Between the Covid-19 pandemic, racist actions, and the beginning of the racial reckoning, we thought we had confronted our worst societal issues in 2020. However, 2021 proved to be even more chaotic and scary. The year began with the January 6 invasion of the Capitol and new variations of Covid. Nature’s wrath was felt with massive forest fires, a terrific winter storm in Texas, flash flooding, tornadoes, Hurricane Ida. The social and cultural fabric of America was tested again with ethnic violence and mass shootings.
There appeared to be one bright spot, one hope, the availability of vaccines to slow the progress of Covid, however, this became the most bitter issue in the country, separating families, communities, and political parties. But there is something deeper and more threatening to the future of America; the fears, anger, extreme individualism and the need to be “right “in one’s beliefs and convictions about almost everything that can affect the social stability and future of the nation. The greatest threat to the well-being of America is the strife experienced and expressed by denouncements, aggressive stances, personal insults that are increasing rather than lessening.
Now is the time for all Americans to take a good look at what is occurring in the nation and for the first time, not engage in making New Year’s resolutions, but in “intentions” to experience and express “human completion”. Yes, now is the time for Americans to recognize the crucial need to treat and act more “human” to each other.
“Human completeness” is the state in which one experiences and expresses empathy and compassion for other humans. Empathy is the quality or ability to share the feelings of another; this is one of the most important human attributes one can acquire. Compassion is the deep sympathy, sorrow or concern about the suffering of another. Most critically, however, human completion requires our release from stereotypical beliefs about the self and the “phobic other”, that are a mythical source of identity and esteem. In the state of human completion, one is free of the influence of cultural conditioning related to race, ethnicity, class, and even political philosophies. Human completion is the state of perfection that we strive to attain in our religious beliefs and practices.
It is impossible however to develop these necessary traits for human completeness if our core beliefs denigrate the “other”. The source of the strife that we are experiencing in all levels of our society are at the core, our culturally conditioned beliefs. These beliefs prevent our being fully human and serve as obstacles to our achieving the ideals that we express for America.
The first step in the “journey to human completion” must be to examine and rid ourselves of beliefs that separate us from others, that cause us to compete for “rightness, and serve as catalysts for conflict. This journey does begin with “intentionality”, the quality of mental state in which our beliefs, thoughts, feelings are directed toward healing the strife now pervasive in our nation. Intentionality means action; not merely stating our desire for a peaceful society but putting our energy, emotions, and even spirit behind our efforts to accomplish our purpose. Human completion is the solution to healing racial strife, class divisions, and even philosophical differences in our society.
So, as we begin the year of 2022, just as we are experiencing Covid fatigue, are we also tired of hearing, reading about and fighting over the issues that divide us as a society?
Are we open to letting go of the need to be right in order to find a sense of well-being and peace in our society?
Are we willing to listen not only to the words of inequality expressed by the “other” but to their feelings as well?
Most crucially, do we have the courage to critically examine the beliefs that we have been conditioned over centuries to hold about the” superiority” of ourselves and the “inferiority” of the “other”? Mythology holds us in bondage. A clean slate of beliefs is essential to become fully human. Human completion ultimately means freedom to be our authentic and true selves.
In the coming months, we will examine our culturally conditioned beliefs and values, the beliefs we hold about ourselves and others, and the ways in which we can acquire a greater sense of empathy and compassion for our fellow humans. We will begin the “journey to human completion”.