#32 – Fear and Loathing in America

Each person in the global village has a choice of two narratives to provide the context in which to create their life’s experience. The overwhelming majority of us choose Paradigm B in which the dominant source of energy is fear. The source of energy in the second choice, Paradigm A, is compassion expressed as life-enhancing service to others and stewardship of all of Creation.

What many of us are experiencing today after choosing Paradigm B has been described by Cameron Tung in his New York Times Magazine article of April 29, 2018. It is important to understand at this point that fear always precedes emotional reactions such as anger but the segue from fear to anger is so rapid that the fear is often not consciously experienced. “Is it possible that anger qualifies, at this point, as a national pastime? It roils our cultural dialogue, poisons social media and—as is frequently, and somewhat helplessly, observed—it curdles much of our politics into a zero-sum game of tribal loathing.”  Why is there so much fear and loathing in America?

All human behavior flows from our story (our beliefs, attitudes and values) which in turn determine our identity as individuals or collectives. The American narrative in short “poisons” our behavior. “Sometimes the backlash will come from a group that sees itself as marginalized, hemmed in by hostile and entrenched adversaries [the other]; sometimes it will come from those who merely see themselves as being righteously on the side of the unduly oppressed; sometimes it will seem to happen reflexively, like an involuntary spasm.”  The end result is that the human community is shattered into a kaleidoscope of competing and warring factions.

Fundamentally, self-destructive behavior is a reaction or resistance to the experience of life itself. Social media has tended to intensify these reactions creating a rolling backlash to what is happening in any given community or even within a given individual. “First would come sustained praise for a film or song or celebrity; then that praise would start a groundswell of resistance, naysaying and condemnation; then all that hostility would arouse a volley of even more ardent adulation; and so on.”

Notice the key words “values” and “beliefs” in Tung’s search for the causes of an increasingly violent Global Village. “Questions of taste and aesthetics have always been intimately bound up with questions of status and character and overarching cultural values. Even the most humdrum disagreements resolves itself, through one wave of backlash after another, into the same central question: Why does ‘everyone’ believe the wrong thing.”

For the answer click on the link below.

Insight # 31: Projecting their fears onto the objective world, most of humanity is creating the tragic future that it is seeks to avoid.

Link:

  • See Illusion in The ABC’s of Simple Reality, Roy Charles Henry, May 2018.

References:

  1. Tung, Cameron. “Chain Reaction.” The New York Times Magazine. April 29, 2018, pages 9-11.

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