Worldwide Discussion: The People Join In
SHOULD WE CHANGE ‘WHAT’ PEOPLE
WANT OR ‘WHY’ PEOPLE WANT?
Is changing the world all about changing what people “want?” Or is it about changing why people would want one thing rather than another?
This is a major question facing Planet Earth’s politicians, business figures, spiritual leaders, and social scientists right now — although very few of them have “framed” it in this way…because, regrettably, very few of them have deeply understood the nature of humanity’s current problem.
It is a problem of beliefs, not of behaviors.
There is a global conversation taking place on this website that is now heating up, with nearly 100 Comments posted beneath the last entry alone in this newspaper’s headline space, and I would like to direct its attention now to the nature of the challenge presently facing our species.
This has all come to the forefront for me because of a Comment posted under the last top-of-page story here. The Comment was authored by a person posting as Kristen.
“WOW,” she wrote, “this is a crazy thread. Are we still on Earth??? I feel I have been teleported to some weird no man’s land.
“A very simple thought — has it ever occurred to anyone that most people are actually happy with who and how they are and do not want to change? It is merely others that want them to change creating the illusion.
“A classic CwG train of thought I think. Perhaps just my perception?!
“IF people wanted to stop polluting, they would. If they wanted to stop traveling and reduce their carbon footprint, they would. If they wanted to help end the suffering of others, they would. If they wanted to be nicer, they would.
“Everyone is living as they WANT to, which differs greatly from how others want them to. This is not right, possibly not even wrong, merely the cold hard truth.
“I don’t think trying to convince people they WANT to change has been very successful to date, which is why I am pro law and consequences, including person carbon footprint ‘rations’, the illegalisation of many ‘non-foods’ (as Mewabe would word it), banning all coal mining, anything that causes animal suffering, executing peodophiles and torturers, letting addicts kill themselves, etc.
“I’m almost at the point where I think we need a full dictatorship communist world!!!”
Dear Kristen, I understand perfectly and completely the frustration you clearly feel with the state of affairs on our planet right now — although I must say that I am not in agreement with some of the “solutions” you’ve mentioned. Sidestepping those for the moment, let’s look at the central point in your thesis…
You say that people do what they WANT to do, and you “don’t think trying to convince people they WANT to change has been very successful to date.” On this I agree with you — but perhaps not for the reason that you hold this view.
My own awareness tells me that you can rarely (if ever) get people they WANT to change until you get them to change their minds about WHY they want WHAT they want.
In other words, peoples’ choices change when peoples’ reasons for making certain choices change.
Let me give you a very simple example. It has never been my choice to drink beet juice. It simply wasn’t a taste I enjoyed. Now my reasons for drinking any kind of juice have been two-fold: to enjoy the taste (and usually, the sweetness) and to quench my thirst. So I’ve always insisted on drinking juices I liked — and beet juice was not among them.
Then one day I read that in preliminary research, beetroot juice lowered blood pressure, and thus may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to the high nitrate content of the beetroot. I’ve had cardiac weakness since I was born with a congenital heart defect. As I have gotten older, I’ve wanted to pay more and more attention to my heart’s health. When I saw that report, and checked it with my doctor, I immediately ran out and bought two bottles of beet juice at my local whole foods store.
These days I drink one glass of beet juice a day. What caused me to WANT to drink beet juice? The reason WHY I was drinking it!
As soon as I altered the “why” of my behavior, the “what” of my behavior changed spontaneously and automatically.
Now, let’s get back to your commentary, above. You asked: “Has it ever occurred to anyone that most people are actually happy with who and how they are, and do not want to change?”
My answer would be that of course it has. But the problem has been that most people who would like to see things change on this planet are approaching the problem at the level of behavior, rather than the level of belief. They are trying to get people to stop acting certain ways, rather than trying to stop thinking certain ways and stop believing certain ways.
In the Conversations with God cosmology it is made very clear that beliefs create behaviors. If you want to get behaviors to change, you’re going to have to get people to change the beliefs that sponsor them.
Sadly, most of those in leadership positions in our world do not want to even get close to suggesting that people’s beliefs are the problem; that our beliefs are causing the difficulties and challenges and poverty and suffering and wars and violence and environmental degradation and weather and climate extremes in the world today.
Saying such a thing would cause those leaders to lose their popularity almost at once — because our beliefs are very sacred to us, and the person who questions those questions the very basis of who we see ourselves as. The very suggestion that the basis on which we have laid the foundation of our culture might not be totally and completely accurate is far too threatening for most people, societies, cultures, political parties, and religions to even explore, much less embrace.
Now Kristen, you have said, “If people wanted to stop polluting, they would. If they wanted to stop traveling and reduce their carbon footprint, they would. If they wanted to help end the suffering of others, they would. If they wanted to be nicer, they would.”
This if true, of course. But the unaddressed question is: What could cause them to want these things? Simply telling them that they “should”? No. Obviously, no. That’s been tried.
Yet when people are willing to explore deeply the reason behind their choices, then change that reason, their choices shift immediately. To use my personal metaphor, they start drinking beet juice.
Why hasn’t this worked with more than just a fraction of the world’s population? Because the reason that people have been given to change their behaviors has not been good enough. Their behaviors appear now to be supported by their beliefs and their present beliefs generate their behaviors, so we have a circle.
As noted, most of humanity’s basic beliefs — about Life, about God, about who we are in relationship to each other, about how life works — have not been seriously challenged, or even questioned, within the global human collective.
Our opportunity, then, is to invite people to do what nobody wants to do: Question the prior assumption. And, once having done so, to entertain the possibility that many of humanity’s most sacred and fundamental beliefs may be mistaken. They may be simply inaccurate.
And that is where the screw turns, Kristen. We do not need, as you wrote, no doubt facetiously…“a full dictatorship communist world!!!” What we would benefit from the most right now would be “a full partnership community world!!!”
We need a Million Voices asking a few piercing questions:
1. How is it possible that 7 billion members of a single species could all want the same thing—survival, safety, security, peace, prosperity, opportunity, happiness, and love—and be unable to produce it, even after thousands of years of trying?
2. Is it possible that there is something we don’t fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything?
3. Is it possible that there is something we don’t understand about ourselves and about who we are, the understanding of which would alter our lives forever for the better?
And after asking these questions, those million voices might begin offering some suggested answers. They might decide to start a discussion; to initiate and to instigate an evolution revolution. Not just here on the Internet, in places like this within a virtual reality, but on the ground, in homes and meeting rooms, church halls and community centers, in cities, towns, and villages around the world.
And what could cause this to happen, Kristen?
You could decide to be among those who cause this to happen. We don’t need a communist dictatorship, Kristen. We need you.