As a species we face the need for a major transition. Will it happen by design or default? And if by design, whose?

An article carried on the AP recently has the statement: “…the United States and Japan are expected to agree to changes in the joint defense posture this week as the two nations confront rising threats from North Korea and increasing aggressiveness from China.” These kinds of statements in the news are nothing new. It is common for news reports these days to be about the threats and violence one country, or faction within a country, are inflicting upon another. It is so common that I imagine many adults who were born in the 1990s just take it for granted that this is the inescapable way of the world. It isn’t.

I also know that gratefully there are many people in the world, people of all ages, who have a different vision for the world. One in which headlines can read something like: “A cooperative international effort has eradicated hunger in 99.5% of the world’s population and is expected to have completely eradicated it within another year.” Or “International efforts in education and health care have resulted in greatly improved educational and medical treatment options throughout the world.” Wouldn’t that be nice?

I can remember the world during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy. The optimism, the dreams, the good will being expressed on the international stage. Of course, as we know, people enamored of threats and violence killed President Kennedy and effectively turned that optimistic trend around to express what they knew. Toward what they envisioned as the future of the world. And now we’re experiencing their dreams of threats and violence playing out in the world. The world which is our home. Is this any way to run a household? No, it isn’t. Not if a healthy, thriving, worldwide population is the goal. However, a healthy, thriving worldwide population evidently isn’t the goal. At least not among the money/power “elite” that are pulling the economic, political strings in the world. It is apparently their desire to establish a worldwide political/economic system which is essentially a return to something more closely resembling the medieval feudal system.

The above pyramid roughly illustrate the composition of the 21st century feudal system that is being engineered into existence. It is not absolute in it’s designations. For instance, many Presidents, Prime Ministers, and other national heads of state fall in the category of “Lords” rather than being part of the actual international ruling/governing body. And some with a high level of a particular skill which is needed by the ruling body may find themselves at least honorary members of the “Lords”.

The following illustration roughly provides a reference point for how the wealth, which is largely manufactured, mined or otherwise produced by the Peasants and Serfs, is ultimately currently being distributed. The ongoing increase in automated systems which perform labor previously performed by human workers calls to question the need for as large a general population as historically been needed.

Largely by manipulations within the educational, media and entertainment systems, the King and Lords have managed to convince the general public that such an inequitable distribution of wealth is right and proper. This is no small feat considering all the wealth has either been provided by either the natural composition of the Earth itself or the labor of the Peasants/Serfs. Often it is a combination of these things combined.

One inescapable problem with this system (among many) is that people tend to look enviously, lustfully upon the wealth of others. Possibly the money/power elite behind current events believe that by consolidating world rule under one ruling body, as opposed to many fiefdoms which existed during the medieval times that they will have effectively prevented any serious challenges to their position. However, when there is such a disproportionate distribution of wealth taking place we may be certain that there are persons with resources whose egos, whose greed, will not allow them to accept such conditions. This ensures that there will be wars, uprisings, revolutions and the like. Which simultaneously ensures that the conditions which prevent human beings from more fully discovering their innate gifts and abilities will continue to plague humanity. Too much stress and repeated trauma are not conducive to positive, holistic, human development.

So, do we have any options? Yes we do if we work together. We desperately need to largely replace competition with cooperation. Cooperation between individuals, groups, professions, businesses, nations, and with the Earth itself. Humankind has ample stress/challenge placed upon us simply by existing upon this Earth at all (yes, a certain amount of stress is healthy/needed.) We do not need to be continually creating lethal amounts by our own actions.

I love the following illustration. I’ve used it a lot in my blog articled because it sums it up so graphically. It beautifully illustrates for us all we need to do to maximize our potential both as individuals and as a species. To work together so beautifully will, of course, take work. It will require that we sincerely and diligently work to overcome our prejudices, misunderstandings, relatively trivial and not so trivial differences. Impossible? Not at all. If we want it, really want it, and are willing to work for it, we can have it. Might it be hard? Yes, at times it might be. However, it couldn’t possibly take any more work and resources than we currently devote to violence, killing, war. Ultimately it very well may be our only long term option as a species. We are currently in possessions of the weaponry and delivery means to wipe ourselves from our Earthly existence. To think such a potential exists but that some crazed authoritarian head of state or rogue military officer would never actually employ it is, I think, naive. We very much need to curb our intolerance, judgementalism, and other ego driven constructs which separate us and pit us against one another. We very much need to realize our interdependence, our interconnectedness and begin enjoying all blessings which lie in wait for us when we do.

