All humans live in two worlds: the outside and the inside. All the evils in the world can be ascribed to two simple issues affecting our outside and inside world. In the outside world we perceive INJUSTICE. In the inside world we feel IRRELEVANT or without meaning.
These two observations that we make: injustice in the physical world and irrelevance in our psychological world are responsible for the rise of dictators, suicide bombers, “Trumpeters,” and tribalism in its worst form. Whether it be an attempt to pre-empt this injustice and irrelevance or in reaction to it, the misery is the same. How do we address this as a community, a country, a planet? Is there a political solution? A moral solution? A viable solution?
I believe this is THE conversation of the 21st. century. ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATION BY CHARLES SHAUGHNESSY FROM THE COMMENTS BELOW: "I really appreciate you jumping into this thorny question and I apologize for making it so oblique. Let me try to express myself a bit more clearly.It all started with a snippet of a radio show I heard this week. I have been trying to discover who it was I was listening to but I tuned in late and missed the name of this guest. He was a famous Saudi Arabian cleric that has been traveling around the world spreading a moderate, thoughtful and important message. He was specifically referring to Islam, but it was applicable to all humanity. He was talking about the vulnerability of disaffected Islamic youth to recruitment by all these terror groups. He said how, on the one hand, these kids experience, in the real world, grinding economic, political, social injustice at the hands of dictators, corruption, religious majorities etc. and on the other, internally, a crushing sense of the meaninglessness of their lives: they feel utterly irrelevant to the world around them and unable to even begin to make a difference. He said that having some kind of relevance to one's family, community or friends and effecting some kind of impact on the world one lives in is essential to the spiritual well-being of a human. The prospect of eternal fame and martyrdom in a "just" cause is irresistible. In one blinding moment they can provide economic help to their family, secure a place in the history of their religion, have their voices heard ( albeit in a brutal and horrific way,) and finally, in the moment of death, actually "be" somebody. Although I do not subscribe to Jo Ann's Biblical interpretation of "where we are at," I DO feel overwhelmed by the state of the world and the seemingly intractable doom and destruction around us. ALL religions and spiritual disciplines talk of a "war" between the two sides of human nature within us: our base instincts and our "better Angels" ( as Lincoln put it.) Indeed, most scholars interpret Islamic "jihad" as an individual's internal struggle, NOT an external battle between religions. The "hope" for humanity that I see lies in the constant presence of "good" in the midst of "bad." The "good" could not show up unless there was the "bad" to contrast it with. The "light" can only become apparent against the "dark."
Anyway, that's the framing of the discussion and there is a LOT to speak about: from the responsibility of leaders to how we, as individuals, can be the change-agents we need. I look forward to more of your thoughts here and on the show. :-) "
Please add your opinions, questions, perspectives to this conversation, in the comment section below.
This is the topic for Here's A Thought with Charles Shaughnessy for Thursday, March 10th at 3 pm/pt on the internet at tradiov.com!
I hope you will tell me what your thoughts are and join me for this important conversation!