A Conceptual Essay
We hear people talk about how we are all connected, that we are one consciousness. And yet, looking at a world with borders, it’s hard to imagine how it is possible.
It’s not that I doubt that we are one consciousness, that we are all connected, it’s amazing and shocking that we are living in the 21st Century and the world is the way it is. This idea, that we are all somehow connected, is a concept which is yet to be proven scientifically, but it is a concept at the centre of all spirituality and some religions. The belief that each of us has within them a part of the Whole or God, implying that we are connected to something greater than ourselves and, consequently, connected to each other.
The world, however, gives us another perception, what most of us choose to hold onto and what we call reality – we identify ourselves by a nationality, an area, a town, a name. Our skin colour, our accent, our behaviour, identifies us as such – either by choice or by others’ opinion.
We identify people from what we see and hear. We identify them through their colour and their accent, at times wrongly. We really do tend to judge a book by its cover, which is always the wrong approach (even our intuition or instinct can be biased as a result of previous experiences and false beliefs).
Take me for example. I’m white, caucasian, but with a bit of a Mediterranean look. When I first moved to the UK, I had a strong accent as a result of speaking Cypriot and learning Greek at school. The accent has always stayed with me, but, reduced in strength over time. Cypriot and Greek are effectively the same language, but with regional differences. Both are guttural languages and distort the vocal cords. The reason for the accents we hold. No-one would guess, however, that I was born in Wales. I don’t have a Welsh accent.
The point is that no-one is always who they seem. There is another point here. I am of mixed race. Maybe not in the conventional sense of mixed colour, but regardless, I am of mixed race.
Any metropolitan city, such as London or New York, will show that there are people from various races living together and bearing children together. This is nothing new. It has been like this for centuries. People travelling from one area to another, settling in and adding to the diversity of the culture of the area.
After time, the identification process starts again and what was, no longer is. The differing cultures fade away as everyone takes on a standard way of living. It’s the natural order of things.
It is here, again, that we identify ourselves as that kind of person, that nationality and separate ourselves from the rest of the world, as if we were never part of it in the first place.
The reason for all this, is because we want to feel that we belong to the group we want to belong to, what we call a sense of belonging. Identifying ourselves with a specific group, rather than identifying with the fact that we are simply the human race.
Then there is fear. Fear of change, fear of loss of identity, but more importantly, fear of losing what we value most – our grounding beliefs. What we consider are the fundamental rules of a civilised nation. And here is where we vary, from country to country and, in some cases, from state to state. What one holds to be true and right, another considers wrong and unjust.
Our biggest barrier, as the human race, is fear.
On some levels it is a valid fear. The Second World War was a result of ideals – ideals that the majority of the world didn’t agree with, ideals that we felt were wrong, unjust and detrimental to humanity. They were rules that our forefathers were not willing to live by or live under.
Any action which is likely to remove our right to live the way we want to live and our freedom, is a reasonable fear to hold. Provided that the way we want to live does not affect anyone else in a detrimental or negative way. It must be a win-win situation, either through agreement or compromise.
And this fundamental key, is something that we do not believe that some people are capable of holding.
This is due to greed and power. Whether it is the belief that by controlling certain ideals, that people will live a better life, the truth still remains that it is enforcing a set of ideals.
Greed. Wars have been fought to maintain control, and consequently maintain power, over assets that bring wealth, such as oil, diamonds or gold.
Greed and power have been humanities downfall since time immemorial. Go back into history and we find wars for almost any reason based on a set of political beliefs or for the sake of some religion.
Religion and politics have been the main doctrines used to act for greed or power.
No-one is without a religion. As M. Scott Peck, in “The Road Less Travelled”, states:
“…..among the members of the human race there exists an extraordinary variability in the breadth and sophistication of our understanding of what life is about.
This understanding is our religion. Since everyone has some understanding …… everyone has a religion.”
Politics, doctrinal religion, atheism, altruism, realism – still a religion, because it is something that we believe in.
