A blog about our shared experience…

Posts tagged “movies

Community and Trust

A number of previous posts written here were on the subject of community and human nature. It seems pertinent to draw some of those concepts to some current affairs such as the Trayvon Martin killing and the murder of James Craig Anderson amongst many others. Many would attribute tragedies such as these to a rising race or class war, but I feel that there are larger principles at play that we may benefit from considering before we blame these actions of individuals on an overly-superficial analysis of what’s going on.

As some of the discussion in previous posts on race explores, it’s very easy to point the finger at familiar terms such as “race” or “class” when I feel that “trust” among us as individuals and a community is the element has to be considered. Many of us have been led to believe that people outside our blood family are not to be trusted, and that people will likely take advantage of us at every opportunity given the opportunity.

Obviously I generalize, but I believe that most will agree that some degree of suspicion is common in our experience and training about survival in today’s world:

Don’t trust the cops.
Don’t trust the people.
Don’t trust people wealthier than you.
Don’t trust people poorer than you.
Don’t trust people of other religions.
Don’t trust business people.
Don’t trust customers.
Don’t trust women.
Don’t trust men.

Messages like these were often unspoken rules that I assimilated to, and doubt that others are immune to these subtle but ever-present messages we send each other through how we behave and talk to each other and the messages we consume in our media.

The thing is, I’ve had so many places in my life that informed me through experience that people are very much worthy of trust…in fact, we don’t get what we need in life as far as diversity of human interaction and experience without it. Further, people want to trust and be trusted. When you watch a movie, who do you generally gravitate towards and root for? Is it the self-serving bully who takes advantage of those weaker than them or the noble champion who grows through their hard-work and challenges to move higher and higher in their understanding?

So pulling back to the recent news events that I mentioned above(and I welcome others brought forth as examples of a point, please share a link), who are the people who are part of the story? Are they stories of “saints” and “monsters” who are essentially “black or white” characters with no gray area to them or are they individuals with challenging environments that they navigate and make mistakes(sometimes gravely serious) from their vantage point? Can we easily put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, say, in the case of someone like George Zimmerman? What is his story? What was he taught about at home about who and what he can trust? What pain shaped him into the character that committed this act? …it’s possible that his past has a good deal of sadness and pain to it. Do you know any young folks like Deryl Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and Dylan Butler? Is there something you can do now to assist in them making different decisions as they grow?

I’m not trying to excuse inexcusable actions, mind…I’m just trying to look beyond the emotional response to an act that is easy to engage, and think about we can go about the business of preventing the sadness that come from acts like these by healing ourselves and those around us.

We. Need. To. Trust.


Know Thyself?

“When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed freedom, for that is the greater prison. When this release takes place, then one cannot be outwardly imprisoned.”
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

An element of life that manages to come up countless times in conversations I have is the things on which we place value. Some things are measurable like televisions, video game consoles, household income and the like. Then come the things that are much harder to measure like service, kindness, intelligence, spirit, security love and quality time. Some of these things can be essential to one’s feelings about quality of life; others can feel essential to aspiring to higher standards of behavior and living. I feel that each individual must engage in a meaningful and thorough introspective search in order to identify the needs one has that can determine where value lies.

There are some whose feelings regarding security lie at the base of what they value, and many of the things they feel joy from, connection to, and attraction to have everything to do with how much security comes with the relationships they form and how those relationships (more…)


Governance

I’ve gone into detail in previous posts about individuals and communities, but have yet to devote much attention to the third participant in society: the institutions. What qualifies as an institution generates a vast and weighty list, including local, national and international organizations; media organizations; governments and their agencies; and the institution of marriage. This spectrum of institutions shares many identifying features, but the one I wish to reflect on is structure.

All institutions have a structure in order to effectively administer to its objectives. What shape that structure takes has everything to do with the approach taken in building it. Many structures are chosen from among the existing models, based on the desired outcomes of that institution.
What I feel must be considered, though, is whether the models currently in existence can effectively administer to the needs of a changing age that requires flexibility and adaptation to meet the exigencies of our time. For instance, in the discourse on politics, there is frequently being voiced a need to think beyond the two-party (Republican vs. Democrat) system, and rethink how we might find a less divisive method of electing officials to serve our country in an official capacity.

This clip from a show called “Crossfire”, which tended to deal with the varied positions in US political matters in an adversarial way, clearly demonstrates to me the power of this rising voice in the discourse to rethink this combative approach to political structures in place:

An analogy that I will refer to frequently is that of the human body. This quote is one of many that Bahá’u’lláh refers to in making clear the interconnectedness (more…)