Longworth: Where now?

To our horror, in the last 12 months we have witnessed not only a global epidemic of major proportion but systemic problems of injustice, conflict, mistrust and chaos. We have learned also individual actions, in an interactive world, can easily spin out of control and impact the masses.

Richard Longworth column header

We are at a point in time when there is an urgent need for change. We are frustrated, angry, upset, confused, worried. A feeling of anxiety and despair. The current situations affect all of us. Many of the problems seem to be a repeat or extension of the past, magnified with the severity of COVID-19 and the erosion of honesty and honour. At best these issues are intrinsic, at worst, they are chronic. Either way, there are too many apparently unresolvable issues. But where do we go from here?

We need to somehow re-engineer our thinking in order to solve these problems; otherwise we may engineer our demise. As psychologist Ken Wilber remarks, “Whatever the process of evolution was, it seems to have an incredible intelligence—from matter to life to mind to conscious awareness. But strangely the very mechanisms that allowed evolution to become conscious of itself were simultaneously working to engineer its own extinction.

It is time for a new approach. A change in our thinking. Our conceptualization of reality is based on seeing things narrowly from the outside and translating what we see with our limited intellectual mind—a sort of myopic limited one-self view of reality. Possibly what is needed is a broader view; a more holistic, integrative view to resolve our conflicting views, values and verities.

From the book, Turning the Self Inside Out,Truth is mostly what cultures have decided and managed to convince its’ members to follow.” There is very little truth left, simply waiting around to be discovered. It ends up that our society has predetermined ‘truth’ as culturally bound and often not universally accepted. It is mainly a perception and interpreted by the privileged few who have positions of power and respect. We conclude that knowledge is not handed down (given) but created (fabricated, if you wish). It is known what was true in the past has been found to be untrue later and had no logical framework. This is the problem we are now facing with groups like politicians, power brokers, religious leaders, influencers, intellects. “It is the job of every individual to fight all of the misconception ‘truths’ … and reject the ‘lies,’ now seen as always being as a power-grab.”

There is no doubt, except for the erroneous mistake where the facts were unknown, that we have misrepresented ‘truth’ and used it for our own convenience and greed. Where do we go from here? is debatable. But what needs to happen in our new global culture is a move towards a more evolutionary, more systemic, integrative, broader adaptation of ‘truth through a higher level of consciousness and awareness.

It would be presumptuous to suggest that I or another have the answer. But narcissism, a ‘I know it all. I know what’s best for you’ attitude, seems to be more prevalent than ever and no doubt a dangerous element in our society.  At best, as seems to be happening, narcissism has the appearance of becoming an agent for self-regulation, a process that forces us to take us step back, to re-assess and reconfigure. That is, a regression and a chance to search for a “sturdier point where a true self-organizing process could be set in motion.”

This ‘sturdier point’ would be a grounding, like fertile soil, when nurtured and prepared with care will create an environment for healthy growth, restrict environmental toxicity and maximize social benefits. More on this in a later article.

What is needed urgently is a new direction; a purpose, a raison d’etre. There are many paths we can take. But we are mesmerized, and at this point in time, we just don’t know which direction to take. We may have very well reached a point where there is no turning back and an ultimatum to answer the profound question, how do we react and where do we go from here?