I inaugurated here, a little while ago, an exploration of what I believe may be one of the most important questions of our time — if not the Most Important Question: Can we solve humanity’s problems using the same energy that create them?
As you know, Albert Einstein famously said, “No.” And I agree with him. Who am I to disagree with a genius of the ages?
Einstein understood that you can’t end someone else’s violence with violence of your own, you can’t end someone else’s anger with anger of your own, you can’t end someone else’s stubbornness with stubbornness of your own. He was very clear that you can’t end someone else’s resentment with resentment of your own, you can’t end someone else’s terrorism with terrorism of your own, you can’t end someone else’s verbal abuse with verbal abuse of your own.
The real question is not whether Einstein was right about that, but how to put his wisdom into practice within the human arena. We humans seem to know no other way to respond to incoming energy except with energy of “like kind.” So we do, in fact, respond to violence with violence of our own, terrorism with terrorism of our own, verbal abuse with verbal abuse of our own…and so on, right down the line.
We’ve decided that “two can play the same game” is the way to “win” — even though that exact strategy so often produces loss after loss after loss. We don’t seem to know what to go with that information. We don’t seem to know how to deal with that data. We have had a hard time, our species has, with looking at what’s right in front of our nose and doing anything about it.
As Conversations with God-Book 4: Awaken the Species says:
“If your objective is to live a life of peace, joy, and love, violence does not work. This has already been demonstrated. If your objective is to live a life of good health and great longevity, consuming dead flesh daily, smoking known carcinogens continuously, and drinking gallons of nerve-deadening, brain-frying liquids like alcohol regularly does not work. This has already been demonstrated.
“If your objective is to raise offspring free of violence and rage, placing them directly in front of vivid depictions of violence and rage during their most impressionable years does not work. This has already been demonstrated.
“If your objective is to care for Earth and wisely husband her resources, acting as if those resources are limitless does not work. This has already been demonstrated. If your objective is to discover and cultivate a relationship with a loving Deity so that religion can make a difference in the affairs of humans, then teaching of a god of righteousness, punishment, and terrible retribution does not work. This has already been demonstrated.
“Do you need any more examples?”
We don’t. We can see clearly that our tendency as a species is to look directly into the face of every evidence we could possibly hope to find, and then do exactly the opposite of what that evidence suggests is the best course of action.
The president of the U.S. and other world figures are facing this dilemma at this very moment as global leaders seek to find a way to peacefully deal with planetary events taking place in Syria, and now in North Korea, as well as in the United States, China, Russia, the countries of the NATO Alliance, and other nations across the map.
As everyone knows, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military to strike an airfield in Syria from which that country’s government was accused of having launched a chemical attack on its own people. The Syrian government itself has denied that it did so. Whether it did or did not is not the question in this exploration. Serious as that question is, the prime inquiry here is larger than even that. The question here is whether, when any person or government suspects another person or government of aggression or attack, is the most effective and best response to be aggressive and attack back?
Ironically, this is the very question North Korea is answering right now. Its leader, Kim Jong Un, is accusing the United States of acting aggressively — and even of preparing to launch an attack on the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea).
The solution to these problems we are facing today as a civilization is two-pronged…and the difficulty is that we are approaching the solution as if it had only one aspect, only one approach that will work.
You can keep disciplining a child over and over again in response to misbehaviors, or you can use a two-pronged approach: Discipline and Discipleship.
The dictionary defines a disciple as “a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.” And if you wish to create a follower, you can do so with the force of your power or the force of your ideas. You can create someone who follows your orders or someone who follows your example.
The first approach, if used exclusively, rarely works, as it almost always generates resentment, rebellion, and revolution in the end. Both approaches, used co-jointly, can generate surprisingly positive responses, and, in the end, even uncommon loyalty.
The trick in all behavior modification is not simply to force change of an unwanted behavior itself, but to alter the stimuli that motivates all behaviors, wanted and unwanted.
When it comes to people and nations, what is being talked about here is not simply a battle of munitions, but a battle of ideas; not simply a competition involving conflicts, but a competition involving concepts.
We need to place before humanity a whole New Cultural Story, a complete set of New Notions about what it means to be human, what we are doing here on the earth, what our purpose and reason for existing is, and what we can do to actualize and functionalize all of that.
This is not something that today’s world leaders appear ready to fully comprehend or deeply understand — much less to implement. We have the ability — now more than ever with our instantaneous worldwide communication — to place these new ideas before our species…we simply do not have the will to do so. All of this has to do with our infancy as a species.
