It seems logical to point out that how we feel, what we say, and how we act are defined by a set of emotional, psychological, experiential, biological, and cognitive truths that informs how we behave in the world. It’s a good time to talk about this.
We are not who we eat, so to speak.
However, who we are on any given day certainly defines the current state of quality (or inequality) of our lives and of other’s lives, locally and globally. Bullies leave a wake as do loving social changers. Fear and hate come from very specific, current human blueprints in a person, as does self confidence and compassion. But what is the worst of us are changeable conditions.
We were meant to evolve past the need to conquer and control. Why else why would we have been given the capacity for traits such as developed emotional intelligence and compassion? And if human beings have this capacity, why are we not more focused on amplifying and developing these behaviors when the end result would be less Trump and more Gandhi? Do we love our hatred and fear so much?
Why aren’t more people talking about this in the age of Donald Trump?
One thing is for certain: Trump has sparked the conversation in humanity about our humanity in ways that not even mass genocide or the global climate crisis has. And maybe that’s the take-away from all of it. Trump is not the problem: he is merely the catalyst. Perhaps the Trump era can be looked back on as the condition reached when inhumanity breached the surface of intolerance for our own bad behavior. Trump is the teacher, and we are students ready to learn.
We have always needed a catalyst that creates a wake big enough to wake up.
There are other tell-tale signs around the world – terror, racial and gender inequality, the class wars, radical ideology, increasing instances of mental illness – signs that more people are arriving at the state of rejecting bad and inhumane behavior inflicted against them or others. This is the pain of our age. You don’t have to agree with the reasons of the acting out to agree that patience for much has worn thin.
The isms of our time are not, in my opinion, symptoms of a worse world or declining state of affairs. Nor do I believe they are as many politicians and the media would have us believe the fault of politics or any one nationalistic or political belief system.
The pain of Bernie Or Bust people has little to do with the fact that Bernie Sanders wasn’t elected as the Democratic party nominee. They, the followers of Trump, of Isis, of any dogmatic belief system that requires others to be harmed in order for them to be right are in deep pain, pain born from a a lack of affirmation, of belonging, of feeling as if they have value in this world. Hillary Clinton nor (fill in the blank) are not responsible for their pain. They are simply the current excavator of their rawest feelings about their condition. And how to heal that state of human condition is what, in my opinion, we need to talk more about.
I see current times as a sign we are actually beginning to do something about the state of things, in ways that have the effect of moving us beyond the asleep stasis of some of our worst devils in our nature: bias, discrimination, hate, and fear. Out of turmoil and revolution comes the next wave of understanding. IF we rise to the occasion.
Never has the need to more openly discuss how human beings work or don’t been more important. And never has there been a more important time to elevate our discourse to the idea that people are at their best and ablest to express their potential in positive ways when they are understood, when they feel affirmed, when fear is the furthest thing from their hearts, when they can be in a place that doesn’t require them to hang onto their opinions for fear of losing who they are, and when they can authentically belong, connect, and contribute with a sense of security and affirmation they are valued for their uniqueness and individuality.
It’s time to seek understanding over the desire to be right. It’s time to focus our innovation on helping us be better human beings for each other.
Whether we live in the US or in Syria, in the remotest regions of North Africa or Afghanistan, or in West Hollywood, Michigan, or the Appalachian Mountains, who we are emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, and consciously defines our views and biases. How we are is the expression of the sum total of who are in the present moment.
This blueprint of ours expressed through our behavior also translates our fears and fuels the mechanism that attaches our beliefs to ideas about everything. If our world view is terror, we seek to hold onto our condition and environment, as well as the rules of law we believe are true and righteous because these define our present view of ourselves, our self worth. This is why people believe it is okay to make others wrong in order for them to be right. They are clinging to their own sense of identity.
Yet our identity is not defined by holding on to our points of view. Our true identity and human potential is not who we are that other people think we are, or the person we become that we think other people want us to be in order to belong.
The politics we choose, the terror or peace we gravitate towards, even our choices of relationships or isolation are just that – choices, conscious and unconscious. And every next moment is an opportunity to make a better choice, a new opportunity to express the better angels of our nature and selves.
I always believed that’s why we have the capacity to forgive.
What we are biased against or towards, what we are conscious of or unconscious to, and what we understand or refuse to understand most of all are deeply under-discussed truths behind the intensity and tone of our politics and social and economic revolutions underway.
The politics of the day in the US may be giving us great fodder for examining extremes of human behavior, but I think it begs the real question: how can we help people wake up and accelerate their intelligences, their capacity for understanding, help them to contribute more of their best selves? How can we help each other to feel as if we belong rather than not? Why not put our public discourse and investments toward that?
We need a better way to get to know ourselves and each other more authentically and from a place of understanding. We need to get to a place where we realize we are not our opinions or our held biases, and that changing our worst traits or harmful behaviors towards others isn’t a threat to our identity; letting go of all that actually gets us closer to revealing who we really are.
What are you doing right now to help humanity do that?