More questions than answers
September 2021 A.D.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” – written by Paul the Apostle circa 50 A.D. – Corinthians 13:11
Almost 2000 years later, putting away childish things and childish thinking is still an act of heroism, so difficult it is to execute.
That’s because, to define our selves and our purpose, we must think for our selves.
And that has proven more and more difficult with each passing generation, particularly since the Industrial Age that began in the 1700s.
The ultimate aim of thinking for our selves being the ability to manage attainable, short term, measurable goals intended as stepping stones to a sustainable level of contentment, is a mature mindset that has generally eluded us.
Serious question #1: as ‘neutral observers’ with our thoughts on what seems to be our global mindset, how truly evolved is our separate and collective default thinking?
Serious question #2: would now be a good time to be like the gardener who plants a tiny seed and, one day, celebrates the abundance it produces?
Possible answer #1: Yes, for sure!
Possible answer #2: Uh … no, not yet.
Possible answer #3: how would I know?
Serious question #3: what makes a s/hero?
Some say it is the one who is impulsively propelled into danger to protect others.
Others say it is the one who, fully aware of the likelihood of grave emotional or physical danger to themselves, races forward undeterred to protect others.
It could also be said that a s/hero consciously makes personal sacrifices for the greater cause.
Could we also say that a s/hero refuses to let us forget that one inequity or another is ongoing and that the mental and physical health of millions known and unknown, near and far, is at risk?
Bottom line: a s/hero is not afraid to raise awareness, not afraid to stands up to make things better for themselves (when needed as needed) – and for others, too.
A s/hero takes action calmly, coherently and emphatically.
A s/hero prioritises holistic wellness because the sustained coherence and clarity necessary to correctly assist others are unattainable without it.
Heads up: a s/hero does all of the above within her/his family/clan/circle of influence first before attempting to be a s/hero who saves the world.
Reality check: dear Reader, though each of us walks on different paths, at a different pace, carrying different gear and wearing different footwear – we are all on a journey.
We are all on the same kind of journey.
That journey is one that, beyond eyes, hand and feet coordination, also demands gut, heart and mind coherence.
So, wouldn’t it be lovely to be and ‘stay woke’, as goes the expression Millennials have retrieved from the past, meaning awake and alert to racial/social discrimination and injustice, whenever they penetrate our awareness from near or far?
Yes, it would be lovely but, as J. Saunders Redding, an African American author and educator, was quoted saying in 1942, “Let me tell you buddy. Waking up is a damn sight harder than going to sleep, but we’ll stay woke up longer.”
The ability to think of, co-create or accept culture-enhancing practices is what being truly awake and aware, here and now, on planet Earth is all about.
It is intuitive.
Some might say it’s soul-inspired.
Positioning our selves in that space is s/hero stuff 😊
With J. Saunders Redding’s words in mind, the time might be ripe for us to step out of what seems a reality that exists only in the virtual plane of our separate and collective mind to better and be real about What really Is encapsulated within each moment underfoot.
Meandering off on a tangent: looking at what has historically has come to pass gives us a magnified idea of how much is at risk when, separately and collectively, in locked step and driven by a Me-first mindset, we ‘touch’ what should be left well enough alone.
The Australian Aboriginal peoples, the world’s oldest civilisation, were doing fine until our European ancestors, invaders by any other name, ripped them apart from their kin, their livelihood, their land – and their culture.
Rooted deeply inside a 40,000-year-old culture, and speaking some 200 distinct languages or dialects, completely attuned to Nature, these indigenous people like all others had established sustainable ways to manage their society and culture.
A similar calamity befell the thriving indigenous peoples of what became ‘the United States’.
Native American Indians had settled there some 10,000 years earlier.
Pre-European colonisation, Africa was made up of some 10,000 different states.
It, too, contained a multitude of autonomous groups who adhered to a variety of distinct languages and customs.
Scattered away from Europe like the million pieces of a puzzle, all pre-existing cultures complemented each other.
They understood Nature.
They spoke to her. They heard her voice.
They knew conflicts, and they had conflict-resolution systems in place that worked for them.
Reality check: wherever the European seafaring powers landed, colonisation was sure to follow, and thriving indigenous cultures worldwide were torn apart, depleted, trivialised – and abused in multiple ways.
