Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How We Keep Ourselves at Odds With One Another

There are so many forces which tend to divide us when peaceful co-existence is so greatly needed. To make matters worse, we seem to emphasize the things which divide us and which cause us to see every situation as "us vs. them". Some examples are: liberal vs. conservative, Republican vs. Democrat, Christian (or Muslim or Jew) vs. non-Christian (or Muslim or Jew), American vs. foreigner, male vs. female, straight vs. gay, etc. In each case the goal , too often, is to prevail at the other's expense..
These are not the attitudes which produce peace, harmony, prosperity and happiness in our lives. Instead, these are the attitudes which keep us in constant conflict with one another, and usually have negative results for all. Creating winners and losers seldom resolves anything.. Resolutions are more likely when we create a win/win situation. Our attitude is the key.

In my opinion, there are some essential elements in developing the most constructive attitude, namely being honest, fair and considerate in our dealings with each other. There are obstacles to such a code of ethics, namely:
1. Religious dogma.
2. The addiction to power.
3. Fear---of being taken advantage of; of being ridiculed; of being ostracized by
friends and family.
4. Our tendency to be arrogant.
5. Our tendency to act out of emotions to the exclusion of reason.
So, what is a first step we can take to overcoming these obstacles? We can begin by focusing on what we all have in common.
A. We all like the idea of individual liberty, the freedom to conduct our lives as we wish. This must be limited to the extent that it does not infringe on the rights of others to do the same.
B. We all want to be respected and not put down, or taken advantage of, or oppressed.
C. We all want sufficient food, shelter, health care, and the opportunity to earn a living..
D. We all want to be able to make a living.
In other words, we are all in the same boat. Most of us do not expect these things to be handed to us. We just wish to to pursue them without interference by either government or persons. Problems arise when we, consciously or subconsciously, are too quick to blame others when things don't go our way.



At Sunday, December 28, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Frank,
Here, Here!! I say. The dilemna is how to get the world to have more of a sense that we are all in this together. Our evolutionary wiring is strong for us vs them. I have a poet friend who sent me a poem for the holiday. I'll send it to you. Mad but mighty. Martha


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