Election 2020: Shall we call it a Dystopian Ground Zero? Unlike this past year’s toilet paper industry, there seems to be no short supply of predictions out there as to what happens next in our collective national narrative. Will we as a nation experience the next stages of a dystopian society we are sold through entertainment and media, regardless of who wins? Or, will we trudge along in apathetic shuffle towards ecological, global, and societal crises? At this point, I think we’ll have some of both. But honestly, what can you and I do? Seriously. Well, turns out there’s a lot we can do, actually. The funny part is that the answers aren’t found in any voting booth or argument on a platform whether it be social media or a town or city square.
I’ve spoken to many whose compulsory urge called them to vote for the “right” candidate. Well, aside from the arguments over who is “right” and how effective or ineffective our democracy is within the electoral and political processes, we are left with a subconscious mental construct suspiciously resembling a psychological coping mechanism. After all, it does feel better to have a scapegoat and a justification behind the decisions we make about our reality. We certainly live in times where everyone’s gotten their Ph.D. in finger pointing, so it’s like second nature to play the blame game. But the idea can be understood clearly through a bumper sticker I read years ago: “Don’t blame me — I voted for (fill-in-the-blank).”
It certainly seems like everyone is stressing about something in his/her life these days, however global or individual. Social Media overflows with someone’s rant and rave over something. Also, we seem to be running around like there’s a threatening asteroid regularly whizzing by earth these days. But like all things real and significant in life, parallels and double edges reveal themselves to those who look closely, and the pressure of each crisis always has a revelation for students of life. The crisis we face as individuals and society is not unlike the pressure that creates diamonds, but the pressure also presents a decision that leads to two different types of people: Those who give up and surrender their light in apathetic favor of creature comforts, and those who exchange their darkness for light when in finding themselves in moments of hopelessness, even if it hurts. And what a journey it is for many of us who now inhabit this nation and this world. Sometimes, it feels as if we’re trying to climb out of a muddy cavern and up shear vertical walls, trying desperately to claw our way out. But there is a solution to climbing out of this place, too. We cannot do it alone. We must learn to work together and find common ground.
These days, as I attempt to scale my very own version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I sometimes think that I can see the edges of self-actualization toward the top. But just when I think I can see what appears to be the top, I find that there is always more to climb than I thought. Time and again, with these discoveries come an awareness that there is always more to every story, and just by accepting the idea that we don’t know everything can we perceive a broader understanding of life that brings with it a peace that passes it. If you are not familiar with the Serenity Prayer, and especially if you value your sanity, it’s a great mantra to add to your daily practice.
So, what does any of this have to do with the results of this tomorrow’s election? This is where it might get a bit weird for you, but, hey, what the hell, it’s 2020. It’s as simple as seeing things for more of what they are — seeing as spirit beings and also realizing what could be as our collective reality, especially if more of us begin to see more for ourselves as well see more of who we truly are. But how can any of us observe this shift and collect its evidence? Articles and writers like these are growing in number and becoming a part of a much bigger understanding and awareness of our human construct. Why? Because of a collective decision that we must make for the sake of ourselves AND each other.
Anyone with the slightest ability to acknowledge themselves in the mirror every morning can’t help but notice the lunacy of our current reality. You could be driving to work on a Friday morning and feeling the excitement of a coming weekend, but just in the time it takes to drive to work is all you need for the world to show you how selfish and irate it has become. Competition over who has got to get there first has now taken the place of our peace before we even begin our day. And we haven’t even dealt with a single email yet. Just another aspect of the Rat Race for those who perceive.
These days, why do so many lack empathy and understanding? Is it a loss of trust for others? If so, how do we find that balance between caution and trust to where we might have empathy and mutual understanding again? How do we relate to others who are “different” and believe differently while dissolving tribalesque inequalities? How can we see eye to eye just enough to share space with one another without pushing individual and tribal ideology and ritual into the exchange between us? It’s simple: See the spirit of humanity in all you encounter while practicing empathy, even if it makes you vulnerable, and that includes any discussion over politics and religion.
For years I have witnessed how a question can become an exclamation. Each question asked is always rewarded with some revelation as an answer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got more questions than answers. There is, however, one conclusion that I can draw for sure: Our current system is designed to elevate the individual and its wants and needs, and with nearly 8 billion human inhabitants, that’s not working out too well anymore for the majority of us. So, how do we find the answers? We seek. Together.
Like tectonic plates that hang up and eventually release MASSIVE amounts of pent-up, geological energy bringing about earthquake and tsunami, our society is also on the cusp of massive upheaval in so many ways. But it has a choice to make: Do we give up our preconceived perspectives that we’ve had little choice in forming throughout our lives in order to find better ways to thrive together globally, or do we continue to live unconscious lives and follow the herd over the cliff motivated out of fear, tribally-induced peer pressure, and status quo all promoted by our society?
It’s the crisis on a personal level that is becoming the collective catastrophe of humanity. Through pain and suffering, whether economically, politically, or individually, we are ALL experiencing upheaval, and what we do with each crisis and how we deal with it directly affects the outcomes of our lives. Either we rise or we vanish. Together.
No longer is it cliché to see the forest for the trees: We have an opportunity as a species to allow that pressure we are all feeling to form us into something much greater than diamonds. Granted the same pressure a diamond undergoes isn’t physically comparable, but it is sensibly symbolic. It’s fascinating to think that the beauty and hardness of a diamond is formed by bone-crushing pressure that compresses the carbon to bond with other carbon atoms at all four of its molecular points building a superhero of a molecule. It’s as if nature shows us how pressure can transform us, especially when we come together.
“I just can’t wait for this Tuesday to be over with.” I have heard this comment nearly as much as I have seen mudslinging political ads and signs everywhere, and I confess I probably said it half of the time I actually heard it. Well, Tuesday is tomorrow, but today you can do one thing: Think for yourself, see your humanity as something that is shared, and above all, be aware of ego and emotional reaction regardless of what party you are affiliated with, what conspiracy you subscribe to, or what belief system you have sworn allegiance to. Regardless of how you feel about pandemics or politics, will you offer your hand in assistance to others whether with or without a mask and Germ-X? Will you propagate love and the best of your humanity, or will you help spread fear and dissention with your beliefs, words, and actions?