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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Uncovering Pandora's Jar


There was a time when the earth was a vast, largely unexplored, seriously misunderstood place.The world was, for many, a frightening multiverse of reality, unreality, and spectacular fantasies. These perceptions inspired notions of security and insecurity based on fanciful myths about our connectedness, or lack thereof, with each other and the various phenomena around us.

In an unexplored world, the fear of the unknown drove a sense of danger that tended to cripple the possibilities for growth and needed change. Oceans were seen as the home of terrifying monsters. Heaven was above and beyond the vast blue yonder. Hell was below the ground underneath us. There was up and down, and most people were safely unaware of the dynamic outer-ness of our experience in time and space. Our fate was in the hands of the gods who ruled over us like impetuous bastards, more preoccupied with their own vanities than with the needs of their unfortunate subjects. For many in such a world, fear, inspired by a sense of ever-present danger, reigned supreme.

An uncontainable inquisitiveness coupled with an unsuppressable adventurous nature have combined to empower our desire and determination to face down the gods. In this quest we have come to realize that the only real limits to our ability to master and enhance our world are those we place on ourselves through fear and a lack of industry. So much has changed in our world, but the sense of danger that we have come to know so well still lurks.

Danger is real. It wears human and animal faces, and it takes the form of every element in and around us. It lives and moves with us in every facet of life. It is, as we are. In the presence of danger our world either shrinks...or it becomes larger. Facing a perceived threat, we may limit ourselves to the narrowed path forward created by it, or we can look beyond the presumed source of that threat to a more expansive view of our world and the variety of options available to address it. And yes… there are options available to us beyond those reflexively proposed by parasites who have an interest in cultivating the fears of others toward their own ends.

Beyond the “acts of God” over which we have little or no control, and beyond the convenient formulations of vultures who thrive on the tragedies that consume the lives and prospects of multitudes, we have a responsibility to critically examine the causes and sources of many of the threats we all face. This responsibility is all the more critical at a time when terrorism is alive and well among us.

Our ability to overcome the sense of danger that freezes us in our path and severely limits our perceptions and our choices, requires us to avail ourselves of substantial moments of truthfulness. The development of this ability is a function of our openness to the fact that we share some responsibility for the awe-full nature of every threat we confront, or that confronts us. All threats have a subjective component. We are either complicit in their creation, culturally invested in their propagation, or we allow ourselves to be objectified by them out of fear.

In a world where we are intellectually and spiritually drenched in the us against them mentality, we have for the most part ignored the reality of the us in them that more truthfully describes the developments around us that occupy our collective attention. It is this critical omission that results in our stumbling from one unfortunate political and cultural circumstance to the next. When faced with the results of our inability or unwillingness to honestly analyze the factors that make up the critical dilemmas confronting us, we resort to the easy answers that ignore our part in their creation. We want remedies for what ails our world, but in the absence of factual diagnoses of the problems as they are, we are left in a quagmire of superficial, and at times dangerous interventions that either lead nowhere, or that make matters worse. In a time when we must move with caution in our every activity, it behoves us to apply the golden rule in all our interactions... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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