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Friday, June 22, 2012

All for One

All for One

Much of the propaganda that inundates the world’s population is
designed to justify animosities and conflicts, whether religious,
racial or political.

But there is a larger truth that also must be understood – that we
are all in this together, as Winslow Myers notes.

By Winslow Myers
Consortium News
June 22, 2012

The single most powerful idea that needs to be seeded into world
culture as rapidly as possible is that we are one interdependent
whole on this planet.

Difficult as the implications may be for us to grasp, it will have only
a salutary effect upon world politics, economics, cultural diversity,
and religious practice.

Going further, it could be asserted that the internalization in the
human mind and heart of this idea is the way evolution itself will
manifest itself at this unfolding moment of history.

For relief from such headache-inducing abstractions, I often walk
a path that takes me along a tidal river to a midden, a cliff-high
mound of oyster shells left from the summer gatherings of
indigenous Americans over millennia.

The midden slopes to a beach where horseshoe crabs forage along
the sandy shallows—a species so resilient that it has sustained itself
unchanged for 445 million years.

The process that has allowed horseshoe crabs to flourish for so long
has operated instinctually, on “automatic,” in a roller coaster ride
up into breathtaking diversity and down into five vertiginous
moments of mass extinction, as life-forms jostled for their place in
the ecosystem.

Those forms that adapted survived. Those that did not disappeared,
leaving only their fossil remains.

Scientists tell us we are into a sixth dizzying plunge as thousands of
species go extinct around us. Natural selection continues to operate
at full throttle.

Meanwhile, an “unnatural” factor, human consciousness, entered
the scene.

In what has been only an instant of evolutionary time, it became
dominant—rather, it has assumed dominance over the system while
in reality remaining totally subject to the system’s every law and
principle.

The “other” in the twoness of self and other is not only the
perceived enemy or opposing viewpoint.

The other is also the natural world that until now we have
perceived as an infinite resource subject to our command and
exploitation, rather than as the ground of our own sustained
vitality. We can be no healthier than it.

If the Chinese continue to operate their coal-fired power plants,
the largest single source of carbon emissions in the world, the
military-economic competition between China and the United
States will become at best irrelevant and at worst a potential
disaster.

If the United States continues to use up a third of all global
resources, it will matter little whether Iran produces a nuclear
weapon or not.

These ecological realities behind our conflicts rarely surface
in political campaigns because we are entranced by obsolete
competitive metaphors: our politics are not the civil contribution
of workable ideas based in interdependency.

Instead they are a Super Bowl contest. Super Bowl twoness is
the obsolete thought-paradigm that informs everything we do.

We compete from birth to death. We compare ourselves endlessly
with others. We envy those who are wealthier or better looking or
apparently happier, and look down upon those less fortunate than
ourselves with a distancing pity or contempt.

In a thousand daily ways, we take sides.

Especially in the United States our politics, our legislatures and
courts, executive leaders, and mass-media discourse are dominated
by polarized allegiance to conservative or progressive opinion.

A Republican president and vice-president administer a torture
program of global reach, a program that would subject them to
potential criminal trial by Nuremburg standards, but they have
enough support among both Republicans and Democrats—given
our fear of the terrorist “other”—to receive a pass.

A Democratic president supervises a drone program that violates
the sovereignty of other nations and kills innocents at his personal
command, also a program that could arguably subject him to
potential criminal trial by Nuremburg standards. But he too enjoys
enough support to receive a pass.

We citizens whose collective will our leaders are sworn to
enact continue in our moral ambivalence—our troubled twoness.

Instead of the practical imperative of the Golden Rule, that bow
toward the truth of interdependence found in all the major world
religions, we live by the half-truth of “you’re either with us or
against us.”

At the fateful moment in October 1962 when superpower
competition, in the form of the Cuban Missile Crisis, brought the
planet as close as it has been to thermonuclear annihilation, who
was the enemy?

Who was the “other”? Was it not war itself? Was it not ignorance
itself? Why is this not equally true in every competitive
confrontation from the international to the intimately personal?

We humans emerged from a uni-verse. This is the single context out
of which came all our religions, all our cultural and ethnic diversity,
our constantly calibrated sense of twoness.

The great next step of the evolutionary process is from twoness
to oneness, not as a New Age bromide but as an evolutionary
necessity.

This step can only take place in the way individual humans feel
and think, as we, we upon whose decisions rests the fate of all
life-forms on the planet, mature into willingness to look into
how we can contribute to the health of the whole system.

Poet Robert Frost wrote:

Nature within her inmost self divides

To trouble men with having to take sides.

Frost’s couplet distills the depth to which competition is
structured into evolution. But we are awakening to the
fundamental unity behind our twoness.

As a Peace Corps volunteer once said, “The earth is a sphere,
and a sphere has only one side. We are all on the same side.”

Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Sunnis, Iranians, Jews, fans of
Limbaugh, fans of Maddow, horseshoe crabs—we’re all in this
together.


Winslow Myers, author of Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,
serves on the Board of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org), a non-
profit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model
and promote the means for humanity to live without war.

http://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/22/all-for-one/

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