Almost every day my husband and I have the same conversation. We are spending less and less time on Facebook because of all the hatred and resentment being spewed back and forth. Don’t worry, this is not a post about current events and who is “right.” What I would like to explore is how this time is helping us see how our ego (our sense of self, beliefs, politics, ideologies) has become more important than basic humanity. And how we can begin to correct this.
On both sides of the political table, I see hate, judgment, and labeling. The basic result is the same, “I am right. You are wrong. You are a bad person.” Our ego, our self-centeredness, our narcissism has taken hold so strongly that we see ourselves as separate – and usually – superior to others. What we have forgotten is that we are in this together.
No one is an island. No one can survive without someone else. Our lives are so intricately interwoven, yet we often think we are separate.
Are you one of the lucky ones who is financially stable and using this time to relax? Could you relax without artists creating moving pictures for you to watch, technicians maintaining platforms delivering entertainment, and engineers ensuring you have electric and internet to receive it? Could you survive without farmers growing food and someone delivering that food to you?
For those survivalists who think you can do this all alone, maybe you prepared by having your own seeds and land to farm. Maybe you have the skills to make your own clothes and to keep water and power coming to you. I know of one such guy. If I was ever to end up alone on a desert island, this is the dude I want by my side because this guy can do it all. And yet, I see that even he can not make it through this time without his family. Without connection. Without love.
My wish is that this time of isolation, teaches us all how we truly are NOT isolated in this world. We are connected to and intertwined with the planet, our neighbors, and those living in countries far away. I understand fear of the unknown – and I think fear is what is causing most of the hate these days. When we become afraid, we try to protect ourselves. But shielding ourselves from the outside world is not protection; it is separation. It is like the child who covers her own eyes playing peek-a-boo. Just because she is choosing not to see, does not mean there are not others around her.
Try these exercises to help broaden your perception on our interconnectedness:
- Go Around the World: My husband plays this on laundry day. Read the labels on your clothing as you are putting them away and see how many different countries you can find. You can try this game on all your household goods and supplies too.
- Six Degrees: Many people know of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. Why not play that yourself and see how many people you can connect to? I am two away from Conan O’Brien which is cool and am three away from the Kardashians, which is not.
- Six Degrees World Edition: Combine both these games and see how many places in the world you have visited or lived, or where you know someone who lives there or came from there. The world becomes a little smaller when we can equate a country to a friend or experience.
And next time you notice being upset about someone’s post or a politician’s rhetoric, breathe. Take a moment. See if you can identify their fear. Close your eyes and send them peace. Conflict only breeds more conflict. Understanding and compassion breeds peace.