A lot of people like to think of humans as highly evolved. In fact, humanity has just emerged from its infancy on this planet. In their book New World New Mind, Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich placed this in perspective in one mind-boggling paragraph:
“Suppose Earth’s history were charted on a single year’s calendar, with midnight January 1 representing the origin of the Earth and midnight December 31 the present. Then each day of Earth’s “year” would represent 12 million years of actual history. On that scale, the first form of life, a simple bacterium, would arise sometime in February. More complex life-forms, however, come much later; the first fishes appear around November 20. The dinosaurs arrive around December 10 and disappear on Christmas Day. The first of our ancestors recognizable as human would not show up until the afternoon of December 31. Homo sapiens—our species—would emerge at around 11:45 pm…and all that has happened in recorded history would occur in the final minute of the year.”
We are, in fact, the children of the cosmos — and we are acting like it.
The challenge before humanity right now is that we are simply too immature to understand that eliminating violence as a response to violence makes sense. Conversations with God-Book 4: Awaken the Species makes it very clear that Highly Evolved Beings would never use violence in any way as a means of resolving differences. They have understood that differences do not have to produce divisions, that contrast does not have to produce conflict, that variance does not have to produce violence, and that proponents do not have to be opponents.
As humanity moves out of its childhood, we will no doubt let go of childish things. We will put down our toys (our warplanes, our missiles, our bombs), we will stop our screaming and our yelling, we will quit stamping our feet and throwing tantrums, and we will begin considering and adopting news ideas about what it means to be human that allow us to continue to be human without having to be inhumane in order to guarantee our ability to do so.
We can begin that process — that is, ordinary humans like you and I can inspire, ignite, and initiate it — by providing to everyone whose life we touch a striking example of what it means to be an awakened species. And, as well, by placing before humanity…idea, after idea, after idea…producing an evolution revolution all over this planet.
Ideas the loveliness of which, the efficacy of which, the preferability of which, and the benefits of which will be so self-apparent as to magnetize the behavioral changes that they invite, generating at last the so-long-hoped-for greeting card outcome: Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to Men and Women and Children everywhere, forever and ever, and even forever more.
Now you may think this idea naive. You may label it unsophisticated or simple, childlike, and ingenuous. Yet I am reminded of Victor Hugo’s powerful insight: All the armies of the world cannot stop an idea whose time has come.
I will propose and explore some ideas whose time has come in this space in my next entry here.
Somewhere along the way we have to ask ourselves: Was Einstein on to something when he said that you can’t solve a problem by using the same energy that created it?
Can you bring an end to violence with violence? Can you bring an end to war with war? Can you bring an end to someone else’s anger with anger of your own?
There is a delicate balance here that begs to be struck. To sit back and do nothing after the witnessing of abject cruelty and rampant violence — even though it may not involve or affect you directly — may simply not be tolerable to the mind of a person of conscience.
If you saw a woman being attacked in an alley as you happened by, would you keep on walking, reasoning that it doesn’t involve you or affect you, and therefore you should do nothing?
Likewise, if you saw men, women, children and even babies suffering cruel and agonizing deaths after being attacked with chemical weapons, would you look the other way, saying that it doesn’t involve you or affect you, and therefore you should do nothing? Or would you risk getting involved — and involving others who are even less affected than anyone, being third-party removed — in the name of what feels “right” to you at the depth of your being?
There is a delicate balance here that begs to be struck. This is precisely the balance that U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to find in response to events in Syria.
Is it our job to “police the world,” making sure that its leaders do what we think is right and just and good, even if it could cost some of our own their lives?, people in the United States are asking today. Is it our place to let the rest of the world sort itself out without our intervention at any level that involves force, so long as the violence is not inflicted on us?
This appears to be the question of the moment in the minds of many. Yet the posing of that question in that way suggests that all this is what is often called a “Zero Sum Game” — or a proposition in which one participant’s gain exactly equals another participant’s loss, producing a balanced outcome.
The challenge here is that there is more than one way to produce such a balance, where the pendulum rests squarely in the middle, or the scales hang evenly, or the seesaw winds up perfectly level. To produce such a balance, one would have to use equal force, for sure, but would it have to be identical force?
In the case of nations, some would argue that economic force could be as impactful as physical force. Yet if one participant’s economic condition is buttressed and supported by a third party, the second participant’s use of economic force could wind up having no effect whatsoever. (The same could be said about physical force, for exactly the same reason.)
How, then, does one’s intervention stop from becoming meaningless? Or worse yet, harmful to oneself?
This is what keeps occupants of the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House up all night. It is what turns the hair of Presidents noticeably grey noticeably quickly after taking office. It is why being the Chief of State of any nation in the world can be an endlessly thankless job.
What is the spiritual solution to the world’s dilemmas? Is there even a good one to be considered? This is a question that I am asked a lot these days. It is a question I ask myself a lot. And that brings me back to Einstein. Was he right?
I’d like to put the question you to, here — and the specific issue of what, if any, an effective response, spiritual or otherwise, might be to the use of chemical weapons in Syria — before I offer my own observation.
I shall read your comments below with great interest.