We are in a dramatic paradigm shift
So let us look beyond the election to the enduring Big Picture.
The human race is in the midst of a dramatic paradigm shift that will require that each of us transcends our tribal loyalties, our cultural conditioning, and our concept of patriotism. The reason for this shift is the movement of the invisible hand of the spiritual dimension which animates us all and has apparently decided that the human race is ready for a quantum leap in evolution. Resistance to this shift will result in continuing tension in our body politic and in our own families.
A paradigm is a worldview, a blueprint for how we conceive things to be, for example, there is only one true god and that god is fill-in-the-blank. I have responsibilities in relation to this god and there will be dire consequences if I do not live up to them. If I do live up to them however there will be a handsome reward.
“Tribal” refers to seeing the world through the customs and beliefs of those I was surrounded by in my childhood. “Cultural conditioning” describes the behaviors instilled in me by this tribe such as “always be helpful,” “you should be perfect,” “strive for high accomplishment,” “never admit it when you are wrong,” “revenge is good when the tribe has been insulted or attacked,” “that other race over there is inferior to us,” “you are special, more so than others.”
Our concept of patriotism is the extent to which we believe blindly in the goodness and good intentions of our country so that I read the headlines through that lens. For example, if a country to whom we give aid, does not like us, we view them instinctively as ungrateful and a little “bad” mark goes next to their name. Their point of view is dismissed.
The main messenger of this shift is the ongoing collision of cultures taking place on the planet. Spurred on by the dramatic migration of refugees from the Middle East, western nations are experiencing lots of people arriving who dress differently, and keep erecting mosques whose minarets clash with church steeples across the landscape and with the cultural identity of the locals. In the United States a black man whose race was once considered not equal to a whole person is completing his second term as president. Homosexuality which some believe is forbidden by the Bible and therefore must be against God’s will, is now protected as equal under the law and gay marriages are as sacred as heterosexual marriages.
All of these trends can be met with resentment and hostility or with hospitality and peaceful acceptance. The capacity for the latter lies in developed consciousness. Those who have it have a special responsibility in our time to speak up in a charitable and respectful way to describe what is going on and to highlight what is good about it. They also have a high responsibility to seek out proactively and relate to people unlike themselves in order to establish a dialogue characterized not by seeking to persuade or convert but to listen deeply, to accept lovingly, to explain themselves humbly, and to recognize that they and the other person are one.
(Bill O’Brien can be reached at email@example.com.)