Well. I still sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange (and crazy) land.
We continue to witness clashing worldviews here in the U.S. that seem to me less like disagreements and more like we’re from different planets.
For example, the current U.S. health care reform conflagration. As I see it, I’m thinking, who in their right mind wouldn’t want the U.S. health care system changed, improved, made more effective, made more sustainable? (Even if it takes more than one try to get it right.) Yet many of us, including ones who stand to benefit the most from health care reform, are nevertheless violently opposed to any change1.
Most of my explanations for this so far are fragmentary. “These people are stupid,” for example, tempting though it is to think, is not a comprehensive — or helpful — explanation.
I am absolutely determined to grok this multiplanetary-views-on-one-planet situation before I die.
Because, my thinking goes, if we really are all children of one God, as lots of us claim we are, then even my most
batshit insane incomprehensible brothers and sisters deserve my attempt to understand where they’re coming from. (Why yes, it would be way easier to not give a crap. That has crossed my mind. But turns out I’m just not wired that way.)
So … I’m studying the Spiral Dynamics model at the moment, “a way of thinking about human nature [that] explores what makes us different and alike at levels deeper than the demographics of age or gender, economics or ethnicities.”
It’s a seriously big-picture understanding of human motivation and behavior.
(Here’s an excellent starting-point text-, and another graphical, description.)
I think it’s helping.
later in the day …
I’m reminded that the idea of a spiral of development has resonated with me for a long time. See Inconsistency has its place from May 2003.
next-day addendum …
It is important to try to understand each other, as I’m advocating here. It is simultaneously as important not to shy away from pointing out the extreme social and spiritual consequences of bearing false witness in hateful and ridiculous ways, as these townhall-protest teabaggers are doing. (“By their fruit you will recognize them.”)
1Note that violently opposed is no exaggeration. When citizens attend U.S. representatives’ town halls yelling “Liar! Liar!” and displaying signs that accuse “Hitler! Nazis! Socialism! Fascism!” — and it’s significant that many of these yellers are older white folk, like me, who I charge should damn sure know better than to believe and propagate this illogical nonsense — then you know something is catastrophically flawed with the information distribution system in this country.