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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/17/17

A Better Human Story #4-- Humankind's Perilous Step into Terra Incognita: The Rise of Civilization

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To answer your questions re: the "ugliness and torment" we see in humanity around the world and whether this is a function of our human nature---or have we been put into an "impossible situation" so we shouldn't feel too guilty. I think we definitely need to take responsibility for the deplorable situations developing around the world. I don't see it has an impossible situation, but at the same time, I would not look at this "brokenness" as due to a force of evil outside of us.

Humanity has the power of both good and evil behavior in this battle, and this "brokenness" is of our own doing (and un-doing!) I believe we have the inventiveness and creativity to correct the systems that are "warping the world" and we have the power to focus on the good paths that will lead us into a more fulfilling future. Right now, we're missing the leadership!

The world needs your vision of wholeness and the sacred space that can unite us.

There is a quotation from Sanscrit that says, "The Divine in me welcomes the Divine in you." May it be so!

Andy Schmookler:

Thank you, Margee, for that endorsement of my "vision of wholeness."

I entirely agree with you, Margee, when you say, "It seems that, from the beginning of recorded history, humanity has sought to find ways to deal with the pain and hardships of everyday life and to oppose tyranny and oppression"" And the kinds of spiritual insights you point to have been and still are a vital contributor to the forces of wholeness at work in our too-broken world.

I have to take serious issue, however, with another part of your comment. It's where you write: "I don't see it as an impossible situation"" It will not be until the next installment that I lay out my case, but let me try to give intimations of what I will try to show.

Your words suggest that you're talking about the present situation in which we find ourselves. And you say "we definitely need to take responsibility" for what's wrong with our world. On that I agree, if by "take responsibility" to mean that we are called upon to do all we can to make our world more whole.

But the "impossible situation" I refer to is the one into which humankind stumbled millennia ago. And what follows from that innocent stumbling into an impossible situation is that all the torment and destruction that followed from that is not something for which we should bear a burden of guilt--because it was beyond humankind's powers to prevent.

So that if by "take responsibility" you mean not only that we are called upon to make the world more whole but that we as a species should rightly blame ourselves for the brokenness we are called upon to fix, that I think misses the truth of the human dilemma.

I believe that idea "the parable of the tribes" represents an air-tight, compelling case for civilized humankind having had to deal with what was indeed "an impossible situation." In the present installment, I've laid the groundwork for seeing why that is. If, after you've read the next installment you still don't agree about that, I invite you to point to whatever hole in the argument you find that would allow you to conclude otherwise.

And a word about this that you say: "I would not look at this 'brokenness' as due to a force of evil outside of us."

This raises issues that I'll be getting to a few more installments down the road. (And indeed I regard my way of understanding what's true about "the battle between 'good' and 'evil'" in the human world to be the second major insight -- along with "the parable of the tribes" -- that I have to contribute in this "integrative vision.")

But for right now I'll propose this metaphor for thinking of whether the force of brokenness is "outside us": imagine a huge magnet in the presence of iron filings. In the presence of that magnet, the interior of the iron filings is transformed so that two magnetic poles are formed inside each filing. Is the magnetic force "outside" the filings? I'd say yes and no. It operates within them. But it was an outside force that induced the polarities.


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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