Broadening the social scope
Today, geographical barriers across the globe dissolve, yet our thinking remains lacking global reach.
The term ‘glocal’ is formed through the combination of global and local, describing a way of thinking globally while acting locally. As a general trend, ‘glocalism’ is misleading though because the exact opposite can be observed as well. People travel, consume, trade, and communicate globally, but their mind’s compassion remains largely local. Either way, normally we would consider systematic inconsistencies between thinking and acting as a deficit in integrity if not even schizophrenic. Indeed, humanity so far did not keep mentally up with the speed of globalization. It has not developed a responding mindset that embraces an equally global world view from a humanistic perspective. Our physical tools have outgrown our minds’ grasp. For a medieval farmer, except for his tax contributions to the king, it was enough to care for his family and neighbors. All private and vocational affairs were local, and the direct influence on it obvious. Today we are the consumers of global supply chains, communication networks, and logistics, and yet remain, most of the time, unaware of related end-to-end consequences. Our lifestyle went global, while our awareness stayed local. This leads to sympathy without empathy, which is out of sync with reality and has severe implications.
In contrast to the spread of globalization, continuing urbanization creates centralizing and concentrating forces. The world has not become one big shared village; it has become a network of competing cities. Seemingly paradoxically, within ever denser populations, people have become more solitary.
Instead of having learned to connect over wider geographical distances, it seems that modern society has learned to maintain and even increase mental distances in ever more crowded spaces.
We feel it in our gut that there is something wrong with many societies’ value system. Economic profitability often is justified over health benefits. Convenience condones waste and environmental damage. Capitalist rather than humanist approaches determine most people’s lives around the globe. Too few human minds are open to see that we all come from the same place of intelligent energy rather than from a financial investment. So, what do we refer to as guidance for our lives if it is not the all-loving source of life? The problem is that to quantify is to put conditions on infinity and eternity. As even life itself has fallen prey to the obsession of calibrating beyondness down into tradable measures of fixed units, many people feel not to measure up anymore with today’s expectations.
In Mike Judge’s 2006 satirist movie ‘Idiocracy,’ crops in the US were watered with a sports drink named ‘Brawndo’ instead of water. Now crops didn’t grow anymore as the soil had become infertile due to the electrolytes having built up too much salt over the decades. As the story goes, Brawndo the thirst mutilator had come to replace water virtually everywhere. Water, the basic component of all life had been deemed a threat to Brawndo’s profit margin. The solution came during the budget crisis of 2330, when the Brawndo corporation simply bought the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission, enabling them to say, do, and sell anything they wanted. Time traveler Joe didn’t know any of this, but he did see a problem that he might actually be able to solve. His proposal, in brief, was to put water on the crops; a suggestion that was met with complete misunderstanding from the Idiocracy representatives. Plants would crave electrolytes, and anyway, nobody has ever seen plants growing out of the toilets’ water, they argued. After a long back and forth, Joe finally gave up on logic and reason and told them that he could talk to plants and that they wanted water. That way he made believers out of everyone.
Even today, what if we lived a similar delusion? What if we tried to grow ourselves through the wrong values? What if we believed that the crucial ingredient and measure for everything is an economic, monetary value? The acre of our soul would become dusty too, like non-watered soil, and as too high consumption of electrolytes provokes gastric cancer and kidney stones, today’s over-consumption actually leads to hearts of stone.
Of course, one cannot live on air and love alone. However, research consistently finds that day-to-day emotional well-being only increases up to the level of where the bare necessities of life are met, while other factors have been found to contribute more to happiness.
If we don’t want to mutilate our soul’s thirst for true love, but instead want to really satisfy it, we need to remember to water our soil of awareness from which the plants of thoughts grow with all and eternally loving consciousness. On the basis of Awareness Intelligence lush grass-fields and forests of diverse fauna and flora will be able to flourish. Thanks to its threefold and complete richness, soil would recover to be naturally fertile and the straggle of monocultures of weed could be prevented.
Looking only a couple of generations back, most US citizens’ relative ancestors, for example, lived in Europe and around the world. The same awareness should dawn on every one of the around seven and a half billion people who come from only one billion foremothers and forefathers not more than two hundred years ago. We are all coming and going back to the same force of life. You and I are not us; we are all. Nevertheless, everyone is trying to fight their own battle, to be free from their past, to live in the present, and create a meaningful future for themselves. What is not realized though is the role of being and acting in awareness of whole humankind. Humanity seems to harm itself. As an American Indian proverb that Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite spiritual teachers and authors used to use, goes “No tree has branches so foolish as to fight amongst themselves.” Indeed, a tree’s stem, its bark, branches, and leaves are all parts of one organism. In the same vein, all human beings make one humanity.
Like water flows through all plants’ vessels, so does consciousness flow in all human souls.
People always fall back into fighting other branches of the tree of the human species. Occasionally, in moments of feeling safe, they are able to care for the tree as a whole. These are all too rare moments of feats of awareness. We intuitively know that life is the same for all, that we all dislike pain, and that nobody wants to be threatened and fought. So, why can we be so ruthless anyway? It’s the result of panic that comes from being lost in a labyrinth without a map. Head down and running, anybody getting in the way is pushed away. Force causes counter-force, and resistance becomes the default response to all challenge. A truly vicious circle. The good news is that it does not have to be that way. We contain astonishing intelligences in ourselves, which have allowed us over time to tolerate ambiguous situations and solve ever more complex puzzles. What we come to develop now is an appropriate framework that enables us to think our way through to more joyful humanness that convinces us to be free of interpretation and practical enough in the sense of not being another dogma, religion, or unrealistic ideology. Awareness Intelligence is not opinion, but logic, fact based, and generic; and it is not simplistic, but simple enough.
There is an expression in Chinese for how limited we tend to see the world: ‘jing di zhi wa,’ meaning “frog in the bottom of a well.” It is the fable about a frog who has lived its entire life down in a small well. The frog assumes that its tiny world is all there is. It is only when a passing turtle tells the frog of the vast ocean to the east that the frog realizes there is much more to the world than it had known. Many of us are like that frog. We grow up as members of a culture and learn, through direct and indirect teaching, to see the world from the perspective that has become familiar to us.
What is familiar to us makes us feels safe, and therefore it feels good and right; often this is even assumed to be the truth. Because the people around us usually share that same perspective, we seldom have cause to question it.
Like the frog, we rarely suspect how big and diverse our human species is. So, don’t be a frog in the bottom of a well and become free like you have never experienced life before.