Dare To Know: Sensible Instruments For Sustaining Which means, Hope, And Pleasure In The Face Of Breakdown
I will always remember 2020 as the year the wheels came of the world and everyone tried to hold on for their dear life. From the global pandemic that killed millions of people to the forest fires that struck many parts of our country, from the economic crash and chaos in our elections to false news that led to us being the Suspicious of the nature of reality, I have often wondered how we will survive and what the future holds for me, my family, my community and the world.
I think back to an easier time when I was at U.C. Santa Barbara. I was seventeen and the year was 1961. It was my first time away from home and the campus was a brand new beautiful setting overlooking the ocean. I was hungry for knowledge.
One of the highlights of my student days was my meeting with the world-famous philosopher Paul Tillich, who was a guest lecturer in 1963. Tillich described the challenges our world would face in the future. He inspired me forever with these words:
"Every serious thinker needs to ask and answer three basic questions:
- What is the matter with us? With men? Women? Society? What is the nature of our alienation? Our illness?
- How would we be if we were whole Cured? Updated? When has our potential been met?
- How do we move from our state of brokenness to wholeness? What are the means of healing? "
I took Tillich's advice to heart. After graduating from U.C. Santa Barbara, I went to medical school at U.C. San Francisco. However, since I found the medical education too restrictive at the time, I switched to U.C. Berkeley and earned my Masters in Social Work. I started working as a therapist specializing in gender medicine and men's health. I returned to graduate school to research the different types of depression in men and women and did a PhD in International Health.
My first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, was published in 1983. My 7th, 8th, and 9th books, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Treating the Four Top Causes of Depression and Aggression, Mr. Mean: Rescuing Your Relationship From Irritable Male Syndrome and Men and Women Depression: Why Men and Women Women Act – There has been a deeper study of how men and women experience depression differently, how wounded men hurt others, and what kind of healing is necessary for all.
In 2010 I read a book that helped me better find the answers to Tillich's question about "the nature of our alienation, our illness". It was called The Watchman & # 39; s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of the Breakdown by Rebecca D. Costa. When I picked up the book, I was confused by the title. What is a security guard rattle? I wondered. I soon learned from Costa that in the past, “ordinary citizens volunteered to be guardians to protect the welfare of their communities and watch out for early signs of danger. Surprisingly, these early guards never carried weapons. They carried wooden rattles that made a loud, hard, clattering sound to call for help. The rattle of the security guard was an alarm – a call to citizens to wake up from their sleep and quickly band together against danger. "
We live in a time when the problems we face are becoming obvious, but the causes remain unclear. When we experience increased pain and suffering without knowing the cause, there is a tendency to blame ourselves and believe that we are responsible for our suffering. We can also blame others and look for a scapegoat to wrap up our anger. The right blames the left and the left the right, and the world is on the verge of collapse. What's really going on?
Costa first saw the answer to this question in the daily activities we all experience. The first chapter of her book is entitled “A Pattern of Complexity and Breakdown: Why Civilizations Turn”.
“On the morning of August 29, 2004, I had an important insight. I remember the date because I drove to see my nephew Ben's birth, ”she describes.
It highlights moments of overwhelm that many of us have experienced. “As I rushed to the hospital, I typed the address on my GPS screen, plugged my Blackberry into the cigarette lighter, plugged my iPod into the dock, plugged my laptop into a second power outlet, put on my phone headset and seat belt, and try to drink my coffee. All the while a two-ton vehicle is traveling at sixty miles an hour. "
"That's when it hit me. Life has gotten really complicated."
As Costa pondered our lives in this stressed world, he wondered if the increasing complexity could be related to the underlying reasons that caused the collapse of many civilizations throughout human history. She asked herself, "What happened before the last events that caused the collapse of the Mayans, Romans, Egyptians and the Khmer, Ming and Byzantine empires?"
Costa realized that in all complex societies breakdown occurs when things are too difficult to understand and manage. Changes happen so quickly that we literally cannot deal with the problems. We end up blaming ourselves or each other as the problems keep getting worse. "History makes it clear," she says, "that we encounter an obstacle that slows progress long before the specific events are blamed for the collapse of a civilization – some recurring obstacles that are both natural and predictable."
Costa found that our biological evolution, including the ability of our brains to solve problems, has been slow for thousands of years. New information and technologies, on the other hand, develop in nanoseconds. She then gets to the root of our problem. "The uneven rate of change between the slow evolution of human biology and the fast pace at which societies advance ultimately causes progress to stall."
The result, says Costa, is that "we are reaching the cognitive threshold, the point where society can no longer" think "its way out of its problems and eventually one or more of these problems drive civilization over the edge."
How close are we to going over the edge? It describes the early warning signs:
"We can no longer solve our most threatening problems," explains Costa. "We know what they are and we have a lot of ideas on how to solve them, but we can't seem to react to what we know."
- Replacing knowledge and facts with beliefs.
"Belief is simple," says Costa. You either accept them or you don't. Knowledge is expensive to acquire, however. You have to prove that a fact is true, and then replicate, test, evaluate, interpret, process, learn and apply. Simply put, when it is difficult or complex makes impossible to grasp facts, we revert to unproven beliefs. "
- Irrational politics.
"In the final phase, we develop irrational guidelines that have no chance of success and still give people a false sense of comfort," adds Costa. "With global climate change, for example, we are unable to implement policies that would actually reduce emissions of gases that warm the planet, but we are telling people we can all do our part by recycling."
I am looking forward to read your comments. Visit me on my blog. In Part 2, I'll offer five handy tools you can use to tackle the challenges ahead.
Was this helpful?
Sign up to receive my weekly article every Sunday.
You are in. Please check your email.