Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Opinions hard won, loosely held

At the end of the day, I strive for nothing less than world peace.

The fact that it's unlikely in my lifetime does not deter me or make me decide, oh well, I give up, it's not possible.

I support all policies that I've researched that have shown great promise in increasing peaceful conditions, and I reject or speak against all policies that I've researched that have shown evidence of harming peaceful conditions, increasing anger and violence, and instilling civil unrest.

When I support a policy, I am not being political, I am fighting for the Earth I wish the humans had created instead of this mess of violence, war and division.

If I have done my research and I am confident that a direction will help peace, I support it. If I am confident that a direction will harm peace, I reject it. I don't care whose idea it is, as long as it has facts to back it up and that it is in the service of increasing the chance of the humans ever achieving peace on this planet. That I will die first doesn't matter. This is the small part I can play, to pay attention, to lend my voice to those things I support based on paying attention, so I do it, even though I'd rather just keep to myself. I can't just do nothing while the humans do what they're determined to do and destroy this beautiful planet.

If I don't know enough about a topic to have a strong opinion, I seek out information. Once I have a working theory, I start asking questions about my theory, and then I set out to disprove it. Can I disprove this theory, given the current state of human knowledge? If so, I let it go. If I can't disprove it in the time I have, I work with that theory.

The information I gather, I think about. I use my well-trained "left brain" (in quotes to be used as "analytical", though in truth the crossover between left and right is far more complex). I process data, understand what it means from multiple perspectives, my own first, then use that as a comparison stick to understand what it means to those different from me in multiple ways - economic, race, gender, family status, beliefs, abilities, education, language, etc. I comprehend the data and think about the systems it represents.

And then, I let go of all those details, and hand things over to my "right brain".

Using some common working theories about a topic, I allow a character to come through into my mind, and together we fast-forward through the movie of their story in the world of that theory. We watch her story and how she is affected, personally. We see how his story and the community in his story are affected by the likely outcomes of particular social policy directions.

I thank them, and another character slots in, same scenario/world/social policy, different situation. Fast, fast, I see their stories play out, sense the shifts in the world, all based on what I know from my research, and what I feel from letting characters of different situations come through.

It can become like a waterfall.

What I am doing, really, is working a story-meditation with movement, music, art, nature, or other expressive outlets, I enter a space of story like a grove in the woods. I experience multiple stories playing out, and see the most terrible and moving conclusions of social policies, as lived by vulnerable, average, and not-so-average people. I imagine through many natural human conclusions, down multiple paths, like page-corner-cartoons flipping by, too fast to ever capture all those characters in writing. I look into the murky Possible, through the lens of Probable. It's like seeing into a crystal ball of potential futures.

I decide to let these characters in. I read thousands of books, consume many thousands of stories in myriad ways. I have spent years collecting stories by asking questions and talking to strangers. I have been practicing for fifteen years. Only now do I begin to feel more confident in the opinions I hold, in relation to my values and the vision I have for Earth. I better understand the role I play in supporting the policies that I think will lead the humans to reaching the potential we have to achieve my vision for us.

My vision?

Humans will work with the Earth's resources to create a Utopia of Life within 500 years. 

That is the vision I am working towards, when I work on behalf of the Universe. Because why aren't we trying for that? Why would we try for anything else?

I think that understanding is like a heart beat. A heart beats twice. It takes in used blood, pumps out fresh blood. Circulates again, takes in more, filters it for the good stuff.

Equinox@Solstice (CAI)

Engaging the "left brain" means I have facts in my understanding, that I understand what is accessible to understand about a social policy idea, before I try to decide whether it's good or bad for peace. It's a complicated question and there are never clear answers, not even on the analytical side. I know whatever facts are accessible in the time I have, and I've thought about what they mean in relation to each other.

Engaging the "right" brain means I have applied human reality to the virtual "facts" that seem to rule our thinking. I have watched it from multiple human contexts. I have felt what it would feel like to be a victim of the worst of this policy's apparent direction, and to be a beneficiary of the policy while others became victims in different ways. I have imagined the stories that will make up the reality that the humans create on Earth, and based on their aggregate, I see how I feel about a policy.

Under what conditions would it lead to peace? What forms of implementation would harm peace? How can it be implemented under conditions that will lead to peace, and what is the Life cost, and where does it fall? What would it take to do it with no cost to life, just benefit? Can I even escape my slave mind long enough to let that question stand?

The question isn't whether it's possible, it's WHAT DO WE WANT? and WHAT WOULD IT TAKE? And then we do it. Like any profitable venture.

If we only ask, what do we think is possible, we limit ourselves to what we know, which is puny. We must ask ourselves, what do we want, and under what conditions is it achievable, then go after that, even if it takes 500 years.  I want peace on Earth. We are so close, though we seem so far. I can taste it, when I don't taste ash.

So when I seek to understand a policy, and it looks like peace and the pursuit of what is beautiful about life on this planet, I give it some energy, some time, more research, more cheerleading on social media. When it looks like a dead-end to Dystopiaville, I give it some energy, do more research to try to disprove my theory. If I can't prove that my nightmares aren't real, I may give it some negative energy on social media. It's hard not to.

I don't say that other people should do what I do. I'm saying, I am doing it this way, this is how I am coming to understanding, and I recognize that many people do not have the circumstances or desire to approach things from this perspective, to put in the hours and the energy to understand this way, or even value this way of looking. This is my way.

So when I talk about social policy, you can know that I've put both thought and story into play in coming to opinions I express. You can know that I'm asking questions because I don't have an opinion yet, because I have data holes. But please, don't bother trying to argue with me. I'm not here to argue or convince anyone who doesn't want to convince themselves of what's possible. I know the humans can do it. I haven't given up on the goodness in people that want to live in peace. It's not a question of if it's possible, it's a question of how do we reach for it.

I'm not going to do anyone's research for them, and really, I let most detail go once I feel like I understand what the data means, until there is new data to add. I'm happy to tell anyone what I think will lead to peace. I don't hide my opinions or process.

I do encourage everyone to think about this, though: What is YOUR vision for Earth?

Where do you want the humans to be in 500 years, and what conditions and costs are you comfortable with to achieve that? Do you care about any generation beyond your own children? What matters in the long-term, to you, and how can you use your short life and puny brain to do your small part to promote the Earth you envision in your, dare I say it, heart?

If my opinion doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Maybe we have different visions.

I won't be the one to change that. I will continue to dig into understanding with all the capacity I can spare, share what I figure out, and put my stories out there. That's my commitment to the Universe. That's what I can commit with whatever life I have left, with my deteriorating brain and body in the second half, hopefully, of my life.

My opinions are loosely held, based on the data and story I've been able to consume and experience, in the time I have. They are not correct; almost certainly, they are flawed. That's my job to work on, and rest assured, I am working on it.

I ask you with love and with kindness, are you?

Because maybe your beautiful vision is worth fighting for.