An emphasis on aggression, violence and winning at all costs is creating a disorder that is paralyzing our nation, writes Richard A. Wilde.
Our visual media is obsessed with blowing things up. The fireball explosion has become the iconic symbol of nearly every action TV show and movie these days. The pieces of debris dramatically fly apart until gravity pulls them back to earth.
I wonder if these images emerge from our cultural unconscious to reveal the reality of the political and economic disintegration in our society. The energy of the body politic is fueled by the chaotic and emotionally charged mix of conflicting ideas, beliefs, attitudes, biases, inflated egos and prejudices.
Naming and blaming is rampant. Actual violence breaks out frequently. The fragments of this psycho/emotional explosion are flying away from the center and becoming more extreme and isolated. Like the Cliven Bundys of the world, many have become so isolated that they seem to have entered some fantasy land of their own making.
Gravity organizes matter by pulling it toward the center. Mind is the organizer of thoughts, ideas and concepts, but unlike gravity, mind has no known natural center to draw concepts and ideas together unless we create one.
The U.S. Constitution was created for that purpose but it is now under attack from many directions. Our politically fragmented citizenry is interpreting it in conflicting ways. Former Supreme Court justice Stevens has recommended five changes he thinks will strengthen the Constitution to reduce divisive interpretations. This is a good starting place and could build momentum to a wake-up call that sufficiently raises our consciousness to enable healing the disorder now paralyzing our nation.
The metaphor of sowing and reaping aptly applies to the major change of mind that is needed to achieve a change of fundamental proportions in American culture.
We have been sowing seeds of:
n Promoting aggression and the use of force with war metaphors like “the war on drugs,” “the war on crime,” “the war on poverty,” “the war on terrorism,” etc., and reaping a harvest of an “us versus them” mindset that contributes to distrust and conflict.
n Glamorizing the gun as a means of independence, safety, power and justice and reaping a harvest of violent crimes committed with guns.
n Placing excessive emphasis on winning and gaining wealth and reaping a harvest of cheating, dishonesty, crime and gross income disparity.
n Resisting acceptance of human diversity and reaping a harvest of a fragmented social fabric contributing to a widespread sense of alienation and isolation and disrespect for and lack of trust in others.
We must start sowing seeds of uniting to central values based on equality, compassion, caring, fairness and justice in order to reap the harvest of a more prosperous, just and enduring American culture.