Guilty as charged! For reasons I am probably incapable of understanding, I have a tendency to be a “glass half-empty” person. This fact has been pointed out to me throughout my life. Even my mother, who died more than 50 years ago, used to say, “Susie! DON’T borrow trouble!” Of course in my mind, I was simply facing facts, analyzing situations. Although true in part, I was also rationalizing my negativity. By the time I turned thirty, awareness of how my mindset affected my life approach crept in. I challenged myself to change how I thought. The challenge continues almost daily; I am now 73.
So when I began writing “The Dreamer” in January this year, it was a struggle for me to decide how to approach a subject I believed to be crucial to the success of humankind going forward. Patriarchy and the lowest of human desires which engendered it- namely, power, greed and righteousness- also perpetuated patriarchy along with its darkest desires. Human growth as a unified, caring and prosperous civilization has consequently been grievously arrested, stunted. Our civilization has been stumbling along for 10,000 years as if we were all born with just one leg. We’ve gotten used to it, but imagine how much more we could accomplish if we had two functioning legs!
How, I wondered, might I present such an issue and convey the urgency to change how we structure civilization and to view each other as equally worthy and interdependent participants in human life on earth? Having offered some insight into my thinking, you will not be surprised by my first thoughts . . .
Notes to self, mid-January, 2020: “I wonder what it’s going to take to bring us together, to encourage civilization to make indiscriminate use of all the talent and ingenuity available to us. I fear the answer is CATASTROPHE! Throughout history we’ve witnessed the wars and struggles between each era’s haves and have-nots. The players on each side are in constant flux, but women are always at the bottom, on the losing side. Only a catastrophe could change the dynamics at play. Only a catastrophe could force us to abandon our tendency to return to the basis of how our civilization was built and seek a new beginning.”
The feared catastrophe has arrived. According to worldwide experts, we are experiencing just the beginning of how our social structure is crumbling around us. We seem to have gone through the early stages of grief- denial, bargaining- and are now starting to accept at least some of the reality of the situation we are facing. Yet we cling to the hope of a return to normal. I suggest we have the opportunity now to aspire to something far greater than our accustomed “normal;” for it is our cherished “normal” that has created the catastrophe we face. Note the last stanza of my poem written as a prelude to the three parts of “The Dreamer:”
If ever we met
In a world where our minds
Care, not control,
Perhaps I would love you.
Care, NOT control! Obviously human beings are very capable of both. Just as obviously, we need each other to survive as a species. Shall we choose to survive as people who respect and accept one another, or shall we choose to control or allow others to control how we live? In the first case, we are choosing our innate lovingkindness and humanitarianism. In the second, we allow our baser needs or the baser needs of others to rule.
All human beings are equally worthy and deserve equal rights simply because we are human. But we also must take responsibility for contributing to civilization as mindful participants of an interdependent species. That means we cannot bury our heads in the sand and allow anyone or any group to claim superiority or privilege. Their claims are based on greed and need for power; their claims are invalid.
As we face our personal struggles and losses during the COVID 19 pandemic, let us allow ourselves a bit of time for reflection and introspection. Let’s challenge our beliefs, our thinking and our relationships with others. Meanwhile, let us choose to become aware of all that is happening outside ourselves and our control (or lack thereof!) Watch how our elected leaders and our acknowledged experts approach the societal dangers and human issues we all face. Let us ask and demand answers regarding their agendas and their bases for the choices they make for us. All will, of course, say they act on behalf of the “good of all the people.” Can we believe them? If our confidence in the answer is questionable, the leaders and experts must be challenged! We cannot be complacent. We can pray and hope, but we must also take responsibility. Our lives depend on each of us caring for one another, on each of us caring for all humanity.