Lessons Learned –
The list of issues we need to face is long. I will touch on only two of them today.
Racism – Long ago and far away I learned a lesson about racism. It is ever so simple. We are all racists.
After graduate school I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore. It was a groundbreaking movement in mental health which was designed to bring mental health services to all people. Most of the line staff were twenty somethings and the era in which we lived was the now famous sixties of revolution and reformation. We came prepared to break ground and immediately had to face ourselves. The staff was triracial and we had to face inevitable tensions. Call it racial or tribal, it comes to have the same problematic effects. Early on we recognized it and dealt with it and even with our commitment is took determination.
Our conclusion was the obvious fact that we are social animals and what that means is that we cleave to our own. Each group has its own culture, language and even facial features. We turn to what and to whom we are most familiar. It creates tension unless we own it, admit it and work it out together. We did that and could see that it was inherent.
And now, in this era we are seeing people resist coming together. Part of the process should be very familiar. With each wave of immigration there has been tension. The Irish were reviled as were the Germans and Italians in turn. Now it is Muslims and latinos who compose the largest groups. We can face it, reach out or purge our integrity.
Accepting and Responding to Waves
And then there is a larger picture.
At the end of World War II something interesting happened. Millions of our citizens returned from war. Many had come from rural areas and had grown up on farms or worked on farms. Did they return to the farm? No, very many of them did not. They were offered educations and went to work in industry. Of course, it was not that simple. The small government advocates did not want the government to offer support for education. But reason prevailed.
Education levels swelled nationally, families were established in new environments and the economy grew. We had the good fortune to be the only major country standing and we took the opportunity.
That wave has come to an end and in the book Postcapitalism Paul Mason points out that we are entering a new wave. Actually there were different waves overlapping. The wave from before World War I concluded with the end of World War II. We entered a wave which led to strong economic development and many social changes. But there was another longer wave of capitalism and it is contended that it is ending and a new wave called Postcapitalism is replacing it. We have yet to understand what it will mean. But it would seem that education is yet again a major issue. With a new economic era our population much be educated/trained differently. We cannot move forward blindly. The price of many things is approached zero because of information technology and there are now processes where the use of workers is approaching zero.
Wikipedia along with the internet has obviated the need for an encyclopedia. We simply google something and the answer or answers are there. I no longer use a dictionary. Why would I. I can google a word, spell it wrong and friend google will correct me and provide alternatives.
And now when we go to the store we find, in most instances that there is no lower limit for using our credit card. Recently we asked at a hardware store if our little item could be charged. The clerk told us he had just taken a charge for $1.37. There is no human entering charges. The machine does it all and although machines do cost something, in the end, the sum total of cost is miniscule.
And so humans will have to do something else. And now we need wisdom, vision and flexibility.
When I sat down to write Gaia’s Majesty – Mission Called I found many of these themes crept into the work
What are the major things you have found you needed to adapt to?