As the dawn of a new year rises many of us are attempting to look forward into the unlimited potential that awaits a confused humanity in hopes of finding a clarity towards better human relating not only to each other, but to the environment in which we live.
Political corruption, corporate greed, the war on women, systemic racism, global warming and everything Covid-19 can leave one feeling overwhelmed and confused about where to start, but go forward we must.
I believe a good starting place for how to envision a new and better world is through a careful consideration of the dualities presented by Covid-19. The virus put forward the overarching issue of materialism vs. Life and humanity was put to a vote as to which was more important.
It was touch and go for a minute, but thankfully, the majority of people felt that human life should trump profit and materialism. This vote played out in the Black Lives Matter movement, recognition of marginalized essential workers, free vaccines, economic support from governments and now we have the great resignation happening.
Through the isolation of Covid-19 we discovered how important connecting and relating is to our physical, mental and emotional health and it changed our priorities.
These changes represent a fundamental shift in human awareness and our attitudes about Life. Collectively, we are in transition and reevaluating what is important to us.
Up to this point, materialism and wealth were clearly running the show and considered the most valuable thing in our societies. We now stand in the cesspool of where that got us, but I also see people making strong commitments for something better.
Certainly, materialism has its place and is a necessary part of our lives, but it is self-destructive if not controlled or limited within constructive boundaries. Materialism can exist in harmony with the rest of the life-forms living on the planet if we choose to make it so.
We as humans have an instinctual survival program that precludes us to selfish behaviors. We naturally have a tendency to feed off each other and the environment like reckless children with no thought of responsibility or consequences.
I am hopeful that as a collective, we are maturing to the point that we are ready to put on our grown-up pants and start disciplining our destructive behaviors. But to do that we will have to give some things up.
One of those things is an inherent attitude of superiority.
This attitude is at the root of global warming. There has been little respect towards the rights of minerals, plants and animals. Most people scoff at the notion that minerals or plants would have rights and therein lies our attitude of superiority.
We see this reflected in our consuming of the planet’s resources at a rate that cannot be sustained. In our contempt we replaced these resources with pollution, toxic waste and disrespect. We can do better.
The attitude of superiority is also at the root of human rights issues.
Globally, we see separation through race, gender, class, wealth, and religion. We use these differences to create sub-humans or second- and third-class citizens as a means to rationalize a perceived superior position.
Each person or group takes its turn at deciding who or what is less than themselves, which justifies mistreatment.
This is considered diseased thinking within the human psyche and the problem we face is a flawed belief that certain people or groups are inferior to us.
For example, a mother recently told me that her ten-year old son was being mocked at school for wearing a mask not by his peers but by a teacher.
Masks were optional at the school but apparently not acceptable. This teacher felt their beliefs were superior to the child’s choice to wear a mask and emboldened them to lash out by belittling the child.
This is emotional abuse justified by a sense of superiority and it happens all the time in many different ways and situations.
When we are confronted with this behavior in ourselves or others, it’s not because anyone is a bad person, we just have a bad habit. Each of us has this pattern of behavior to some degree, there are no perfect people here.
The key is to recognize the behavior and transform it into something better.
If we, as a collective, can consciously cultivate an attitude of an accepting tolerance of others, we can make a big difference.
I admit this is not an easy task when confronted with opinions that I believe are wrong to the core and should be wiped from the face of the earth, but I keep my cool by telling myself ‘It’s just an opinion and it’s okay to exist, no one is right or wrong.’ It takes practice, but it can be done.
As we plunge into this new year of potential, let us all put forth our vision of better relating to ourselves. others and all Life on the planet.