I’ve been described as a writer – a prolific writer. I’ve been told that I have a way with words and a talent for teaching others – the ability to translate complex concepts into accessible and understandable terms – in other words, through the use of words.
But these days, words have escaped me. My heart is full, but I can’t seem to find the words to adequately express the realizations, longings and clarity my heart embodies.
I’ve devoted my lifetime to teaching, living and breathing social justice. The recipe for social harmony and world peace is so simple, elemental and organic – yet remains elusive to the vast majority who by choice, or default, opt for hatred, complacency, willful ignorance, or hopeless apathy.
After decades of bashing my head into this brick wall of human psychology – and I would argue – human pathology – where does one possibly go from here? What steps can be taken that haven’t already been taken? What approach will lead to the key that finally unlocks the door to vision and clarity?
As a social psychologist, I’m able to identify the cognitive aspects that underlie the process of how we perceive and interpret information. I’m familiar with all the theories and applications. But at the end of the day, how does this knowledge translate into meaningful impact and human volition?
I am neither hopeless nor apathetic. I still care – perhaps too deeply. But I am also frustrated, discouraged and mystified by the masses who seemingly prefer a world of conflict, hatred and strife to one that embodies compassion, empathy and mutual love and respect.
Free will is a funny thing. A blessed gift bestowed upon humanity. This tool of personal choice is a double-edged sword. It can be used to better the world – or to destroy it. Are we really so short sighted, so self-absorbed and fearful that we disallow the whisper of kindness from entering our lives?
Some have spoken of the “Zombie Apocalypse” when the dead will rise and walk among us. Science fiction? Perhaps. But from my vantage point, it seems this Apocalyptic scenario is already underway. Not in terms of physical corpses roaming the streets – but in terms of the psychological and spiritual decay that constitutes society as a whole.
While running mundane errands, I watch people as they shop, drive and eat in restaurants – going about their daily lives on “auto pilot”. I watch students on campus, heads down, bumping into one another in the hallways of universities – transfixed on their devices – with little, to no, interpersonal communication. Zombies? Indeed.
As I attempt to engage others in dialog about the current state of affairs in the U.S. and around the world, I sense the reflexive recoil in others, as if to say, “oh no…better not get into that discussion”. It seems as though social withdrawal and avoidance have taken the place of social interface and the substantive exchange of opinions.
Yes, there are protests, and heated debates of political, religious and corporate pundits. There is no shortage of supply of talking heads on mass and social media outlets – each espousing the integrity of their chosen perspectives. But at the end of the day, life goes on as usual. After all, these “passionate” broadcasts are still regressed back to the average, materialistic lifestyle of McDonald’s and car commercials – so problems can’t be “that” serious…can they?
The name of my blog is The Power of Social Consciousness. I chose this title to convey the idea that changing our minds can change the world. Sadly, it seems, the opposite is also true. A failure to change our minds results in the failure to change the world, as well. As Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again – and expecting different results”. Do we really have the right to complain when we perpetuate destruction by fueling the fire of divisiveness?
The morale of this story is that the way we perceive the world has a tremendous impact on the trajectory of the human and environmental condition. Our individual and collective lives are vehicles that turn in accordance with our free will.
And so, speaking of will….when will you assume your rightful place in the driver’s seat on this journey? Where will you turn? How will you set the course of our collective destiny? In essence, what will your personal contribution be? And perhaps, most importantly, will these words make the least bit of difference?