Principles or Personalities?

Books, magazines, radio, television, computers, they all have, to a greater or lesser extent, contributed to the phenomena of masses of people becoming enamored with a personality which they have been exposed to via that medium. In the past, in the days in which books, magazines and then radio were the primary media, authors and radio personalities might become famous, even loved, for their contributions. However, the advent of movies, television, and now computers and cell phones has exponentially increased the phenomenon of “consumers” not only liking, or loving, but idolizing the personalities whose faces and words fill these media.

In doing a computer search on the definition of “idolize”, the following definition, attributed to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition. came up on “Wordnik”: “To regard with great or uncritical admiration or devotion.” The descriptor “uncritical” is the key word to why such idolization (of anyone or anything) is not something conducive to genuinely healthy individuals nor a healthy culture. I think all of us, with a few seconds of thought, can come up with the name of a personality that has been the recipient of such idolization in the past and/or the present. I would venture that very often those who are not caught up in the idolization of a particular person can plainly see the downside of such idolization. However, interestingly, even those who can plainly see the downside, the “error” if you will, of idolizing one personality may be actively involved in the idolization of another. In such cases it is a recognition of the imperfections of the object of the idolization, rather than a recognition of the pitfalls inherent in the act of idolization itself. The American practice of idolization is so pervasive, so entrenched, that within certain (many?) Christian churches the idolization of Jesus has become more important than adherence to the vital principles he taught.

Why does it matter? One very important reason is that if a person can be led to believe that it is the idolization, the worship, of a personality that is important, rather than the study and consideration of the vital principles which they proclaim, then a person can be led to violate genuinely vital principles necessary to a healthy person or culture when told to do so by the object of idolization. Or by another person or an agency which they believe represent the object of idolization.

Beware of any person or organization which holds up a personality as someone to be idolized. Both as individuals and as a culture we are much better served by having concern with the principles which enlightened and loving teachers, saints and prophets, through the ages, have brought forward. Principles such persons have endeavored to direct and encourage people to the study and understanding of.

The Family Potluck

Image (c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

Maybe some have never experienced a large family potluck. I know many have, however, unfortunately, there are probably some who haven’t. If you’re one of them, I hope as your life proceeds you have the opportunity to do so. A large family potluck provides an excellent analogy for how world economics should operate.

First, everybody should contribute. If not in supplying the food, in helping with the set-up or the clean-up. For the most part though, in my experience, participants either individually or as a component family of the larger family group, bring some kind of food. The result can be the most wonderful, varied, delicious collection of edibles one may have ever seen. A dizzying collection of aromas, colors, textures, and finally tastes. It can be difficult knowing where to start, what to put on one’s plate. Some may pick a selective and limited menu, opting for three or four items. While the plates of others may be a microcosm of the dizzying kaleidoscope of food displayed on the serving table. Large family potlucks can be some of the most wonderful feasts, both of food and of fellowship, that one can experience. As long as everyone is considerate, no one takes an inordinate amount of food, then everyone finds themselves delightfully filled.

But what if someone decided that they were going to take all of one of the items rather than a sampling of many offerings? That would put a crimp in things. Or what if someone said that because they had supplied the dinnerware, all the other family members should pay them an exorbitant fee to participate? Maybe someone in the family invented the fork and they want two-thirds of all the food as recompense? (Maybe they should be sent to their room and told to eat their forks?) Maybe someone is an excellent pastry chef and feels that because they have contributed such excellent pies they should be first in line and allowed to fill five plates; one for now and four for later? Or, maybe the elder family members feel age should determine the serving order and if, after they eat their fill and fill a few take-home containers the younger members can fight over the scraps? Or maybe it’s the reverse and the more youthful, belligerent family members forcibly commandeer the table and to hell with everyone else?

Family potlucks should not, and I venture rarely do, require someone to be the “food police”. Oh, sometimes it may require a parent to admonish a child that, for their own good, they should not just fill up on pie. However, generally everyone recognizes the flow and the balance of the gathering and with appropriate consideration for others, things simply flow smoothly and wonderfully.

Do you see where this is going?

The infamous “rabbit hole”: created by the frequent and grievous practice of deception. Maintained by the practice of blind obedience.