Clearly, the much-touted Christian ideal encapsulated in ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ attributed to Jesus must have fallen overboard during the long voyages across oceans.
Or perhaps that compassionate sentiment was nullified upon landing by a sort of caveat embedded in Leviticus 19:18- ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself.’
Reality check: most captains, crews and soldiers would not have considered those ‘primitive’ people on unknown lands as ‘our people’.
Besides, these invaders were probably not better at ‘loving’ themselves than we are.
The individual and collective dealings of these ancestors took a piece off those who actively took part.
They took a piece off those who acted as enablers.
And the consequences that have rippled out since are still taking a piece off us – a piece of our hearts.
A piece off our ability to observe neutrally.
To think coherently.
To raise a calm but brave fist when we feel – or observe – reactive racism.
Reality check: our civilisation has only begun to ‘blossom’ a few centuries ago since the rise of Western empires, but, already, scientists warn us that, collectively and separately, we are already on the brink of mass extinction and/or ecological collapse.
That, too, is ‘on us’, as the expression goes
The total sum of these damning realities tells us that we have proudly lived in an egocentric way for aeons and aeons.
Reality check: on a macroscale, we appear permanently stuck in childhood but equipped with deadly abilities that flow on from our emotions, our thoughts, our words, our reactions – our inactions – and all manner of weaponry.
Serious question #4: when we accept that interfering is not seeing and that dictating is also not seeing, are we able to, separately and collectively, learn how to see the world – and ALL that is in it – as alive and worthy of our respect and protection?
Serious questions: on a microscale, are we, separately and collectively, able to learn how to live like persons who have come of age, if only under our roofs – and within our extended clan, too?
Can we develop the degree of maturity that de-escalates mis-undersandings that destabilise our home life, friendships, and workplace?
And the energy in our streets?
And in communities?
And throughout the democracies we want to see more healthily democratic than they ever were?
Serious question #5: we know that the rate of suicide is still peeking across all age groups, genders and sexual orientation but, how likely is it that our Neanderthal or Homo sapiens ancestors were prone to taking their own lives when the years of famine, the very harsh winters and the equally harsh sunlight reduced the levels of their relative comfort?
It’s easy to assume males, females and their progeny, once they survived peril-fraught childhood, were physically tougher and emotionally more resilient than we have been, if only for the past couple of centuries.
Minder meandering question: one might wonder why in the English language, girls and women are generally referred to as ‘females’ and boys and men as ‘males’, as if humanity had preserved our animalistic traits?
We haven’t, have we?
Archaeology tells us that our earliest ancestors were skilled fighters – dangerous warriors, too.
We, of the Homo modernus species, have armies, police, weapon-carrying white supremacists, extremists and murderers in our midst, too.
Primitive males hunted far and wide.
They kidnapped and raped women.
Very young girls, too.
Not usually those of their own clan. But those they raped, they often killed.
Sometimes they ate them, too.
Here and now, though rare, cannibalism does exist.
But, here and now, near and far, rape, the often-brutal rape of children and women of all ages still occurs frequently – in every nook and cranny of the modern world.
Such acts of violence and control are as prevalent in 2021 as they were decades ago.
As in ancient times, many still go mostly unpunished.
True, the culture of stoning a woman to death has become obsolete in most parts of the world, and beheading is for now no longer a standard form of punishment.
Some progress has been made.
Sure, there are times when either fear or sociopathic compulsions overrule our better judgement. It is then that we lash out, sometimes with deadly intent.
There are times, too, when the stakes are differently high, we act with courage.
We behave courageously when we believe it’s worth our effort.
Courage happens when we perceive a worthwhile, meaningful goal in our environment.
Then, we raise a brave – and ideally – calm fist in protest.
We do that in a show of assistance to others.
The ‘stuff’ that is now fluttering through my awareness is domestic violence.
It’s still forever on the rise.
When violence happens that our calmer, rational minds can rationalise but not control, it’s worth rethinking our thinking.
Since the beginning of the C-19 pandemic, already some 18 months ago, authorities have been reporting that cases of domestic abuses have doubled and, in some socio-cultural sectors, tripled.
For me, that surge simply highlights a degree of incoherence in the tango we, girls and women, have been dancing with boys and men since … forever.
Let’s be clear: of course, it is not the overtly sexual feminisation of the ‘female’ body that, alone, triggers dangerous, dysfunctional behaviour in boys and men of all ages.
