Perceiving Ourselves More Clearly So, We Can Perceive the World Around Us More Clearly and Act More Powerfully
A wonderful friend wrote a powerful and frightening article about the situation we humans face right now. I can’t share it here because he’s sent it out and it hasn’t, yet, been published. But I would like to share its central insight.
Most of us already know how difficult the situation is now, between climate change, the threats of autocracy, hate-manipulated gun violence, war, etc. We might be consumed by so many concerns that we get lost in fears and retreat to the usual, the safe. But what we face is not usual and not at all safe.
I sometimes wonder if we can even conceive of the challenge we face. We need our rational minds to evaluate all the evidence. But maybe we need to feel it even more than grasp it. We certainly can imagine what a small town looks like after a massive tornado; or what a city like New Orleans looked like after the flooding of Katrina. Or what burned out towns in California look like or cities when sidewalks and streets melt from the increasing heat. This is the face of the climate emergency. And whatever we’ve seen in the past, we’ll probably be seeing worse in coming days and years.
We might read about what it was like living in cities like London before environmental regulations were passed, when people couldn’t go outdoors without getting sick due to torrential smog. Or we can imagine a world without any wildlife outside zoos, no lions, tigers, and bears, no elephants, no eagles and ravens, no owls. Or no honeybees. Without bees, no honey, no fruit, no crops.
Or what happens to a nation when increasing hate fueled violence, like in Buffalo, NY fills the streets. The number of hate crimes has more than doubled since 2015, when DJT first ran for office. Or what a dictator like Putin is doing to Ukraine or what would happen if a white nationalist or Nazis became president or Dictator.
Or what happens when children are forced to read or learn about only what people driven by hate, bigotry, and lust for power want them to read. Or when women are no longer allowed to control their own healthcare options or how their bodies are treated.
My friend feels the terrifying frustration of seeing a threat so clearly yet also feeling powerless to stop it. I think he speaks the fear and concern that a majority of Americans feel. But for him, only dramatic changes will be noticed. Little changes can get lost in the storm clouds of images of what might be coming. Crying out to the world, “Why can’t anyone stop this?” can drive anyone crazy.
Yet, a democracy is all about many people doing relatively small actions together. The wheels of law and change can move with painful slowness.
A few close friends talked with him about not obsessing over these awful possibilities. And he knows this. But words do not reach deep enough to lift us out of an image of oblivion.
He spells out or shouts out a clear line of action we can all take….
*To read the whole post, please go to The Good Men Project.