Image: (c) Dazdraperma http://www.fotosearch.com

If you pay much attention at all to the reports, investigative journalism, conspiracy theories and undeniable conspiracy reality that is increasingly present in many different media these days, sooner or later you are going encounter the term “rabbit hole”. The rabbit hole is, metaphorically speaking, the long dark tunnel (of information, facts) that one must work one’s way through to penetrate the superficial, artificial, mental image of the world which certain aspects of the government, media and various other industries, do their best to assure is the one which most people of the world carry with them. Those who have dared delve into the realms of the realities which are kept hidden as well as possible from the average citizen often pay a price. I’m not referring to sinister operatives who abduct people from their homes and hide them away in some covert prison or another. Or who maybe kill them. Although those atrocities are documented to have happened to honest, caring individuals who have uncovered and revealed truths, or produced products, which certain powerful individuals did not wish to see revealed. Just ask Julian Assange about that, if you can get to him in whatever dark hole he’s being imprisoned in. You might ask Cathy O’Brien, or Dr. Jeffrey R. McDonald, oh wait, he’s locked up for life. Or Stanley Meyers, or Ted Gunderson, oh wait, they’re dead.

The list could go on and on. But that is not the price which I am focusing on in this article. The price I am referring to is the breakdown of one’s internalized worldview. A reality which can often be a far more traumatic, disorienting experience than the mere mention of it even hints at. It can leave a person isolated, paranoid, unable to function well in day-to-day life. Or it might even prove fatal if the resulting debilitation is not successfully remedied. I think some intuitively sense that digging too deep into the affairs of the world might hold unpleasant consequences and consequently they avoid doing so. They usually also avoid listening for too long to someone who has been actively digging. But there are those whose thirst for knowledge, whose need to feel informed, connected with the actual reality of what is going on around them, is so compelling that they are going to seek the truth. Period.

The fact is, it seems that for those in positions of worldly power; governmental, economic, military, or even religious power, the methods they often utilize in dealing with the general public are to deceive, inveigle and obfuscate.

The vulnerability which many of us have is that we have allowed ourselves to internalize the system’s explanation of what’s going on in the world as absolute reality. If we could genuinely rely upon the system to be honest with us, we would not be at such a risk of finding ourselves traumatized and disoriented by the eventual emergence of reality. Unfortunately, in the U.S. and many other places that is not the case. I venture many people in the U.S. and many other countries are experiencing some degree of traumatization following coming face to face with actual reality. Some are experiencing severe symptoms resulting from it.

What can we do to protect ourselves from, or to help heal ourselves from the very real attempts to instill us with an illusory worldview and the inevitable cognitive dissonance we face as a result? To begin with, stop blindly believing in the proclamations coming from those who hold high office. The current dismal global reality is that if there is big money involved there are almost certainly big lies and deep corruption involved. We need to question, investigate, analyze, be skeptical, get grounded in grassroots level reality. Honor the basic values of truth, honesty, fairness, neighborliness. Recognize, understand, and express to the very best of our abilities, our mutuality here on this planet. If we’re not thinking “all for one and one for all” on a global level, we’re thinking “all for none and none for all”, and that is not going to serve us well.

Lies, deceit, greed, corruption are not the unavoidable way of life on planet Earth. They are what humankind through either short-sighted participation, ignorance, complacency or apathy have allowed to become widely manifest. It is important to realize that the use of such corrupt methods are not new to this century, or even this millennium. Our current world culture has seen such methods employed in the pursuit and the exercise of worldly power for millennia, possibly since the beginning of recorded history. But that does not in any way indicate that such behaviors are unavoidable or insurmountable. We, as a species, have overcome many of the challenges which, through our ignorance in whatever developmental stage we were in at the time, we have found ourselves facing. Human beings are responsible for the poisonous corruption when and where it is taking place, and we as human beings can see it stopped. It requires our will to do so and our efforts to be consciously aware and constantly endeavoring. Constantly endeavoring to refuse to participate in the thinking and practices which are undermining our nations, our communities, and our lives. And constantly endeavoring to replace such behaviors with positive, sustaining, honesty, truth and an applied understanding of our mutuality.

Through our cooperation and obedience, we are the strength of our oppressors.

Vital, thinking human beings are not meant to be turned into mindless automatons.

A path in the beautiful North Cascades.

We are consigning children’s education to school systems which teach them to blindly trust and obey the people who occupy the governmental offices within our society.

