The question of the hour
ARE HUMANS CAPABLE OF
CHANGING BASIC BEHAVIORS?
Changing our idea about ourselves, changing our way of being in the world, is a big order. But is it impossible?
A reader here posting as “Raphael” makes some interesting observations regarding the North Korean/U.S. standoff. Among them: “Men appear to love war, women appear to admire men who love war, and new generations are always born who, knowing nothing about war, think it is the most exciting and glorious game that there is to be played. The principle source of conflict between individuals or nations is, in my view, a drive to dominate, which seems to be deeply ingrained in all mammals. There cannot be any peace when individuals compete furiously to get on top of one another to determine who will be boss, who will be the alpha male or female, who will have authority and power over others…that’s basically what it comes down to, and it is not very intelligent.”
This leaves us wondering. Can anything be done about this seemingly “ingrained” human behavior? My answer is yes. We are more capable now than ever before of considering, embracing, and sharing ideas and understandings that would have been completely out of reach for our species just a few generations ago, given our our then-limited mental capacities and technological capabilities. But humanity’s collective mind is more mature now, and our technologies have expanded. We carry knowledge of the world in the palm of our hand, and we spread ideas around the world with the touch of a screen.
All we need to do now is change the ideas that we spread. All we need to do today is place into the global slipstream a new and spectacularly beneficial (and therefore, spectacularly attractive) meme for all of humanity to consider.
A “meme” is defined as an element of a culture or system of behavior that is passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. So what we are talking about here is transforming society by nongenetic means.
If we are not content with waiting for new and more beneficial behaviors to be passed from one generation to the next through the agonizingly slow process of mutation or adaptation, we can now opt for the blindingly fast process of imitation.
That’s where you and I can come in. If enough of us agree to be exemplars, models, embodiments for the rest of humanity of how all of humanity can experience itself peacefully if it chooses to, we could change the world in less than a generation.
What this would take, of course, is leadership. True leadership is not saying “follow me.” True leadership is saying, “I’ll go first.” We would have to be first to put aside our tribalism and our need to be “right” at any cost. We would have to embrace a spiritual understanding that we are not separate from each other at all, but emerge from the same essence and return to the same eternality; that we are part of a never-ending and ever unified energy flow, much as a wave is part of the ocean, rising, expressing, and flowing back to its source.
If enough of us at the grass roots level demonstrated such behaviors, our world leaders sooner or later would follow suit, because they know they need the support of those who follow them to stay in power. So the key question for us on this day is simple: What behaviors are we cheering on, and what behaviors are we displaying, encouraging others to imitate?