Written Words from a Speechless Heart

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?

 

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This entry was posted in Mass Media Influence, Personal Responsibility, Political Unrest, Prejudice and Discrimination, Social Conflict in the U.S., Social Justice, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Written Words from a Speechless Heart

  1. Jessica says:

    Dr. Steiner,
    I couldn’t agree with you more! What ARE we doing as a society? Why do people just continue to follow the masses? Surely everyone can’t be this blind and stupid, can they?
    We have created a culture of lazy, careless individuals who must really believe that it doesn’t have an affect on their “little corner” of this world.
    I DO feel helpless and I admit, a little hopeless at times. There’s so much greed and it seems that so many people just can’t see beyond that mighty dollar.
    There’s so much more to say, the words are simply overwhelming…

    • Dear Jessica – thank you for taking the time to respond.

      Helplessness is complex state. On one hand, it disarms us of our power. But on the other hand it fuels the action potential of discontent. In a sense, we are wholly helpless. One single being in this vast world and universe, facing the Goliath of greed, pain and suffering. I relate deeply to this feeling and struggle to find, not only my purpose, but my “ability” to make a meaningful difference in this paradox.

      But, perhaps, Mother Teresa said it best when she stated, “we can do no great things…only small things, with great love.”

      While our physical, economic, political and intellectual resources are continually tapped and depleted – our reservoir and capacity for love remains infinite, and without boundaries. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate can not drive out hate – only love can do that”. If love represents a source of light in the world, we must remember that light is needed most in times of darkness.

      Therein lies the essence of our true power. We are never helpless to manifest and reflect love in our lives – even in, and perhaps most especially during, times of darkness. In this way, we are not helpless – we are powerful beyond measure. For those who are blind, either literally or figuratively, they may not be able to “see” the light – but nonetheless – can feel, and respond to the presence of love. We are the source of that love – and when greed has taken control – it suggests that the love for self has trumped the love for others. The choice is always ours to make.

  2. Audrey says:

    i have been feeling the same way, Jessica. Thank you, Dr. Steiner for Mother Teresa’s words to do small things. I’m rededicating myself to this in the morning.

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