For the survival of the human race, that needs to stop. Governments and the people who work within them are only beneficial to a society to the extent that their primary goals are the genuine health and well-being of the society which they serve. This necessarily means working within certain parameters. An essential quality which must be present within the parameters any and all governmental bodies operate within is truthfulness. Hand in hand with truthfulness is openness. Merely saying that the government is not going to allow it’s citizens to know what the criteria are that governmental officials are considering in their decision making does not meet those criteria. Not even close. Somewhere along the line, since the second world war, Americans allowed the Government to take the stance that America is on a permanent war footing and that the type of secrecy which was put in place during the war needed to exist on an ongoing basis. This culture of secrecy creates a fertile ground for corruption, lies, misdirection and unexplained actions. If we treat the whole world as a real or potential enemy, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I believe John F. Kennedy either intuitively or intellectually knew this. One of his primary goals was to take America out of the war-mindedness which had continued after WWII ended, and put America and the world on a course for true, sustainable, friendships and harmonious coexistence between all nations. This flew in the face of the aspirations of wealth and power hungry, militant, individuals who believed they saw a path to their desired version of the future. A path which President Kennedy firmly rejected. Having any nation, or group, especially any with predatory economic goals, act as an ongoing dominant overlord of the people of the world is not a viable, sustainable condition. It is clearly something most people in the world will loathe and reject if an attempt is made to force it upon them.

For sound mental, physical and spiritual health, people desire, need, to feel a vital, reciprocal, interaction with their environment, their world. That desire/need is an innate quality of being born into the human race. However, the connection to, the awareness of, this quality can be dulled. Through repetitive instruction from trusted adults and authority figures, a child’s attention can be redirected from this innate desire designed to support and sustain human beings throughout life, to a dependency upon the declarations of those aspiring to godlike power within the lives of others. However, this innate desire of humanity cannot be dulled indefinitely.

The first allegiance a person should learn is the allegiance to the positive human values we know work toward creating and sustaining healthy people and healthy communities: honesty, fairness, intelligence, analytical thinking, reason, compassion, ingenuity, resilience, strength, love and kindness.

We are one, together we are whole.

Image (c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

What we are seeing, experiencing, taking place in the world at this time is a concerted effort to tear the human race apart at the seams. For over two years now we have been told repeatedly, continually, by corporatized, monopolized, mainstream media to fear each other, to stay apart from each other. Through limiting interaction to video calls, we are being conditioned to regard each other as abstract concepts. We aren’t. We are living, feeling human beings. We need contact with one another. We need the touch, the fine cues we use in our person to person communications, the vibrations of each other’s speech, of each other’s presence. Those aspects of our lives, our being, are not fully conveyed through video chats, if at all.

We are spiritual beings endeavoring to co-create a manifested world to enjoy living within. We are here to experience and appreciate the Earth, the air, the water, the living things both plant and animal that share this creation with us. It is ours, as a group, to enjoy and to care for. We do not own it. No matter how many deeds or other pieces of paper, or software productions, a person may have which state that they “own” a piece of the Earth or anything that has been manifested upon it, those things are merely representations of agreements among people within communities. Agreements to abide by certain rules in order to establish and maintain more complex, civilized societies. Humans make them and humans can break them. They are only as real as we, as a society, choose to make them, as we choose to honor them. As with every other social rule and convention that exists, they are devices intended to serve us, as a whole.

We exist as components within a great system of energetic life. We do not own the system, however, with our minds, our wills, both individually and combined, we can manipulate aspects of it. We can build, and we can destroy. AND, what we need to keep in the forefront of our minds when we are engaging in our activities upon this beautiful planet we occupy, is that whatever we do, whatever actions, energy, we put in motion are going to effect us with the same nature, the same intent, that we give them. Do we want love, caring, joy, friendship to be manifest? Then those are the activities we need to engage in. Do we want to see pain, suffering, deprivation in our own lives? When we are engaging in activities that manifest those things, we need to realize that sooner or later, no matter how far we try to distance ourselves from those actions, they will find us and we will know them.

The energy field we live within and are a part of, flows around and within us. We have a great deal to do with whether or not the manifestations within this energy field are beneficial or detrimental to our lives and the lives of those around us. Now replace the word “energy” with the word “spirit”. Because we know that this reality we live within is not just some kind of ethereal jello that we get to play with as we see fit. No, there is an inherent consciousness, intelligence, within the field itself. We think of spirit instead of energy, we know that. We, along with the rest of creation, are the offspring of this great spirit. In that this spirit is loving, nurturing, forgiving, this is a reality to be celebrated. When we reflect the loving, nurturing, forgiving aspects of the creative spirit we are a part of, we will flourish. We will know joy, kinship, love and great possibilities.

