So here we are…the end of the world supposedly. The world may not have ended today, but sometimes it feels like we are not that far off. Humanity needs help. It needs to evolve to something bigger and more loving. We need to focus on what binds us together, not the things that tear us apart. We need a re-birth of sorts. If we do not, we will surely destroy each other and our planet.
I just came across this quote from Richard Rohr which feels timely.
The rifts and chasms between good people today sometimes seem impossible to bridge. Let’s just name a few obvious ones: male versus female, rich versus poor, liberal versus conservative, Christian versus non-Christian, “Pro-Choice” versus “Pro-Life,” the overdeveloped world versus the underdeveloped world, renew-from-within versus change-from-without, straights versus gays, hierarchy versus laity, whites versus people of color—and every shade of every issue in between.
We are all crowded on one limited planet and must somehow learn to live together while also maintaining the common earth beneath our six billion pairs of feet. Sometimes I wonder if it is going to be this very common earth that we all stand on and eat from that will be the only thing that will be able to bring us together.
Wonderfully shared. Thank you from a fellow earthling, filled with hope for our re-birth.
We are like a combination of flowers of different colors and shapes, creating a beautiful garden called “Earth”.
Love can definitely help get us out of this, but the problem is is that there will be as many versions of and ideas about Love as there are people.
And realistically there will be those who will make love into this warm, fuzzy, impotent concept that is castrated and basically equates to (is coterminous with) kindness, compassion, tenderness, and none of (arguably) the other part (not half, but certainly part) of Love–discernment, courage, grit, et cetera.
As (Walt) Whitman wrote:
“There are who teach only the sweet lessons of peace and safety;
But I teach lessons of war and death to those I love,
That they readily meet invasions, when they come.”
There’s a lot of Love in those words.
And there’s also a lot of love and wisdom to be found in the idea that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke).
There’s something to be said about combining wisely what Martin Luther King Jr. describes as a tough mind and a tender heart–balancing the two sides of love–heart and mind, wisdom and sentiment. (It’s a great essay/sermon–King’s “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart.” One I’ve been intending to excerpt and post.)
In my experience a lot of disagreement goes away if people learn how to think critically, not only about the other person’s words and ideas and point of view, but about their own.
In my opinion and experience too many people are of the let’s agree to disagree type–they espouse kindness, love (lowercase l), nonjudgmentalness, and if you are unkind to them or critical of something they are doing or saying, then they become irrationally judgmental and unkind.
What the world needs, in my opinion, are more people who are dedicated not only to the heart, but also to the head–to truth, wisdom, learning, growing, conscience. People who instead of saying “let’s agree to disagree,” are guided by “it’s not who’s right but what’s right.” To me there’s a lot more Love (capital L) in that view, but it’s a tough view. It challenges us and our emotional reptilian brain a lot. It takes years of working out and exercising our prefrontal cortex to get it up to speed and to strengthen it enough so that it’s actually able to provide a check and balance to our limbic system (reptilian brain).
I think that as long as our emotions–the heart alone–is running the show, then agree to disagree will be the best we can do, and we’ll be unkind to those who we perceive as being unkind to us (but who might actually be being very very truthful with us).
And I think that this is the way it is for most people who self-improvement and new-age circles–it’s all about the heart, and the head/mind is just an appendage of the heart.
And I think that the vast majority of people are this way–their limbic system (reptilian brain) dominates their thinking and behavior, and let’s agree to disagree is the best they can do, because ego and pride and shame and fear dominate their thinking; so instead of being unbiased, dedicated to truth and reality and growing, and what’s right instead of who’s right, they’re still stuck at the level of ego instead of a more self-actualize and self-transcending way of thinking.
And I think that for the world to evolve, we have to evolve beyond this non-self-transcending limbic-centered way of thinking to something more integrated and whole-brained and self-transcending, a level of thinking where our prefrontal cortex is at least equal to our heart, and we can see beyond our own point of view (what’s right, not who’s right).
As Einstein said, “The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them” or “The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” The problems we face today seem arguably to be a result of a lot of reptilian / limbic-based thinking. When our thinking focuses more on integrity, self-awareness, self-confronting, self-monitoring, objectivity, conscience, being unbiased, not always favoring ourselves and our ego, then maybe we’ll have a different and truly more harmonious society where we’re able to really discuss and critically analyze and evaluate our differences, instead of just reacting to them and letting our reptilian brain and ego-based thinking have a heyday with them.
I hope this finds you well. Kindest regards and Merry Christmas to you and yours, Jonathan!
Very thoughtful reply John…many thanks.