• Posted: Nov 04, 2008 14:43:30
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As the winner is announced, the problem of healing begins. Is it a solvable problem? Can people come together as Americans, as citizens of the world? Can they be made to share a vision of both the problems we all face and a selection of workable solutions that offer hope for a viable sustainable future?
Early experiments in the budding field of social psychology discovered three important and enduring truths regarding human behavior. One, that individuals are highly susceptible to persuasion in a setting of multiple peers expressing views that may even run contrary to evidence from their own senses. Two, competing factions will unite and work together effectively if under threat from a superordinate. And three, long term loyalty to and cooperation with group purposes is directly related to the perception of effort effectiveness on an individual level.
The Bush administration attempted to unite the American and world citizenry under the superordinate threat of al-Qaida inspired terrorism. It didn't work because it was not a threat equally felt by all and it suggested we may in fact be facing threat from those standing right next to us. Disproportionally placing burden on our military and invoking the possibility of threat from within divided us instead of uniting us.
The religious right has also attempted to unite the citizenry by claiming a superordinate threat to a sense of right and wrong grounded in teachings from the Bible. The effort has so far failed because science, humanistic rational art, and empirically oriented media have successfully opened eyes to evidence that plainly contradicts the dire predictions of highly closed minded religious conservatives.
And finally, unregulated individual profit motive capitalism has failed to yield satisfaction for more than 90% of the world's population. Realization that we've all been duped, bilked, and exploited by the remaining 10% has taken hold. The worldwide recession we face is most definitely founded on lack of confidence, not lack of confidence debts owed to us will be repaid but lack of confidence that any effort at all will result in meaningful achievement.
Real healing will require a superordinate threat we can all feel, like threat to the environment on which we all depend, public health threats, lack of universal liberating and empowering education, and lack of sustainable employment opportunities. Real healing will require open, transparent, and participatory sharing of information, discussion, plans, and assessments of effectiveness in relation to those threats. And real healing must yield tangible and realistically sustainable achievement at all levels of individual effort. Real healing is still possible, but we need informed visionary altruistic leadership to achieve it.
Saturday, November 1st, 2008
22.7 mm 108 mm