I wrote this series out of concern for the future of our democracy.
The most significant problem we face as a nation is our growing separation from one another. Previously trusted institutions, including government, business, and religion, fail to champion needed solutions. My thesis is that we’ve reached a point where change is required from the ground up, from inside-out, from you and me.
The series didn’t address policy or politics. Instead, it dealt with changes required at a personal level.
In the preceding posts in this series, I shared my opinions on how we got to this stage, why we’ve drifted apart, our responsibility to the future, what’s in it for us, and finally, how we might make the needed changes.
Now I will attempt to wrap this up.
Every computer consists of physical architecture married to an operating system. The physical components are relatively standard. The operating software is where the rubber meets the road. Operating software determines how a computer functions. No matter how ingeniously designed, all operating systems require updates to “fix bugs and improve functionality.” We’ve reached that point as a human species and a Nation.
Our Granddaughter just turned two. It’s fascinating to watch her “boot up” into consciousness. If she were a computer, we would hear the signature musical chords announcing the launch of her operating system as she loads the various components of knowledge and psychological functioning into her life. Adalyn has brand new hardware and the latest operating system. She gives me hope!
The rest of us are more like my six-year-old Mac Book Pro. We still function, but not without problems and the need for regular system updates.
This series advocates the need for a major operating system update.
The new update will improve our ability to function from a consciousness of “We.” It will require time to download and new keystrokes to operate. The reward will come when it overwrites the “malware” of divisiveness on our hard drive, and enables functionality compatible with a better future.
Silly analogy, right?
Or maybe not!
We will never completely change. We are “Self” centered by design. That’s not to say we can’t learn to function in new ways. With practice, it is possible to build more “We” into our consciousness.
We should never underestimate the power we have individually to drive positive change.
The “ask” I am making in this series is to commit to devoting time each day to practice seeing from the perspective of “We.” The mid-term elections are right around the corner, giving us plenty of opportunity to practice.
Mindfulness practice, which systematically teaches us to let go of incessant thoughts (and hence “Me”), is the best way I know to grow a “We” mindset.
Not everyone is ready to commit to mindfulness practice. An alternative might be to develop a practice using the natural world as a guide, such as the “Discipline of Seeing” approach I suggested in Part 4 of this series.
Still another way is to learn to push the “Stop” button. By this I mean, when something or someone from the “other-side” upsets you, simply press “Stop” and redirect your psychic energy to our shared humanity.
Ultimately we must learn to accept one another. I’m not saying agree, but rather, accept.
When it comes right down to it, we have have far more in common than the politial positions that separate us. The columnist David French sums this up nicely, “Each of us will be far more defined by who we are rather than where we stand.”
The journey to “We” reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen song lyric: “One step up, and two steps back.” Still, our emotional well-being improves with every step taken toward “We!”
I’ll close with David Bowie:
“It’s time to make a change!”
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