In the past weeks, some captivating issues have forced their way into our lives. Whether we will decide to leave them within our circle of concern, or graduate them to our smaller circle of influence probably depends on our personal philosophy and the educational, political, legal, social, and economical roles we currently play in the theatre of life. There are undoubtedly more mind blowers that could be mentioned, but what comes to my mind immediately are: Wikileaks, the Arizona shooting, Ophiuchus, the predicted California storm flood, and the shift from left brain thinking to right brain thinking.
Flows of Occurrences
One thing can be stated with great certainty: as long as we live, there are concerns on the horizon. I vividly remember the Y2K hype that kept our hearts beating in our throats around the turn of the century. I think of the general sense of defeat among many of us when 9-11, Katrina, the Haitian, Chinese, and Chilean earthquakes hit, and the sense of disbelief when the Indonesian Tsunami stroke. I remember the concerns and vivid opposition in Europe about a unified currency in the nineties, and the dismay of many about an expanding European Union including less industrialized Eastern European countries; the disturbed senses about the civil wars in Africa and the Middle East; and the mixed feelings in America about the first ethnically diverse president. Some of the issues, their consequences, and the emotions tied to them, are ongoing; others have already dissipated into history.
Today, we are dealing with a new cluster of concerns, and again, perspectives differ, as they always will. I am limiting myself to five that captured my attention in the past months: Wikileaks, the Arizona shooting, the Ophiuchus trepidation, the predicted California storm, and the shift from left brain thinking to right brain thinking.
While some people still frown in puzzlement when they hear Wikileaks, this term has now practically emerged into a buzzword for many who browse through the news on a regular basis. In line with the usual trend, the opinions about this global whistleblower site are dispersed: some are upset, because there is a potential of chaos when all information is disclosed to everybody, and others can hardly contain their delight about the potential of equal information availability to all people. There are the usual insinuations about the driving motives behind Wikileaks, and many fingers are pointed in many directions. White collar terrorism, anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism, and many more -isms are being conjured up as Wikileaks evolves. Yet, there are just as many sources that praise this development of openness, regardless of what the initial reasons for the site may have been, simply because it may signify the end of a tradition in which small groups hoarded up all knowledge, thus all power and influence, and large masses were willfully kept in the darkness of ignorance.
The Arizona Shooting
Aside from the dismay and sadness caused by the death of six and wounding of 13, there has also been a wave of speculations, accusations, anger, and political fingerpointing about this development. Every story that has been told after the shooting has been touching; confronting the audience with a sense of disbelief that something like this could happen. Yet, it happened, and we are dealing with it as well as we can. Hundreds of questions have been raised, varying from "how could this happen?" to "why did the shooter do this?" and from "whose fault is it anyway?" to "what can we do from here?" The main fact is, that we cannot turn back the hands of time, and correct a past wrong, but we can help ourselves heal by considering the lessons we choose to learn from this tragedy.
The hype that captivated news media and social networks since professor Kunkle from the Minnesota Planetarium Society dropped the "Ophiuchus bomb" has varied in nature from aggravating to amusing. My extensive readings on the topic taught me that Ophiuchus is not a new phenomenon, but already established in several other zodiac systems, such as the Vedic. It is just the Western or tropical astrology that has held on to the traditional twelve signs, for reasons that Western astrologers consider sufficient. They claim that, in spite of the fact that the earth has shifted 23 degrees, the precession of equinox has not changed, which means that, to them, all Aquarius stay Aquarius and all Aries stay Aries for now. Whether the status quo will be maintained for financial convenience or for legitimate, responsible reasons, and whether anyone's astrological sign still makes sense today or not, is not yet entirely clear in the rubble of mixed messages distributed all over the internet.
The Predicted California Storm
In the past week, a number of my students mentioned a storm that has been predicted by scientists. Some speak of two weeks or less, and yet others are referring to a slightly longer time span. Yet, they all seem to be sure that it will happen, and that it will be major. Living in California, I thought it might be good to read up on this issue, and I have honestly not been able to determine whether anyone has any tangible evidence that this storm will really hit, and whether it will be this year. According to the broad range of articles, there is a team of about 100 scientists that is currently looking into this predicted storm that recurs every 150 or 200 years in California, and might result in hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage, far worse than a major earthquake. Yet, the storm alert seems to be mainly based on trend analysis, and why it has been polished up at exactly this time is not clear. Given the recent commotion about Ophiuchus it almost seems as if the world of science wants its share of the limelight and approaches this from multiple angles at the same time.
Shift from Left- to Right Brain Thinking
The last trend to be mentioned here, the shift from left- to right brain thinking, has been a more gradual one than the others above. It has been a point of discussion in books, clips, lectures, and dialogues for the past decade, but invigorated by the 2008 economic downturn and the widespread disclosures of corporate greed. Many management thinkers are pointing to our overly developed left brain as the bad guy, because this brain part feeds our abstract thinking, and sharpens our awareness of distinctions. Our right brain, on the other hand, does not read or count, but nurtures creative abilities and includes the aspect of "feeling" in our decision processes. The right brain has been downplayed for centuries, while the left brain experienced a height of importance in the 20th century when the industrial revolution was at its peak. But the tables are turning against the backdrop of the recent displays of selfishness from many business leaders, the understanding that most people base their decisions on how they feel about the subject at hand, which is right brain induced, and the awareness that the accelerated pace of change in today's world requires more creative thinking than trend analysis and number crunching. So, the right brain seems to be restored after all in perceived prominence.