But when we engage in, or allow ourselves to be ruled by, thoughts and desires of fear, greed, hatred, jealousy, when we turn upon each other in service to these things, when we forget our interconnectedness, we pollute our own spirits and our world. We become as diseased cells within the body of creation.

That is why, if we want to realize the full measure of the beauty, the joy, the wonders which this creation, of which are a part, has to offer us, we must always keep in mind the kinship, the mutuality, the interconnectedness which is inescapably ours. We can celebrate that reality and realize it’s blessings, or we can engage in self-centered, egocentric, pettiness. When we stop, be still, and realize that as wonderful, utilitarian and enjoyable, or as terrible and destructive, as they may be, nothing which we can create using the material of the manifest world around us, can come close to the wonders, or the power, of the spiritual reality we are freely given as our legacy as children of the Great Spirit which has birthed us.

Imagine That

I am of the noble God mind.

You are of the noble God mind.

Everything is of the noble God mind.

How do things get so messed up?

Because the Universal Creative Spirit gave us free will.

Would you want a world populated by robotic beings all doing the “right” thing, dispassionately?

No surprises.

No joy.

There is joy and creativity to be found, in abundance, within the noble God mind.

It surrounds us.

We have choices.

We can choose to recognize the wondrous gift bestowed upon us, love one another, cherish one another, treat each other and the world around us with consideration…

Or we can choose to allow unexamined, egocentric motives to drive us to destruction.

Is it desirable to build a world bent on self-destruction?

Too often, we allow other humans to do to us what God would not; turn us into all but mindless functionaries.

Servants of petty, egocentric, motives.

Why?

What qualities within our human nature allow this to happen?

Fear?

An unexamined desire to be part of a group?

We can do better.

We can choose.

We can consider our motives, our actions.

We can manage our world, it’s resources, in ways that actively encourage and nurture, healthy, creative individual lives.

Individual lives within a society which embraces consideration, empathy and mutuality.

A society in which we work at a fuller realization of, and proper stewardship of, the gifts the Creative Universal Spirit, God, has bestowed upon us.

Most of us have barely plumbed the depth of the wondrous gifts, the miracles, the magical wonders which we, by virtue of our legacy as children of and within the Divine Creative Spirit, may access and benefit from.

Nor will we as long as we continue to allow egocentricity to guide our lives.

Under the oppression of the egocentricity of people suffering from inordinate craving for material wealth and power, these wonders will continue to be seen as miracles performed by historical figures, not a real and active aspect of our lives.

We have the ability to build a society in which the default motive in our dealings with one another is love, rather than fear.

A society in which we all recognize each other as, at the least, a best friend in the rough.

Wow.

Imagine that.

Demonstrations, protests and riots are going on all over the U.S. Why?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Why do I use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a concept key to a successful life as a person or for a culture.

In many important, essential ways, people, by and large, aren’t all that complicated.  Maslow knew this aspect of our reality and took the time to try to organize our needs by importance in relationship to our survival and well-being.  Of course we don’t always find ourselves involved with filling each need in exactly the order Maslow arranged them, however, if our needs aren’t met at one level, the more desperate the need we feel, the more we’re stuck on that level.

We need to keep this reality in mind when we are working to understand and/or figure out how to respond to the demonstrations, protests and riots going on in the U.S. and elsewhere.  What these events are, every one of them, are symptoms of unmet needs.  They are populated by people who can no longer stand idly by while feeling their innate human needs go unmet.  It might have worked for them at one time.  A time when they were, for whatever reasons, able to suppress their internal urges because they felt hope that a pathway was going to open up for them to pursue fulfillment.  But when that hope wanes, desperation comes in on it’s heels.

The “rugged individualists”, particularly the ones who have found themselves in comfortable positions, might say:  well it’s their fault, they didn’t work hard enough to take care of themselves, they’re lazy.  Maybe, to some extent, for some of the people, there is some degree of truth in that.  But there is something obvious that really flies in the face of that logic:  those “lazy” people are out marching in the streets.  They are feeling a need and somebody, or something, provided them with a direction.  When one is desperate, doing something, anything, even if it’s wrong can be preferable to doing nothing.  If a direction offers some degree of even blind, hope, it is going to have an attraction.  That’s how desperation works.

