Abundance – Freedom – Peace
Depending on where in the world we live, quite a few generations have enjoyed a lifetime of ‘plenty’ and ‘liberty’, even plenty of liberty – and today, more than ever before.
Yet, the wave of dysphoria and disenchantment that is seeping through more and more sections of every community heralds unusually tough times ahead for the next in line, the Gen Z’ers.
By the millions, they and their children’s children will, no doubt, find themselves dragged into an explosive vortex of civil unrest and mental/physical ‘un-wellness’, far greater than what we are currently experiencing in these somewhat unexpected times of extremes.
The more we have
Ironically, the more freedom and protection collectively and individually we have sought – and have been granted – the more divided and divisive we have become.
Maybe it is so because neither the asker nor the giver knows how to ask or give.
The karmic ripple of cause and effect could explain why so many new opportunities to practice speaking from a balanced perspective and listening from the heart pop up faster than meerkats in protected bushland.
On so many topics, family, friends, colleague, and strangers alike, challenge our sense of what we have integrated as right, fair, and good.
There used to be a time when we all knew to avoid discussing religion, politics and sports results at family gatherings but the range of no-go topics has considerably expanded. Much deeper emotions trigger our responses.
Suddenly, it all becomes extremely personal.
Wire and fire
The range of issues that fires our emotions and, thus, challenge our thoughts, is as wide as our response is passionate.
Conversations quickly erupt into full-blown conflict. Then, regardless of our age, literally or metaphorically, the hoodie gets pulled up over the head in the quasi-universal gesture signifying, Leave me alone. I’m not talking to you anymore.
Communication interrupted. Sometimes, this interruption means the end of that connection with the other.
From ongoing diverging opinions on Women’s rights and elusive empowerment, family values, gay marriage, immigration, gender identity, sexual orientation, human rights, foreign politics, dietary choices, and the role of religion in our culture, these issues have been driving unexpected divisive wedges with increasing frequency on all fronts.
Serious question #1: How to handle uncertainties when, with every passing year, the much-desired balance of health, wealth and happiness seems to be receding faster from everyone’s reach than ever before?
Today, caught between debt and stress, just like our governments, we stand on tippy toes – poised on the sharp end of an actual tipping point.
The time has come for all of us to become free thinkers, unhindered by the usual What-Ifs and guarded posturing. That is, provided our motivation be intended for the greater good of all and of self.
After all, People Power is nothing new.
Throughout history, here, there and everywhere, hordes of people have already banded together with a common agenda and fought for ‘their rights’. The problem is that most, if not all, of these crowd-led movements, have quickly turned ugly, violent, destructive and bloody.
When involved in collective bargaining by riot, the people seldom have the greater good of all in mind. They rarely think or care much about the much bigger picture. They have no way of comprehending how the ripples of their actions will, in the fullness of time, not just lead to their eventual success, but to a myriad of unfathomable lateral repercussions.
Sure, there already is unrest in our streets and our hearts. There is plenty of anger and resentment, induced mostly by the fear of missing out. It is within these emotions that, potentially, is incubating the next urban danger to ourselves – made by ourselves.
Serious question #2: Is it possible to fix the future while, culturally, we remain solution-focused as per the dictates of the 150-year-old Darwinian model which equates physical strength with force and power and which thrusts young and old into forced competitions, conflict and separation of one sort or another?
The quick answer is no.
Top that up with the even more ancient conviction that the solutions to all that ails us inside and out depends entirely on our ability to seek change at the hand of another, to transform the other, or by altering our physical circumstances.
We are well-practised at replacing or rearranging pieces on the landscape of our lives, as we might do with Lego bricks.
Throughout the centuries, we have become firm in the belief that solutions found outside of ourselves will be the panacea that will, one day, relieve our physical pain, our emotional isolation, the dullness of our lives, for us, salary and status seekers – and make our future all rosy.
Easy street! The good life!
Spoiler: What we think today shapes our tomorrow. This is not a cliché. It is a very gritty reality.
Not for the faint-hearted
In the absence of a clear vision of the social change in which we would like our grandchildren to thrive, it is proving difficult to move forward.
But, then again, how to begin manufacturing a sustainable vision that is both personal and community-aware – not only within our country but also within the vaster global context?
