When we believe in thoughts, our natural and effortless intelligence and compassion gets distorted in various ways. This has come up for me many times over the last few days, both looking at my own life and others.
One is the focus on irrelevant and temporary issues in the media, while there are so many serious issues we need to address: widening gap between wealthy and poor within and among nations, the influence of multinational corporations on media, politicians and policies, unraveling ecosystems on all levels, risk of mass epidemics of various types, the abysmal state of the decision making system in the US (polarized, money infested) and the healthcare system (inefficient, exclusive, expensive) and the media (corporate, moneymaking as only goal), etc. There are so many workable solutions to all these crucial issues, so why not focus on them instead? Why not bring those into the public attention? Do we really want (short term) profits to be the final criterion for what the media focuses on?
This also came up as I (finally) watched the movie Patch Adams tonight. I found it deeply touching and inspiring, and also bringing attention to a in many ways flawed medical system. One that is exclusive (only for those with money, only the traditional reductionistic medical model accepted), dehumanizing (clients treated as a disease and not a full human being, and doctors functioning within a system that dehumanizes them as well), and tremendously inefficient (large amounts of money going to the middle men). Yet, when I read the reviews online they were almost uniformly disparaging. The movie brings up a hugely important topic affecting large numbers of people, and the majority of the movie critics overlook that in favor of putting down various aspects of the movie. They could at least start with this wider, deeply human, context, and then as an afterthought point out a few things that could have been done differently.
I realize that these reactions are seen (or at least often portrayed) as naive in the US, although there are countries where the media that takes up serious issues in a far more thorough way, where ordinary humanity is seen as primary in all areas of society (including often movie reviews), where the political system is far less polarized and not caught up in money, where everyone has access to healthcare and the healthcare system itself is far more efficient and of equal (or higher) quality. I was born and grew up in one of them. And money is not so much an issue as intention.
It is fully possible to create a social system – in terms of decision making, economy, health care, etc. – where what is attractive on the small scale is beneficial on the large, and where what is attractive in the short term is beneficial in the long term. It is not naive. What is naive is to believe that our current system – set up so what is desireable for individuals often hurt the larger social system, and what is profitable in the short term is disasterous in the long term – can go on much longer. We already see the clear signs of the breakdown.
The Earth is a seamless system – the health of the parts and the whole is intimately connected, as is our current health and the health of future generations. Until we realize this more fully, and create deep cultural and structural changes reflecting this, we operate within a suicidal system. One that will fall, and take us with it unless there are large scale changes within a few years or at the longest decades.