Over the past few days, I felt compelled to reflect on recent tragic events. What follows is my rambling reflection on the state of our world that has lead to repeated death and destruction across the globe.
I am tired of the fear, the anger, the hatred, and the ignorance that is so prevalent around me in the world today. My soul hangs heavy as my heart beats with anxiety and sorrow, and I see a world full of conflict and division. How did we get here?
In our contemporary times we are all so separate, so isolated. Despite the wonders of technology that keep us connected to news, to information, and to each other 24/7, and despite the proliferation of texting and social media, we find ourselves more and more isolated and more and more disconnected from each other. This technology adds layers of insulation between us and those we interact with, and unfortunately, loneliness, depression, fear, and anger run more rampant in our technological age. This technology can never replace heart-to-heart and face-to-face connection. By relying so much on this technology, we become so much more removed from one another, and our tribes, families, and relationships have disintegrated. We are left with feelings of hollowness, mistrust, and dread, and we can feel so lost and disconnected in our lives.
This technology has also brought about another problem. We long to connect, yet we are fed a steady diet of anger, fear, hatred, violence, and destruction. It pours out of our tv, computer, and smart device screens. We are constantly bombarded with the endless chatter of hate and anger, and we are continually exposed to flashing images of war, death, and destruction. It makes us anxious, afraid, and uncertain. We begin to think that isolating ourselves is a good idea. We begin to seek distance and separation, the opposite of connection. We want to separate ourselves from other people and distance ourselves from those who are not like us. Our egos feed on this drama and misery. We are consumed by the vitriol of people spouting anger, bigotry, and fear. It gets inside of us, pits us against others, and makes us fear and hate. We lash out at others. We rant and rave, complain and vent, and the world becomes a scary place. The endless droning from the electric screens and the endless voices in our own heads convince us that it’s us against them - that people who are not like us are to be feared, hated, despised, and attacked. Hate fills us as we look at others as our enemies. We sling expletives, insults, and hurtful epithets.
Our egos feed on this separation, negativity, and sense of Us vs. Them. The ego puffs us up making us feel that only we are right, only we know the truth. The ego builds us up with the sense that we are superior and the others are inferior. The others are wrong, and worthy of our anger, our venom, our rage. But the ego also can break us down leading us to wallow in the misery as we convince ourselves that the world hates us. We build up the fences and walls to protect ourselves - to keep ourselves safely locked away - to keep the others out. There within our fences and walls, we feed the ego the anger, the misery, and the hatred, and we build the fences higher and the walls thicker. It’s us against them. We’re right, and they're wrong. We’re so lost in our own stories that we are beyond any hope of having a meaningful dialogue. We have shut out any kind of sense or rationality. We are right! They are wrong! Period! End of discussion! And the ego feeds and flourishes on this strong sense of identity. We lose our conscious mind, and the ego has complete control. We lose all sense of love and compassion. We only identify with those who feed our delusion - who feed the anger and the isolation. We cannot hear words of love and connection anymore.
This grand drama becomes routine. It’s us vs. them. We’re good, they're evil. We’re in the right, and they’re in the wrong. Hate and anger pour from us. We verbally attack, and all sides spew their hatred, and spew their propaganda. We cannot hear through the noise. We cannot open our minds or our hearts because we are under a constant barrage as others incite us, insult us, rile us up, and unload their hatred. We retaliate. We bombard our enemies with our own wounding words, our own justifications, our own bigotry and hatred. We look to cut into our enemies, to hurt them with our words, to denigrate and insult. It becomes a shouting match. He who shouts loudest wins!
And at some point, it all boils over. The anger and hatred burst forth in some act of violence and death. Are we truly surprised at the mass shootings and acts of terrorism and aggression that happen on a regular basis? How can we be, when we have spent so much time and energy cultivating the hate, feeding the anger, and pushing people away? We create the world in our own image, and these acts of violence and aggression only go to prove our point. We spiral deeper into the hate separating ourselves even more. We demonize and dehumanize those who are different. It makes it easier to spew the venom and anger filled rhetoric. It makes it easier to attack, maim, and kill.
No wonder it’s an easy leap from words to bullets and bombs. Our egos have convinced us that we are purely in the right. So, we go to war. We justify killing and death both on an individual level and on a national level. That ends the conversation, and it puts a dramatic exclamation point on our argument. We justify death and destruction because the voice of the ego has fed on the drama, the hate, the justifications. The voice convinces us that we are irrevocably right, and so we are justified to act out. We are justified in our own minds to kill - to end the life of others because we are so intwined in the fantasy of us vs. them that pulling a trigger or detonating a bomb is the only logical thing left to do.
In our day and age, how is it that we are still at this point where individuals and nations see that the only viable solution is violence and killing? Our history is filled with this death and destruction. Why have we not learned, grown, and evolved?
We all begin our journey in this world seeking connection. Early in life, we all want the love and the comfort of our mothers and fathers. We all want the acceptance and respect of our family and our peers. We all seek connection, but if we’re not careful, we end up seeking separation and conflict. We find isolation, fear, and loneliness instead. We find a strange comfort in aligning ourselves with the hate and the anger of others, and the cancer of violence grows and spreads. Separation feeds the cancer.
That’s not the world that I want to live in - one of hate and fear. I want connection, love, and compassion. I want to build a community of diversity and respect. I want a world of light and love, not hate and darkness. Connection, compassion, and understanding are the only way to end the cycle of violence and fear that grips our world.
I will continue to seek connection, and I will continue to spread love, compassion, and understanding.