The fact people are out marching, protesting, even rioting, shows that, given a direction, they are willing to take action to do something, anything, to try to gain fulfillment for their unmet needs.  It is clear that what most people need in such a situation is direction.  What is being demonstrated in these events is raw, potential energy looking for a way to become kinetic, to provide what is needed to fulfill the unmet needs.

In a civilized society it should just be a given that we are working together to meet the needs of all.  Whether we privately own things, communally own things or work with a model that embraces the best method for the immediate needs at hand, as long as we have the mind that it is a combined effort for the good of all, we will be fine.

Have you ever been poor?  After two-thirds of the month has gone by have you ever found yourself wondering how you’re going to eat for the remaining third?  When you are in that position, and you walk into a grocery store, you want EVERYTHING.  It can seem that you couldn’t possibly buy enough to satisfy your hunger.  However, if you’re not poor, if you’re well fed and you enter a grocery store, it’s not that hard to be totally satisfied picking up whatever it was you came for.  People are like that, in more ways than simply regarding food.  When we are feeling an acute shortage of something, a deep-down need for something, we can easily find ourselves thinking we want it all.

No matter how absurd or grandiose the participants’ expressed demands in the heat of desperation may be, when the people involved see and feel their needs are being genuinely fulfilled, they will, however tentatively at first, begin responding favorably to whatever is providing, and shows it can continue to provide, that fulfillment.   To merely offer such a movement resistance is to stand squarely in the way of much needed hope and change.

A footnote:  This is not to advocate for a program of ongoing free stuff for all dissatisfied people.  In Maslow’s hierarchy, self esteem is a basic human need.  Working at a fair rate in exchange for what one receives is a part of healthy self esteem.  Sometimes a person’s being able to accept “free” stuff is needed in order to pull that person up when they are down, but it’s not a viable long term solution.

A house divided against itself…

Fotosearch_k22192444
(c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

In our attempts, our efforts, at building a viable, vital society, we can learn much by observing and understanding the functioning of our own bodies.  There is a saying attributed to Hermes Trismegistus:  “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.”   This is often shortened to “As above, so below, as below, so above”.  This concept, or the observation of the nature of our reality, provides us with an understanding, which, if applied to our efforts at creating and maintaining a human culture, can do much to guide us toward what will be in harmony with the natural world.  The natural world which we are working with and within and therefore toward a more vibrant, stable and enduring culture.

Our bodies are miracles of design.  They are self-repairing, self-renewing, and they offer us multiple senses, or avenues of interface, with our environment.  They provide us with much enjoyment and pleasure.  And provide us with discomfort and/or pain to let us know when we’re not supplying them with what they need, or too much of what they don’t need.  Ultimately what makes the whole thing work is the the organs, the cells, within the body work together to keep the body, the whole, alive and well.  One of the serious threats to the health of our bodies is the occasion when some cells become sickened and engage in a pattern of runaway duplication (growth) and a voracious appetite for energy.  One could say they get greedy for resources and want to take over.  They behave more competitively than cooperatively.  Of course, as our ancestors knew centuries ago:  Mark 3:25, Jesus states, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  

Now really, just think about that last statement for a minute, it’s not rocket science.  It’s something that immediately makes sense both intellectually and emotionally.  I think this is one of those truths that people just innately know, that comes with birth.  Yet it is one many people quickly turn their backs on when the world dangles some bling in front of them and says:  Go now and compete.  Within human cultures around the world that is the genesis of a cancer that is destroying our cultures with the same certainty that an untreated malignant cancer destroys a human body.  I can imagine someone thinking, but isn’t that just exercising personal freedom?   Yes it is.  And freedom is an essential aspect of a healthy human culture.  However, it is also just exercising personal freedom to take an automatic weapon to an elementary school and start shooting students.  Freedom is a double edged sword and is only an asset to humanity when it is combined with wisdom.  Such as the wisdom that if we aren’t all working together, cooperatively, for the good of the whole of humanity, the body of humanity, we are in the process of destroying that body.  And just as the cells of a body cannot survive for long once the body as a whole becomes unviable, no matter how adept a survivalist one might think they are, human beings cannot survive indefinitely outside a viable human culture.

