This article is part two of a five-part series on how we can make a peaceful transition into a peaceful world.
For the purposes of this discussion, I am using this definition.
A peaceful world is one where each person is free to experience life and liberty without depriving another person of these attributes.
Life and liberty includes the freedom to explore ideas. The barrier to this is persecution for thinking outside the norm.
I recently had a conversation with my friend Eddie.
Eddie is intelligent. He has an assortment of college degrees. He thinks creatively and wears a multitude of hats. I found the conversation fascinating.
Based on the intensity of Eddie’s participation, I believe he was equally fascinated.
About halfway through our chat, Eddie surprised me.
He began to label me.
He told me I was a Utopian. He said this as if it were a bad thing.
I asked what he meant by that.
He said, “A Utopian is one who believes he knows what is best for society. He believes in it so much he is willing to implement it by force.”
He gave me some examples from history that didn’t turn out so well.
I explained that force is never a peaceful response so I wasn’t that.
A little later, Eddie said I was a Progressive. Again, he said this as if it were a bad thing.
Again, I asked what he meant by that.
He said, “A Progressive believes the world is steadily improving. Therefore, he won’t look at the obvious problems we are facing.”
I explained that I believe we are headed towards peace. However, I am aware that we have severe problems. For example, the current financial system is on the verge of collapse, especially in Europe and the United States.
Eddie labeled me because he didn’t have anything in his large mental database that fit my way of thinking. This puzzled him so, instead of thinking outside the box, he attempted to put me into a box he already understood.
I wouldn’t let him do that. In fact, I finally asked Eddie to quit attempting to label me and to listen to what I was saying, without any preconceived ideas.
At that point, the scales fell from Eddie’s eyes and the conversation was able to progress.
My conversation with Eddie reminded me of the difficulty of explaining new ideas, especially if those ideas are unlike anything we have previously encountered. Those new ideas are often labeled, based on a person’s previous experiences. Eddie’s labeling of me caused him to believe I was dangerous because my ideas resembled ideas he thought were dangerous to society.
Fortunately, I was able to help Eddie realize what he was doing and we were able to finish our conversation and remain friends.
My conversation with Eddie is a microcosm of the situation we face today.
Obviously, a peaceful world is different from the world we have today. Therefore, to experience a peaceful transition, we must think differently than we do today.
We can no longer fall into the habit of labeling someone because something they say resembles something else. This making of assumptions prevents progress. It holds us in old paradigms. It prevents us from exploring pure potential.
My experience with Eddie was new.
I experienced it fifteen years ago when I first began to realize that my thirty-five year religious practice no longer worked for me. I could see the deep-rooted flaws in the system. I knew that if I changed my belief system, I would be persecuted by family and friends. They would abandon me. They would think I had lost my way. They would be careful of their future exchanges with me.
This is exactly what happened.
And, before all of those things have happened, they did something else.
They labeled me.
Fifteen years later, I can easily see the fear that allowed them to label me and subsequently write off their relationship with me.
They are afraid of the investment needed to learn something new. They are afraid of discovering they were wrong to have me as a friend. They are afraid of being wrong in their current thinking.
Therefore, instead of considering new truths, they categorize them. They oppose them. They ostracize them.
They attempt to fit new ideas into old boxes. As Jesus said, they put new wine into old wineskins. This explodes the boxes and destroys the wineskins.
Our peaceful world requires a new way of thinking. It requires us to use new wineskins for the new ideas. We shouldn’t be surprised if these wineskins are shaped differently.
After all, in a world of pure potential, anything is possible.
Scientific laws may be broken. Old standards of morality may go out the window. Everything we once thought to be true may be shattered.
Many people are threatened by the above paragraph. YOU may feel threatened by the above paragraph.
I invite you to consider the following. Current scientific laws, moral standards, and belief systems have resulted in the world we have today. Therefore, to have a new world something must change. Most likely, it will be some of those laws, standards, and beliefs.
To have a different world, we must accept pure potential. This requires us to realize that it is possible our current ideas about very important things are inaccurate. When we become aware of this possibility, we allow ourselves to explore radically new ideas. I suspect these ideas are exactly what we need as we move through a peaceful transition.
I suggest we start today.
Here is what we can do:
- Recognize that a peaceful world is different from the world we have today. Therefore, we must think differently to create it.
- Realize that much of what we have been taught about our world is based on old information and old ways of thinking. There is much new information available that needs consideration.
- Explore new ideas and understand they will be different from what we have been led to believe in the past. This is not a threat. It is a great opportunity.
Tomorrow, I will continue this series by looking at how a fair method of trade is essential in our peaceful transition.