I wondered about it recently, the source of so much suffering and conflict in the world today.
What is it?
I’ve always been a “Why?” guy. What is the reason for the outcome we are experiencing? Why is this happening in the first place?
The intention of all the great religions of humanity is to bring people together, to provide a moral compass, to build community, and to support one another in difficulty.
The pursuit of a worthy ideal without question.
Capitalism or socialism?
In one we find the essence of growth, prosperity and equal opportunity, on the other a sense of community, care of our fellow human, and a shared sense of purpose.
Again, the pursuit of a worthy ideal.
Liberal or conservative. One seeking individual expression, self-exploration, and unbridled opportunity, the other wishing for shared values, anchoring beliefs, and the notion that there is strength in what has been.
Nothing wrong with such intentions.
Where it all seems to go wrong is when the central driver of such belief systems rests in the notion of power.
What is power?
Effectively it’s control, control of current and future circumstances. The notion that when one has power, one can control destiny and outcome.
Why is it important?
Well, that’s when we get to the true “Why” proposition.
Fear of the ultimate outcome. Fear of death.
Neuroscience tells us that the thinking brain grew up after the limbic brain. The limbic brain’s main purpose is to recognize threats, and keep us safe.
The limbic mind is the prime directive.
Our cognitive mind, the thinking mind, has grown to be capable of overriding the limbic response or reaction, but that requires practice, patience, preparation, and a lot of self-realization.
With all that overwhelms us daily on this planet, all that demands our attention, our cognitive brains can be fooled, overloaded, out whited, and constantly over-thinking.
When that happens, the limbic brain takes over, drives us towards things that we perceive as safe, and so our belief systems, our religions, politics, and philosophies become our protection.
We find power in the notion that we are right and they are wrong, we are better and they are worse, we belong and they do not.
Power is false prophecy. It’s the notion of control.
If we can control the outcome, maybe we can control the ultimate outcome?
All the richest, the most powerful, the best, the greatest, the wealthiest, they all live and die. No one has ever controlled that outcome.
Power may provide the powerful with some transient or even sustained belief that they have control, but unfortunately, one day it will be lost. In the meantime what is the cost?
The cost of isolation, fear mongering, imposition upon another, judgment, and constant comparison.
Power is us versus them, me versus you, one versus another.
Power is always looking behind you, while you pine for what may come. There is no presence in power, only fear of loss of power.
Can we dispense with power? Not likely, it has existed since humanity has existed. Unfortunately it’s part of the nature of being.
So how do we combat this nature?
I would suggest we spend more time on how we live now than what we have or seek to gain in the future. All we really have is this moment, so how can we actually be in it?
Finding ways to allow our cognitive brains the availability to manage our limbic brains. Reducing distraction, stress, overwhelm, and fatigue allows our cognitive brain to have a chance.
A chance to see the worthy ideal in our belief systems, and not the power and imposition born of fear.
Can we focus on what we have, not on what we have not?
Presence is true power. The power to touch, feel, taste, smell, hear, and see are the senses we were blessed with so that we would find value in each moment.
Touch the people you love
Taste the food you cultivate
Smell the air you breath
Hear the sounds all around you
See the incredible views
It all sounds cliche until you actually lean in. We spend so much time missing the time that passes, hoping for the time that will come. Wishing we were somehow more powerful, so we could control the uncontrollable.
What a waste.