Daunting, to say the least!
Anyone’s move away from self-interest, concern only for getting what one wants or needs, pursued without genuine regard for others not linked to us or our cause – the mindset on which our civilisation has been founded and sustained – would be a great start.
Acting with audacity once convinced that this is the honest way to go, based on real facts gathered from unbiased, multi-faceted personal research and consideration, would be a wonderful second step.
There is no quick fix to rebuilding anything from the ground up while maintaining in place the ‘features’ that are most worth preserving.
Long haul, yes, but let us remember that this original thinking is intended to begin bearing fruit many years from now at the earliest and to come into full vitality much further in time – but maybe not too late for our grandchildren’s adulthood.
We, as individuals, here and now, can do no more than plant the seeds, give them access to sunlight and water.
The rest will depend, as it always does, on karmic synergy and its combined effect greater than the sum of our separate effects. And, of course, on Providence.
In unity, we might stand
In Latin, there is a phrase, Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.
It has been adopted by many European countries perhaps because, even centuries ago, it was already understood that the emotional and physical advantages of unity and bonding with others were essential elements for survival – even animals in the wild sense this.
The French say, un pour tous, tous pour un.
The Germans say, Einer für alle, alle für einen.
The Italiens say, Uno per tutti, tutti per uno.
In English, we say, One for all, all for one.
More hope for a vastly improved future should lie in our hearts and minds, just as much as it should lie in the minds and hearts of the upcoming wave of politicians, opinion shapers, CEOs, managers and parents.
It would be best if a fresh perspective arose from a blend of cultural backgrounds, genders, social status and age groups.
Then, we could hope that one emotion, one thought, one decision, one bill at a time, one open-hearted conversation at a time, the ones ‘in charge’ would have the wherewithal to engineer a coherent but radically different way of ‘doing life’.
The focus would be a revamped sense of equality and loyalty – not just to their chosen clan but to all of Earth’s people and Earth, herself.
Onward and upward
Each in their own way, these ordinary citizens would move upward a vision motivated by the determination to help and protect the other, as they would like the other to help and protect them against all manner of challenges – and include all that is intended to thrive on our planet.
If not, how else will elderly Gen Z’ers – and their grown children – avoid being funnelled into a dystopic vortex far greater than we one that we have been birthing?
You change the world by being yourself – Yoko Ono
Sweet words, of course, but it is not that easy pinning down who we truly are as authentic selves. It is, however, default-easy to accept our persona as real and to knee-jerk our way through life according to her impulses.
Shaped by an endless flurry of reactions to emotions based on beliefs, the memory of past perceptions and, of course, what of cultural and sociocultural influences we have integrated have morphed into essential aspects of our Modus Operandi – our personality, our very own interactive program – the seat of all human shortcomings.
If not in the home, then where?
It is equally daunting to think of revealing ourselves to others.
It is much easier to open up to a stranger on a long flight or train ride than it is to open up to our loved ones.
However, if it is true that, as the saying goes, charity begins in the home, presumably so should authentic love, honesty and transparency.
Share. Hug. Heal.
Not easy being attuned
Serious questions: how to define ‘being yourself’ in a culture that we have allowed to be driven by others’ opinions and by concepts shaped far more by the media than by one’s thorough understanding of self and the world beyond the self?
Then, what does this impressionable, malleable self understand of the ever-broader, intertwined, complications and implications of global current-day realities that, though created through the senses, are very real to us, mere humans?
How should each one of us approach the elementary question, Who Am I, really? Like, deep down, without also thinking why am I so afraid to explore this simple question?
Whether one is thinking about one’s persona or one’s authentic self, culturally, two dovetailing, heart-in-mouth questions, present themselves.
- What if I tell who I am and you don’t like me anymore?
- Why am I afraid to tell you who I am on the inside?
Rethinking thinking should be trending
Making time and space to work out genuine answers to these questions and dealing with the answers from our core would constitute a valid change for the better.
One of us multiplied by millions of others on the same quest can, indeed, change the world by simply by putting our best selves forward.
Of course, shifting the focus of our aspirations is another prerequisite derived from understanding ourselves better.
We cannot change others, not permanently, but we are always able to change seats, change tribe and rethink thinking.
© 2017 Carole Claude Saint-Clair