Growing up across the river from Washington, I hated politics. I thought social studies was “boring!” Looking back what has always bothered me about politics is how power makes people act like assholes. Studying history it all seem so — inefficient – all that arguing didn’t matter until you do the right thing and stopped being selfish jerks. My younger self had no patience for the long arc of history to arrive at justice. Frankly, I’m not sure if my old self does either.
I left the D.C. area after high school and returned after nearly two decades. It’s a crazy time to be living here during the Trump years, although I suspect it would have pulled me back in no matter where I was in the world. It’s impossible and irresponsible to eschew politics these days.
My heart is breaking, watching our country tear itself apart. Blame the media, fake news, foreign trolls etc. I think what’s going on,
Is bigger than that.
We are witnessing the growing pains of a significant shift not just in U.S. politics but in humanity. It is the transition from a survival-focus to a growth-focus.
Stepping beyond the veil of “survival”
In his book, “Deviate” Beau Lotto observes the human mind has evolved for one primary reason – “survival.” For most of human history – all our systems and organizations and power has been constructed to ensure our physical survival.
In a survival mindset, the mind is focused, alert and primarily concerned about the physical self, the ego, and the tribe. In contrast, a growth mindset is relaxed, curious and expansive. Once basic physical needs, food, shelter, physical security are met and money is not a concern – a growth mindset is achievable.
Hippy Translation: If you’ve ever meditated on the chakras, you understand that it is the balance (chakra 4) of our humanity (chakras 1,2,3) and our “divinity” (chakras 5,6,7) – and alignment that is ideal.
Where the problem lies
That survival “game” is only the preliminary phase. Unfortunately, the winners of that “game” are reluctant to give up their power (money, status, political etc.) rooted in the physical world in favor of a more inclusive game with new rules and new values.
Those folks are locked in survival mode. It’s a narrow, dimmed focus, that “cannot afford to be kind.” Kindness, art, love, generosity, global community is a luxury for the delusional, pampered and weak.
That point of view is limited and sad (ugh — I hate how Trump ruined that world).
The world reflects what we give it. If we give it war, scarcity, and cruelty, it will reflect war, scarcity, and cruelty. In other words, whether you believe in survival or growth you are right.
“I didn’t even think about being happy,” was the feedback several top clients gave Marshall Goldsmith in his New York Times best-selling book, “Triggers.” It’s a sentiment that seems to be more prevalent among older generations. You work to live and to provide for your family. You can be happy when you retire or die. (If you think that sounds absurd, you are probably an artist, born after 1980, or European.)
What do warriors do when there is no war?
We need our warriors to stop fighting old battles and to give up the fight for the status quo or a reversion to an era of inequity (#MAGA). We’re better than that.
Our fight for survival has been a warm-up for our fight for understanding and growth.
Staring into the depths of the universe, into the tabla rasa of our understanding is as daunting as fighting for survival.
I think it’s a far more interesting and worthwhile game – and I suspect we’re going to need that creativity for this next phase as we discover how to live sustainably.
- War of Art – Stephen Pressfield (for discussion on artists v. fundamentalists)
- Yale Experiment Turning Conservatives Liberal
- Why are evangelicals so cruel
- Chakras & Maslow
- Deviate – The mind evolved for one thing survival