We choose what to believe in, whether politics or religion, most of the time. However, there are times when both these ideals are pushed onto us and we feel that we must agree with that doctrine (the reasons we do this are many, ranging from fear all the way through to love).
Our borders are politics and the religion we hold. Be careful here – remember that when we speak of religion we are referring to Peck’s definition of religion and not the commonly held meaning of religion.
How we believe a society should live, what their morals and ethics ought to be, is what we base our own doctrines on.
You’d think that basic morals and ethics such as integrity, honesty and tolerance would be enough, but they are not. Not because they are not always taught, but because they can in turn be twisted to suit the needs of the person teaching these values.
To have values amongst those from our area, but not with others – the “Honour amongst thieves” syndrome. An odd saying, because it implies that if we are not honest, honourable and moral with everyone, then we must also be a thief.
We have to start somewhere, and solid morals and ethics are the only mental stabilities that we can hope for and rely on. Once again, though, these vary so widely that for them to have any future use for human improvement, there has to be a set standard. And who’s to say that we are right or wrong with ours?
People will fight for their survival, their right to freedom, their right for security. These are the basic needs of all human beings. What separates the ethical from the unethical, the moral from the immoral, is when it goes beyond those needs. Greed and power.
Greed is not the want to live better, have more money, better things. That is a simple human need. Even a spiritual person reaches for a higher spiritual existence. Having power over our own circumstances is something else that we strive for.
It becomes corrupt when we are willing to sacrifice others and their rights for want of our own.
Maybe, the person or people who acted the way they did, truly believed in what they were doing, that, in their minds, their actions were just and right. But, the means do not always justify the end. The end itself is also not always justifiable.
Our ego’s and our self-image, hold us, bound us, to ideals and beliefs that aren’t always true. If we could shed those false images to recognise that each of us is not that dissimilar, we’d move ahead. But we don’t. Why?
Security and freedom. Unfortunately there are individuals and groups in the world who feel, and truly believe, that their way of how we should live is not only the right way, it is the only way.
None of us can accept that. We react against this in our own homes when we disagree with an idea or action. In the greater scheme, we want our security and freedom. We don’t want someone telling us how to live, when that goes against how we feel we should. We don’t want someone imposing their ideals on us.
That requires something from us, as well, and that is to act in the same way that we want another person to act towards us.
It’s called the “Golden Rule” and Earl Nightingale spoke about it back in 1957, in “The Strangest Secret”.
This is a basic rule of life, bust most fail this. Regardless of your religion, doctrinal or not, most people do not apply this.
As a Christian, I see it with people who will go to church, call themselves Christian and that they believe in Christ, but fail to apply the greatest rule of all – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That is the primary rule of being a Christian. Believing in Christ is not enough – you have to apply the teachings. And this is the first rule.
The ideal of the Golden Rule, is to treat others as you would expect to be treated. Kindness, compassion, understanding, tolerance. Beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to this rule. It is the basis of all human interaction, regardless of race, creed, nationality or whatever other stipulation you want to add.
I think, most of us want a world that is at peace, united and able to not only help each other, but promote each other. But, we have so much distrust that making that happen is difficult. We see the world as it is, greed, power and megalomania abound, and wonder how anything more than the way things are, is possible.
That has to start with educating ourselves and the people of the future, the children, to see the world differently. Learn from the past, maintain history, because it is an education of how things should be and shouldn’t be done.
It’s a utopian ideal. Is it possible? I actually think it is. But it needs a mental shift. It won’t happen overnight, even if I wish it could. It needs a total shift across everything that makes our societies what they are. The issue, as it has become apparent in yourself whilst reading through this, is that there are things you are not willing to let go of.
I am no different. There are values that I hold dear and principles I am unwilling to let go of. I am no different to any of you when it comes to this, except that what I hold to be true may vary from what you hold to be true. This alone makes us all the same.
The borders we see on maps are only a reminder of the borders that we create mentally between us.
It makes me wonder – how far could we go as a human race if we could truly work together? Truly makes the mind wonder.
All things are meshed together and a sacred bond unites them. Hardly a single thing is alien to the rest: ordered together in their places they together make up the one order of the universe.