Not all stories have ‘better endings’, and some of life’s Shadow Teachers offer but bitter pills to swallow. After a long conversation with my sister, a pastor, yesterday and reading through several current blog posts around the web, I am left with some somber insights about where the recent election and anti-globalism in the world have brought us to from the point of view of lessons from history.
I am considering how American values and priorities are so focused on materiality today. It occurs to me—and please share your Comments below to offer your own viewpoint—that as a post-World War II set of generations in America, many of us grew up believing in the idea of “progress” AS IF having defeated Hitler’s genocidal ambitions, somehow all of human consciousness had taken a positive and irreversible, ‘quantum’ leap forward as a collective species. So then after that threat was dissolved, presumably we could focus on achieving prosperity, which came to mean seeking material advantages at any cost, including massive debt and, more sadly, bigotry and mean-spirited politics. Of course there have been many instances of genocide since, not boding well for human enlightenment, and the socioeconomic imbalances can cycle around to the very sorts of conditions that gave rise to ‘a Hitler,’ again.
We are deeply impoverished if materiality is all that we aim for. As well, social networking, “reality” TV and one-sided news stations magnify such paltry ambitions and selfish partisanship to an unprecedented magnitude, weakening the potential depth of heartfelt human relations or the capacity to sort out factual evidence and polarizing values so as to create artificial realities that fragment Truth like in a teleidoscope.
I have an inkling, at least for myself, of a strategy to combat mediocrity of experience in this physical materiopolis, to coin a Newspeak word. To counter negative cycles of History, what can I do? Well, I can examine my own cycles of life experience and ‘fix’ the errors there that have led to unfortunate or unsatisfactory results, Now. I believe that means—again, for me anyway—discerning and countering HABITS: habits of thought and attitude as well as health related habits. This can lead not only to my own better endings but it can also improve my relations with others in, at least, my world.
images are from pixabay.com
If many of us would choose to take to heart this opportunity to empower ourselves by overcoming negative habits accrued through our personal life histories, and if this practice of mindful self-improvement were to rise into prominence in the collective consciousness, what then? Could we bring about a new positive cycle even whilst in the outward throes of darker tendencies playing themselves out?
This is a more somber perspective than I usually put forth in this blog. But to me it feels like the lessons of history are calling out now for realism and positive action.