“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” – Dr. Jack Kruse
I am seeing that there are three great fundamental problems that affect us, collectively and individually, and they are not going away anytime soon.
- Financial/political rigging – Leveraged capital, crony financial networks, overt political criminality, inequality in law enforcement, etc. has lead to a rotting social fabric.
- Medical/health tsunami – from education to public propaganda to a corrupt medical system that ‘works’ by not healing people paves the road to unnecessary human decline.
- Accumulated pollution and the trend of ecosystem functional decline – the natural world we live in and depend on has been coming undone. Directing our focus on problems that we cannot change blinds us to those we can improve. Understanding the dynamics of the planet is woefully lacking. Promises of future off-planet human habitation are a wasteful ruse.
One way of looking at all our problems is that they originate in our minds. So do we need to mechanically fix the myriad external manifestations as a first order of business or change our personal and collective attitude?
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” – Albert Einstein
I don’t find much to dispute with ‘Uncle Al’ on that but I want to emphasize that the persistence of problems is the big problem. Our experience of life is not a without trials and tribulations. That is fundamental to existence and is to be expected. Problems that don’t go away will continuously degrade our everyday existence. If a problem is resolved then what is the problem? Persistence means that the energy driving the problem is being actively propagated by something whether it is recognized or not.
Instead of jumping in to characterize each of the three major issues that I’ve listed above and to offer solutions, discussing the nature of mankind’s perpetual poor thinking might be helpful first.
Ideas and social memes are volatile, not fixed. People tend to move to them like a flock of birds moves about in the environment. But, eventually they will fly away to somewhere else of interest. Why? Birds are not plants. They are designed to move about. That is their nature. Birds are individuals yet collectively they tend to move together within certain limitations of time and space.
For humans, certain ideas and behaviors seem worthwhile. Eventually, different ideas and behaviors gain appeal or worthiness in our minds. It can be hard to pinpoint exact causative factors for that change but ultimately that has little importance. What does have importance is whether the new ideas and behavior have real tangible value. Does it make our lives better? Is it about being perfect? No, it just has to be better than the previous version.
The problem is that no situation stays the same in the real world. A flock of bird lands in a field and eventually consumes the available food resources in that area. Now it is time to move to find more food to keep the body fueled so life can continue and hopefully thriving. The important thing is to know when it is time to move on, either intuitively or consciously. Knowing exactly where to go to find more food is not necessary. More food will most likely be found if you move along. Magical thinking might say that more food might simply appear if you stay put. Real awareness is the foundation for appropriate action.
Our own awareness and internal processing guides our future behavior. If we do not recognize that our continued behavior does not serve us then we will ultimately fail, individually and/or collectively. For instance, you can recognize the failure of modern medicine to appropriately deal with a chronic disease but what can you do personally to change the situation? Failure is often obvious and hopefully compelling. When things seem to be working out, the status quo has no reason to change. If it ain’t broke, why fix it!
The crux of the problem is that people stay married to old thinking and behavior even when it does not work anymore. Change is hard for most people. It seems to create varying degrees of psychological discomfort. This is why things can go from bad to worse easily. A bad situation may not be a strong enough signal sometimes. Really bad might get your attention. But now what? Do we have better ideas to draw on? What if we had broad thinking that had been engaged before a crisis rears its head. This implies supporting forethought and a degree of sufficiently liberal attitudes and a culture that does not ostracize for out-of-the-box thinking. There is a balance of heterogeneity that serves society as well as the individual.
Having a society that has within it different levels of awareness and thinking does not have to be contentious. It does not have to be about different agendas. Species survival is the agenda. Uniformity of thought and action might seem desirable until survival in a changing world starts to fail.
Social/political/financial power can serve only one of two masters. Special interests can try to control relationships so that those power interests are happy with the outcomes. Often this is done through the use of coercion or subterfuge of one sort or another. Special interests do not consider their means as problematic because of their single mindedness. This creates volatile cultures that eventually convulse. Lack of harmony leads to greater discord. Factionalism is a lack of unifying vision not necessarily a lack of finely-tuned uniform thinking/behavior. Disenfranchised groups will not be happy in skewed situations. Institutionalize conflict is a huge waste of energy.
The alternative master is that of the entire group, society or culture. This does not mean that people give up anything that causes them true distress. The principles of a society has to be worthy for all. Smarter people do not know what is best for others. A degree of diversity in attitudes and behavior creates a robust society that has its niches filled.
Looked at from a different angle, it is not about somebody or subgroup being correct. It is not about following those displaying more gravitas or any other social affectation. Ultimately, society serves all or none. It is not the Protector or the Provider. It is a super-organism whose parts work towards the good of society.
Perhaps one last analogy can be drawn. There are thousands of mitochondria found inside each of our cells. It is thought that they were once a type of bacteria that found refuge inside of a larger cellular organism hundreds of millions years ago. For most animal species, mitochondria produce about 90% of the energy the cell needs to function properly. Coadaption with the other parts of the cell, such as the nucleus, has made it impossible for mitochondria to survive by themselves outside of the cell. Likewise, the cell cannot survive without the energy provided by mitochondrial processes. It takes a massive amount of energy for the eukaryotic cell to do its normal activities. It has adapted entirely to the energy relationship it has with mitochondria. Furthermore, over the lifetime of the cell, the genetics of the mitochondria diverge somewhat. Their ability to subtly mutate is used to advantage when a new environment becomes home. The most appropriately efficient mitochondria reproduce advantageously within the cell. Mitochondria that are less efficient get their numbers squeezed over time. This is the culling that happens on a cyclic basis as mutations can happen to some degree all the time. This high mutating tendency of mitochondria (compared to the cell nuclear genes) allows them to adapt the cell’s energy production to changing circumstances. This is a dynamic process based on the sensitive nature of healthy mitochondria (its awareness, if you will).
Each of us provide energy for society to function. It happens not by us being clones of some rigid social order but through our awareness of our particular local environment and our response to what we sense. Most of us could not survive as isolated individuals. We work best together in a semi-structured manner to a broad goal of social cohesion to further this super-organism that is the meta-structure of language, knowledge and creative expression. This takes our constant energy input to maintain. That is what we do. Surely, this empowers our lives in many ways for our greater fulfillment.