I attended a forum recently on the topic of the Elimination of Racism and was very thankful to hear what each of the speakers had to say. Hearing people’s personal stories was a privilege. Hearing other people’s rebuttals of why some solutions aren’t applicable for all was also valuable information providing deeper insight into cultural differences.
Unfortunately not everyone who attended that forum was there to combat racism. Some attended to perpetuate and justify it. When that perspective was presented unscheduled, it set off a chain reaction of visceral responses that prolonged the gathering 1.25 hours past its advertised end time, and at times devolved into mutual bashing. The powder keg of pain was ignited, and various people’s trauma responses exploded, as trauma responses will, uncontrolled.
That’s what sticks with me most about my experience in similar settings. Huge volumes of us seem to be walking around embodying the pain of disconnection from our nature, and our consequent inter-generational experiences of humanity’s inhumanity to humanity.
At this specific event, the white supremacist perspective presenter’s body language in no way revealed confidence and security in what he was saying. Those who presented in the controlled format appeared confident and secure in that context, but lost control when their trauma had been triggered. I had a couple buttons pushed myself, but I realize that was because my perceptions of what we were doing there together were challenged and the people saying things that I felt hurt by were trauma responses on their part. I can relate to the idea that when you just can’t seem to get ahead, no matter how hard you try, having to try again is even a trigger.
I’m thankful to have had this experience. I’m immeasurably thankful for those who are willing to have the conversation. Humanity has huge issues, and if we don’t deal with them they will absolutely get worse. We see this trend gaining momentum around the globe.
Where I envision real change will come is when we individually stop seeing ourselves as separate from the whole – of nature, not just humanity – and see humanity as one species – of many species within nature – where nothing and no one has more of a right to exist and thrive than anything or anyone other. That to me is a clear conceptualization of our nature, and the perspective that we have to get to in order to survive and thrive.
The days of human beings of any type presenting themselves as superior to anything have got to be done. And the days of hoarding resources to create the illusion of security at the expense of others and their ability to survive and thrive is way past due. Our structural constructs within which we operate society are all based on false reality. As long as we perpetuate that and remain disconnected from our nature, we will continue to devolve as a society. The trauma will continue to accumulate and the results will be collective self-destruction.
As my new favourite thinker these days Brian Cox asserts, we exist in this ever so slight and unlikely time in the existence of the universe. Physically we haven’t evolved significantly for millennia in spite of the changes we have experienced societally. So the evolution I see humans participating in is the evolution of consciousness, and at the very least, that involves accepting our place as biological members of the natural world, completely integrated with all other elements, not superior beings after all.
The question we need to ask each other is “What do you need?” Each person needs adequate clean air, water, food, and shelter, as well as respect, dignity, belonging and a clear path to fulfilling their potential. Until we as a society are ensuring that for each other, things are destined to devolve to even greater chaos and structural disintegration.
The structures in society that perpetuate some people having at the expense of others not having will be dismantled. The choice we face as humans is whether we choose to accept our nature consciously and stop pretending we are superior to all and any others, or we choose to perpetuate our illusions and have them disintegrate outside our control.
Our security is inherent in our nature, and all elements in nature are equal, interconnected and interdependent. It pains me to observe and experience humanity’s inhumanity to humanity. I truly believe we are better than we have demonstrated. And the trauma of that inhumanity impedes our ability to demonstrate and see that better. That’s why it is so important to stop pretending now, and start mending because the longer we perpetuate the lie of superiority, the more disintegrated humanity will become and that result will be catastrophic.
So I’m thankful to all who participated in this forum, because it clearly exposed that we still have much work to do, and I am keenly interested in doing whatever necessary to help humanity become one and be healthy members of nature.