We know it’s an aspect of the enduring ‘culture’ we’ve inherited from our earliest, primitive ancestors who, scientists tell us, had no other way to think.
We know that, on the whole, boys and men are stronger, taller and heavier than girls and women. In fact, when it comes to what is aptly named ‘brute strength’, boys and men score 50% above most girls and women.
These facts are not open for a feminist debate on equality of the sexes.
They are aspects of the reality we have had to face since the dawn of time, and that reality enables boys and men to abuse the body and, indirectly, the heart and mind of girls and women whenever they lose the ability to self-control.
We know that now as in ancient times, the culture of misogyny often begins with how parents and relatives ‘bring up’ instead of ‘nurture’ their children.
So does, by the way, the culture of racism.
Heads up: behaviour internalised in the home – or in the schoolyard – seldom stays confined to the home – or the schoolyard.
Less easily explained is that, together and separately in the global and very vast cohort of Homo modernus, many boys, men, girls and women of all ages still shrug at the mention of home-based violence.
Others still enjoy turning the sexual abuse of ‘females’ into banter and derision.
In that, they find a bond.
We live in an unbalanced culture of fault-finding.
As self-conscious as we are, we imagine certain faults in ourselves while swiping over real shortcomings.
We find faults with our children, partners, spouses and friends more readily than we embrace their positive traits and actions.
We take those for granted – as we do ours.
We fault our colleagues and our neighbours, too.
Our government and all parties within it.
We focus on the unconscious reactive thoughts and actions of others.
We give them priority over their deployed acts of consciousness – their best efforts.
Reality check: we divide to conquer, but any conquering we might achieve is minimal and superficial – and because the consequence of conquering is retaliation, we remain stuck in a rut.
Of course, all of this warped negativity affects our energy and it, too, impacts those nearest us.
As it does those who are further away, too.
Even though we don’t know them and don’t even see them.
Our ego-persona wants to be seen.
It wants to be appreciated by us.
It wants to be recognised by others.
Others want to be seen by us, too.
Meanwhile, our inner self – Soul – only wants to be seen by us.
So, relying upon this higher consciousness to prompt our actions for the greater good of all, we dial down the monkey mind.
We let go of the ego. We let go of the drama.
We let go of our fears and insecurities, too.
As we do, in between deep inhales and slow exhales, we develop trust in Soul – ‘Emunah tamid,’ as Yudit CS, my Jewish-Israeli mentor, used to say.
We trust – we raise a calm fist.
We raise a brave fist in support for ‘our’ inner-outer growth.
We do that to assist peace under our roofs.
And throughout our extended clan.
In our workplace, in our streets, too.
We do that in support of peace in our hearts.
So, inward and outward, we observe neutrally.
We listen to our inner self, and we listen to others to better connect with all.
We give ourselves and others heart-based attention in the moments underfoot.
When we do that, we are on the path to S/herohood 🙂
So, yes, at times, we ‘turn a blind eye’ to What-Is affecting others near and far, be they visible or invisible to us – known or unknown.
Apathy is the opposite of empathy.
Life fear, it is also the opposing of courage.
They keep us slouched on the sofa instead of calmly but courageously stepping out.
Instead of speaking out, if only to our ‘loved ones’, our friends and our colleagues.
Reality check: apathy affects our quality of life just as much as it daily affects the fibre of our social culture.
The deficit for ‘everywhere/any time empathy’ is not limiting to our own modus operandi.
It is a cultural, global deficit.
Bottom line: when viewed from the pedestal of ‘apathy’, there is no need to ‘change the world’.
Once ‘woke’ in the manner understood by J. Saunders Redding, we should be able to dial up our determination to make a sustainable difference within and without.
It is then we are walking the path of S/herohood.
Of course, that means we are willing to engage in complicated conversations.
Of course, that means we are willing to listen and to surrender to uncertainty.
Of course, that means we are willing to volunteer for a degree of discomfort as we consciously choose to step forward on a path that, so far, our social culture has rendered rough and unfriendly.
But, then again, we know that Calm, Grounded and Courageous is ‘who’ we are.
So, yes, we ‘got this!’
Bottom line: s/heros is who we become!
Every quality needed is already within us.
They’re on standby.
They’re waiting to get activated.
Thank you, dear Reader, for allowing me into your day.