All my life I have heard Charles Darwin exalted as one of the, effectively, high priests of the natural world.  I don’t think it’s possible to think of Charles Darwin and not think of the phrase survival of the fittest.  That is the phrase those most industrially disseminating information within popular culture have locked onto regarding Darwin.  But today those who are seriously researching Darwin’s ideas and adaptive strategies are saying friendliness and cooperation is the most successful strategy for survival.  This is just one more example of how spirituality and science are converging in the world today.

If we are to survive as a species on this planet we must recognize our oneness, our interconnectedness and interdependence.  Not merely within cities, or nations, but as global body of humanity.

The Lifeguard Principle: What it is, what is it good for, how to make friends with it.

Fotosearch_k22192444
(c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

I am realizing that many of us, me included, have a tendency to readily notice and respond to the things in the world that are blatantly wrong, or problematic, and that this may consequently mean we simultaneously are not giving enough attention to the things that are right. 

I first became aware of this tendency decades ago when I worked a couple summers as a lifeguard.  When I found myself in the lifeguard chair, looking at a large, crowded pool with lots of noise and activity, I had a moment of doubt.  I wondered how in the world am I going to see someone in trouble in this chaos?  I asked an older lifeguard that question and he replied that I just needed to keep my eyes on the pool and if someone got into trouble, I’d see it.  Sounds too simple, right?  It isn’t.  As it turns out our attention is drawn to the things that aren’t right.  Whether it is inconsistencies, differences in movement, sometimes the obvious shout for “help”, or some other more esoteric phenomenon, it is a reliably real thing.  I would always find my attention drawn to someone in trouble.  Sometimes a few seconds before they were actually experiencing the distress.  Of course it is also true that my mindset, my internal desire, was to see such occurrences.  That may be a part of the function at work.  I began calling this tendency to have our attention drawn to what is wrong “the lifeguard principle”.

While paying attention and looking for trouble was an explicit part of that job, I think it is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent.  It definitely is a survival trait in times of threat.  Maybe it’s a carry over from the days when we were walking through forests or jungles and we had to be aware of our surroundings to avoid being eaten.  It definitely is a behavior that is necessary in times of warfare, one person, gang, tribe, nation, attacking another.  I believe it is universal among humankind.   For those interested in looking into such things, there is some correlate in the functioning of our “exciting” and “calming” neurotransmitters.  Our bodies have evolved in a way that we deplete our “calming” neurotransmitters well before we are in danger of running out of “exciters”.  I suppose that would help keep us from just lying down and being eaten when being chased by a tiger.  But now, in the year 2020, for many if not most of us, the dynamics we face in our day to day lives are not quite the same as they have been through much our existence.

It’s not that there still aren’t some acute dangers in the world; in some places much more than others.  However, the dangers most of us face in developed nations are more of a chronic nature.  We don’t get pounced on and quickly killed and eaten by a tiger, we get killed more gradually by being slowly consumed by worries, fears, anxieties, and insecurities.  Just as the nature of the threats has changed over time, our reactions to the threats we’re facing needs to change also.  A sudden, pervasive startle, fight or flight reaction to all the, sometimes subtle, threats an average person may face during their day would certainly result in a person becoming overly stressed, burned out, and significantly more at risk for a plethora of diseases.

Sometimes we need to intervene in what direction our “autopilot” chooses and become more reasoned with our reactions to life’s events.  Having an innate sensitivity to things that are “wrong” in our environment can be part of an important survival system.  Our “lifeguard principle” exists for just that purpose, to help guard our lives.  This brings to my mind a book by Gavin De Becker:  “The Gift of Fear”.  It addresses the important role fear can and does play in our lives.  However, with both the “lifeguard principle” and “The Gift of Fear”, whether or not these innate aspects of our being serve us or sabotage us depends entirely on how we react to the input we receive from them.

In our complex, more populated, human culture primitive responses to what are often sophisticated situations become less and less viable.  As a culture, we need to get way more invested in learning more about what it is to be human and what we inherently, and universally, require to establish and maintain healthy, vital, lives.  When we learn to respond to human, social, problems in a manner based in seeking to solve those problems on by seeing needs met and lives stabilized, it will benefit us greatly.  We are going to find ourselves in a thriving, vibrant world such as we have only had glimpses of, during a few periods of time in the past 150 years.

Within the current available knowledge from the fields of psychology, sociology, physiology, and spirituality, we have all we need to have more than a good start.  It only requires our will and determination to do so.