Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What is before us?

Understanding the complexity of the current moment is difficult, attempting to predict the future unfolding of the present is even more difficult; seeing truths within the larger context, these seem to be our stumbling blocks. I ask, where are we bound? I like this question in part because it can be interpreted in different ways, all of which are interesting. It is a statement or question about humanity and its direction into the future. It is also a question about our ties to one another and to ideas. How are we bound to one another? How are we bound by assumptions and their effect upon our interpretation of reality? How are we bound by our individual history as well as our collective history?

As individuals we are born into a context and from that moment on we are bound up through socialization. We learn about reality through our parents or larger family and the total environment that surrounds us. This total environment likely includes television and some sort of "education" system as well as some sort of neighborhood-community. This totality of experience, defined by space and countless interactions, provides the environment for our physical and mental development. Sometimes we are painfully aware of the individual elements that are a part of the overall process, sometimes we are not.

Do you see what I see? We often function without ever questioning the mental framework of our understanding of reality. As we age we may learn to analyze parts of the framework. It is also possible that we never even realize that the framework exists. Yet another possibility is that we realize that it exists but choose not to examine it. I won't pretend to understand the complexities of the human mind, I just want to suggest that our understanding of our world is severely limited though we often act otherwise. We usually act as though our understanding is absolutely correct and that we are properly informed.

What is before us? What do we know about the world? What do we know about the current operations of the government? What do we know about the origins of "our country" and "our" government? What do we know about "our" history? What do we know about "our" economy? How are we forming our understanding of the world? What are the systems that disseminate information to us? Who owns these systems? Who is responsible for their content and the method of delivery?

In any moment, are we aware of the medium? Are we aware of the message?

Everyday we make choices which are based on our understanding of the way the world works as well as the routines we've created to adapt to this world. This routine means that each day is often very similar to the previous day. It is a dynamic worth considering when we try to understand ourselves, how we interpret the world, and how we behave. The smooth flow of routine within our daily lives is an important aspect of our sense of security and comfort. The repetition of experience is a part of our training and mental structuring. Repetition of sanctioned ideas is important if a population is to accept its own indoctrination. Repetition creates "truth" and a sense of legitimacy.

What is before us?

Consider the attacks of 9/11 and the U.S. response, the "war on terror". Consider Iraq. Consider the recent U.S. elections and the allegations of massive fraud. Each of these is an example and there are countless others. What do you know and why do you know it? What is your opinion and why is it so? Just as important, what might you be totally unaware of because your primary source of information may not have mentioned it? It's not just the uniformity of perspective of information that is presented to us that is important, but the fact that certain important sub-stories may never be discussed at all.

How do we proceed? What is our goal? What kind of society do we want to create? What kind of world do we want to work towards? How do we develop processes and systems that deepen our understanding of one another? How do we communicate more affectively? What process might we develop that allows for a global discussions that might take us towards a common vision? To those that would reply that this is not possible, I ask you to prove it. I believe that another world is possible, one which we have never seen. I believe that we can do much better than we have if we choose to. We do not have to accept the mental and social structures that produce, among other things, fear, insecurity, poverty, and war. We do not have to accept the world that is.

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