lack of relationships that helps perpetuate myths and stereotypes. In this ever-increasingly connected world, where we are ever-increasingly coming into contact with those who are different from ourselves, the work of Project Interfaith has never been more important. We can grow a happy, healthy, fully-functioning world. We simply need to start integrating the steps that will result in one.

Sierra is currently a Liberal Arts major at Metropolitan Community College. She plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska Omaha next fall, to complete her Bachelor's degree in International Studies with a Specialization in International Non-Profit.

Sierra began interning with Project Interfaith in February 2010, assisting in various fields until discovering her passion for programming. Although currently undecided about her exact career plans, Sierra intends to continue working in the non-profit field, hoping someday to do humanitarian work with children and youth. Her regional interests lie primarily within Latin America and the Middle East.

No comments: