Healing from Polarization

By Zach Van Houten

We need HEALING from the political, social and spiritual division we are experiencing, as well as the corresponding apathy that is a natural byproduct of a lack of collective vision. It is time to recognize that among those leaders we have historically looked up to, only a small minority have transcended the polarized states of mind that foster and feed on a fractured society. We need NEW leaders who are psychologically mature (both within and apart from institutions) but before we can get that, we need a more self-actualized population. It is clear that the way we have been doing things is not working, and that is reflected in the bipartisan dissatisfaction with the political and social reality we face (even if we point the finger in different directions).

The main underlying current among pretty much all of us (myself included a lot of the time) is a sense that “I know what is right for the country and the world, and therefore I have the right to be angry that the world does not conform to my preferences”. Life never asks what we prefer. Life shows up as it does, and requires us to adapt or suffer. Those are always the two choices.

Now how do we adapt to this sort of situation?

We adapt by opening ourselves to different perspectives, by learning and getting outside of our comfort zones, engaging with people of diverse backgrounds, because this is an era of DIVERSITY and integration of people who hold incredibly disparate worldviews and perspectives, shaped by their unique life experiences.

We adapt by learning to refrain from framing issues in terms of absolute right or wrong, and absolute certainty about matters that we know are too complex for even the greatest theorists to completely provide a account of. The world’s problems can’t be solved by lines in campaign speeches. The world’s problems are not simple. Cross-disciplinary study is crucial to developing a proper framing. Most of the negative and harsh political comments suffer from lack of nuance, isolating a particular irrationality of the system as if it exists in isolation. Whereas the truth of the matter is that the postmodern world is infinitely complex. Down to the very fabric of our reality, physicists can’t even pin down the fundamental material that constructs our world. From a mathematical and physical enigma, can certainty be found? I think we have certainty in the WRONG THINGS.

We should have certainty in what we know to be absolutely good: love, peace, harmony, honesty, integrity, patience, etc.

If we do not commit to and base our lives around heart-based values and attitudes, we will perpetuate suffering. No matter how intelligent we are, the world will one-up us with another layer of undiscovered complexity. Causality and ontology and epistemology are not simple matters that the casual observer can discern the details of, at least not without a deep dive into oneself.

We will heal when we end our addiction to blaming anything outside of ourselves for the situation we find in the world. All that matters is what you and I individually choose to embody and enact in ourselves. That is all we can control in the end.

Photo credit: https://www.pickpik.com/photography-person-two-trees-disc-shot-assassination-attempt-44055

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