We are a product of our environment. We are part of the organism earth. We are all connected. Tethered together through time and space as far back as the dawning of the universe. Ever changing in formation but no less the same. All life in equal part, only separated by the quantity and mixture of our elemental construct. None greater or lesser than another but we’ve forgotten we all belong. Not as kings, but rather stewards of the planet.
The plight of human existence is ever changing and like all living things, we must adapt to survive. We were the first to wake to sentience and we owe it to our world to repay this gift and live with it, not off it. It will start small but grow into a global revolution in our way of thinking, our way of living, and our way of co-existing. But it has to start first. Understanding has to start first.
Trying to understand why people do the things they do, act the way they act, and believe what they believe can be frustrating. The complex nature of human beings makes understanding one another, our differing points of view, and our place in the world difficult to say the least. It is easy to close our minds and set ourselves apart from other people and animals. That way of thinking is flawed and dangerous but not at all unnatural. After all, knowledge truly is power and we are powerful. Powerful but not invincible and I believe that the Achilles heel of all human beings is a fundamental lack of patience and a failure to properly communicate. Among other things obviously.
This became apparent to me when I noticed a particular trend that occurs whenever the topics of religion, climate change, or politics, came up in conversation. People have a tendency to become combative, almost hostile, in defense of their point of view. Often speaking as if a point made in contrast were a direct attack on the person themselves. This was a strange human idiom that fascinated me and I began wonder what deeper seeded truth this reaction was contrived from. Why are these topics so sensitive for some people? I’ve thought a lot about it and I think I have figured out why.
Imagine a person as a bird trapped in a cage. The cage is the only thing the bird has ever known. The steel bars and the confines therein serving not only as the foundation for the birds understanding of the world but also as it’s protection from the broader world beyond. The unknown. All of the birds beliefs, it’s sense of self, it’s understanding of it’s place in the world, and it’s sense of security and comfort are all built inside that cage. And in many ways, in to it as well. As time passes, the birds perceptual designation between who it is, what it believes, and where it belongs within the order of things, all begins to blur in to one. It’s beliefs becoming seamlessly intertwined with it’s sense of self and it’s understanding of who it is. And this, I believe is where the hairpin trigger is set.
Now, picture with me, someone approaching the cage, opening the door, and trying to take the bird out. Picture the cage shaking violently as the person continues to attempt catch the bird and bring it out of the cage. The person wants only to give the bird a chance to fly but is instead interpreted as a threat. As an intruder. The person then recoils in fear of getting bit, neither side really understands the other and nothing is gained from the experience. The door closes.
In many ways, people are not so different from the bird in my analogy and it has been useful in helping me understand human nature and the failures in communication we so often experience but often don’t even recognize. It is easy to write people off if they make us feel threatened or if we feel like were not getting through to them. But there has to be a better way. I think the problem lies not in the point but rather the presentation and that the solution lies not in convincing someone of the merits of your argument but rather providing them with information in a palatable way and letting them decide what to do with it. After all, the whole point of conversation is to interact and gain perspective. Nobody wants to be told whats right or wrong, whats good or bad, they want to gather information and decide for themselves. This difference is the key to good communication.
I believe we are a product of our environment but also of our genetic construct. We are influenced by what we were taught as children and how we were raised but I don’t think it’s healthy to let it govern our way of thinking for the rest of our lives. We are not just the sum of our parts and as sentient, conscious, intelligent forms of life, we have to find a way to common ground. A way to a universal understanding between us regardless of power, wealth, religion, race, creed, or species if we want to live in harmony with the world. After all, the perceived difference between us is an invention of man and we all inherited the earth in equal share.
The fact is though, that growing, individually or as a collective consciousness, is difficult and change is uncomfortable. But I think that if we can all let down our guard with one another and take into consideration not only the point of view of other people, but also that of the animals and the global ecosystem as a whole. We can find a way to live together in peace. It just has to start small, with the opening of the door.