By Gedaliah Aronson
“I am a person. You are a person. Without you I am not a person, for only through you is language made possible and only through language is thought made possible, and only through thought is humanness made possible. You have made me important. Therefore, I am important and you are important. If I devalue you, I devalue myself. This is the rationale of the position I’m Ok-You’re Ok. Through this position only are we persons instead of things . Returning man to his rightful place of person-hood is the theme of redemption, or reconciliation, or enlightenment, central to all the great world religions. The requirement of this position is that we are responsible to and for one another, and this is the ultimate claim imposed on all men alike!”
-Thomas A. Harris, M.D. From his classic book on transactional analysis I’M OK-YOU’RE OK
We find ourselves today in times that we all recognize as unprecedented and of cosmic importance. Certainly, every moment in time is of infinite significance to the totality of the universe. Still, there are times we collectively sense that we stand at the threshold of something new. We can look back and see the world as it was, and we can look forward and see the world as it is becoming.
It is an understatement to say that whatever certainty we thought we had has been uncovered to expose the fact that 100% certainty does not exist. We have no guarantees in life, and there is nothing we can take for granted, we only have themoment, the now.
Today, we legitimately have become a global village. We can communicate worldwide to anyone, in any place and time zone, and in real-time. We can transfer information instantly to the far reaches of the globe with the touch of a button. We can travel around the world in less than a day. We can order a product from a foreign country and have it on our doorstep no matter where we may be in the US in a week or less, and vice versa. A small unforeseeable virus can directly affect and impact the entire world population, economy, schooling, governmental functionality, healthcare systems, farming, production methods, etc. The brutal killing of one man in Minnesota by law enforcement officers in cold blood all caught on camera can go viral and almost instantly stir up the entire world.
We are standing at the height of the musical crescendo just before the chord is resolved. We have an opportunity to break through the status quos of yesteryear and form a truly moral and just global society. We can see the world with new eyes, if we are looking. We can all identify ills in the world that need fixing, and they absolutely do need repair, and we must work together to mend them. Perhaps the most profound message of being quarantined is that we each have something to work on at home, changing the world starts with ourselves
We can recognize that one single act can unequivocally affect the entire planet and, by extension, the universe’s totality. If this is true of an act of evil, how much more so for pure goodness. Evil makes much noise; it is haughty and arrogant, boastful of its existence and desires endless attention. The deeds that maintain and change the world forever will rarely be reported in the news, and more than often, we will not even know we are doing anything of much significance.
Goodness is modest yet eternal; evil is obnoxiously loud and will forever fade away. This is not to say that evil is not real and that we must not confront and transform it. Instead, the question is, what is our most effective means to usher in the new dawn?
Divisiveness, the “winning team” mentality, is the biggest threat to our crossing the finish line. Are we always seeking to identify external enemies, or will we have the courage to recognize the enemies within that seek to divide us all? We must challenge our preconceived notions, unexamined beliefs, prejudices, and need to be right at the expense of learning anything new.
We need to seek out the good in each other and ourselves, and we must cultivate unconditional love for humanity. There will be plenty of people we disagree with, and there will be dogmatic worldviews that we cannot tolerate. Still, we must separate the ideologies from the ideologues.
We cannot stand in judgment over our fellow man, nor should we desire to be judge and jury over another. Our job here on earth is to nurture it and the vast multiplicity of creation that calls it home. We must look at our human family with affection and a desire to connect. Everyone we meet is someone’s child, and indeed we are all the children of our Creator. We must develop the view that everyone we encounter has a divine essence, and though this may be thoroughly concealed, it is at the core of each individual. At that essence, we are all one entity. “Out of many, one.
There is, no doubt, a lot of ignorance in the world today. None of us can claim to be above ignorance. If we do claim such, we are lying to ourselves. We all have something more to learn, and it is up to us to put ourselves in the position to be students. We must be willing to forgive each other’s ignorance, just as we forgive our own.
To truly listen, we must have empathy for the plight of the other who is not me, not like me, nor an extension of myself. We must go far beyond breaking into groups, camps, teams, or sides and start seeing individual souls.
A soul is not a color; it is not a democrat or a republican, it’s not a man or woman, it is not gay or straight, it’s a “portion” of the Creator. A soul is, at its essence, an eternal expression of the one source of all. The path to mutual respect is to focus on souls first and see beyond the bodies that divide us. Focus not on the strict definitions of ourselves and others that we make up or embrace, but on the wonder that is each individual soul.
What if we could have a more transcendent perspective of it all? What if some astronauts could take us into outer space and show us…..the earth?
The Overview Effect is something we can all contemplate and bring into practice with all the implications it suggests. We are one organism. At once, we are entirely nullified in the transcendent perspective and yet completely crucial and of infinite unquestionable value in the imminent view. “If I devalue you, I devalue myself.” We are each other, and we are One World Blue!