Since the two impediments to peace and love are fear and ignorance, we can safely say that, “It’s the Fear, Stupid.”
What we need to recognize to get started on the journey to global recovery.
My friend, James, stopped by the coffee house today (my office away from home-office–Peet’s café in San Anselmo, CA) and confirmed what I had suspected are the biggest impediments to a successful and healthy society…
I had shared with him this passage from Bill Bradley’s’ book, The New American Story where Bill says, “The only things that can stop us are fear, ignorance, self-centeredness, and greed.” James’ top two picks of the week for the main villains dragging humanity around in the mire of disease, destruction and suffering were fear and ignorance.
So how does one or how do we, as a collective, diffuse the fear and educate the ignorant, especially when the ignorant are too frightened to be educated or to ignorant to know that they are run by fear?
This is not to take anything away from all our best efforts to actually solve the problems that are the result of fear, ignorance, self-centeredness, and greed. But let’s face it, until we find ways to reduce the toxicity contained in these human attitudes, (not to mention our addiction to them) we will always be putting out the fires they’ve initiated.
Now these fires have their upside, to be sure…they keep us on our creative toes, adaptive, and compassionate, but really, how much fear, ignorance, self-interest and greed do we really need to develop these valuable traits that empower us to succesfully engage to life’s challenges? I could do with less, couldn’t you?
Now, of course it isn’t “they” (these attitudes), but “us” (these humans) that are at both cause and effect here, but it is these un-examined impulses operating through us that are wreaking havoc on the human/bio/atmospheric systems. So, if we really want to arrest the forces that are responsible for dis-equality, environmental degradation, war, alienation, obscene deficits, disease, people who are late, insensitive, lazy, irresponsible… “stupid and ignorant”, etc. (fill in the blank), then we must find a way to address the raw phenomena of fear and ignorance…and their first cousins, greed and self-centeredness.
Now, the last time we checked, we found humanity hanging on the precipice of some serious global shit. How can we, members of the human race, interface with humanity to “head it off at the ‘past”? How can we, the hero, if not save the day, at least save some of the future days so that posterity won’t have to deal with the troublesome and smelly legacy of our fear and ignorance.
Let’s start by addressing and attending to the fear that drives…well…me…and to become willing to admit, at least as a starting point, that ‘I don’t know all there is to know,” and…whoa!…apparently, I’m on my way (Watch out transformation, here I come…buckle up, Errol). Yes, until each of us recognizes the degree that we operate out of fear and that what we “know” is miniscule in the face of what we don’t know, we won’t initiate the degree and quality of change the systems requires to “right itself.”
For better or worse, it is calamity that drives most of us to that recognition. Do we need to wait for the onslaught of pain and degradation to engage the process or can we roll up our sleeves, divest ourselves of pretentions, and get to work being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and face our ignorance and fear and apply ourselves to their respective diminish-ment?
So how about we begin the journey by dis-ignorant-ing ourselves of the tacit assumption that we are not driven by fear? That fear will drive us into the mistaken notion that something of the finite, which we have made an absolute in our own minds, will save us. (It can be money, or Allah, or Jesus, or winning people’s approval or the right lover, the cheapest price, anything really…some “idol” that we were warned should not be put before the All-Oneness of Infinity, some addiction that we perpetuate to hold on to our dear delimited life…so that we can feel safe and alive. We attempt to make something finite fulfill the role of the absolute. Talk about ignorant…no wonder we’re so scared.
Indeed, many of us, much of the time, grasp on to some tightly held perspective to ward off the dangers of the unknown (just beyond our self-definition) which is eager to gobble us up and leave no clue of our negligible existence behind. And thus we remain frightened, ignorant and dominated by self-interest and greed.
So there you have it…next blog…what to do? Or more precisely, how can we relate to ourselves and each other in such a way as to liberate and act upon our highest wisdom and deepest levels of compassion so that fear and ignorance don’t so effectively dominate our minds, hearts and wills?