Thursday, December 22, 2016
Are Peace and Unity Overrated?
These are challenging times, no doubt about it.
I don’t know about you, but times of stress and distress, such as these, lead me, now and then, to just sit back and reassess perspectives. Given how 2016 has turned out, with our horrendous election campaign as a backdrop for almost anything and everything else that has happened this year, I am going back over the premises with which I began 2016 to see if and how they still hold true.
A significant paradigm shift seems to be in the offing. Where shall it take me; from what and where to a different what and where?
In particular I feel drawn to contemplating my commitment to peace and unity and to building these wherever I can. Akin to this theme is my considering, once again, where the necessity for polarization and the upheaval and chaos this can breed fits in.
I have long believed that periods of polarization, inevitable as they are, need, on occasion, to precede true peace and unity, if we as a species are to function at our optimum levels. Such times are essential to the creative process that fosters growth and improvements, serving as balancing agents.
Might I have, however, been off in my thinking that peace and unity should hold such a high priority as they have in my value system?
Have I, in prioritizing these, as I have, overlooked other essentials in how best to run my life?
Have I significantly disregarded viewpoints that are markedly different than mine in my quest for this idealistic state?
In doing so, did I cut myself off from the caring and compassion I might have been more generous in giving had I been heedful of people who are distinctly different than me?
I/we did pay close attention to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. But in doing so were there others, perhaps less vocal, in need that I/we ignored?
These are questions I feel called to consider right now as we head into the holidays in the midst of the divisiveness and polarization that Donald Trump has successfully fomented. Even with the abundance of commentary by wise and thoughtful others that I read, especially those of such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, I still feel mystified and, of course, concerned about where we Americans are now as a country and where we are headed.
One of the things I am going to be closely examining in the weeks ahead is what New Horizons Possible Human, Possible Society study data, to date, can help me see and how best to proceed, now, with it to aid my settling things, currently troubling my mind. Look for updates on our study as we move into 2017. Today we are already beginning this review, as intended after the election regardless of how it would turn out,
Since my final years in under graduate school in the mid-1980s I have been a devotee of Marilyn Ferguson’s Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal And Social Transformation In Our Time which I first read at that time. One of the most helpful pieces of information introduced in that book was the Nobel prize winning work of Ilya Prigogine in the field of chemistry. Since I learned of it, Prigogine’s theory of disipative structures, more than any other theory has provided me with a viable way of viewing times of high stress, such as this year, has been without totally freaking out!
The main point I found useful, to apply to my life and those who I have guided, is the notion that when an organism is overloaded with stimuli it will fragment and then re-organize at a higher level!! We humans are organisms that fit into this theory. And, to the person, we are grossly overloaded! Does this signal that we are now on the brink of personal as well as societal transformation – and not on the “Eve of Destruction” as many fear that we are?
I sure hope so!
“The Morning After,” the theme song from the movie “The Poseidon Adventure” has also been a companion to me in times of volatility such as these. Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, at an earlier time, decades ago, gave me a way to look at monumental societal changes and make some modicum of sense of it all. It did help!
We need astute, well-documented works such as Ferguson’s and Toffler’s to help us attain some worthy meaning of these troubled times. And music such as “The Morning After,” sung by Maureen McGovern, to helps lift our spirits and affirms our hope.
As we head, now, into the spiritually uplifting end of the year holidays of the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, the Hadj and the New Year, I know I am going to be spending some of my time rethinking former perspectives. I know others will be doing similarly. Finding one’s center of gravity and holding onto to it is especially challenging this year with so much divisiveness surrounding us.
I am heading myself into the holiday season with an eye, most of all, to moving through the present upheaval surrounding us on every side. And beyond into next year with some kind of paradigm shift that will help me update the inner map of my body, mind and spirit. I want, at this time, to continue to hold on to my belief in miracles.
I do believe in miracles. Right now I am praying for one or two.