I don't attend protests, tell people to eff the po-lice, or, in recent years, spend time constructing "logical" arguments against those whose momentum strongly opposes mine. Maybe this will change in years to come. But from the lens I'm using now, I sense that what often results from active, directed opposition, especially if it's of the disrespectful variety, is an acceleration of momentum on both sides, tantamount to two speeding cars with drivers-feet firmly on pedals, hurling toward each other. The likelihood that one of those drivers even hears the other's "logical argument" over the din and clatter of the engines, let alone takes it in and allows it to stew in the still, inner sanctum where minds actually change in a meaningful way, is pretty dang slim.
Still, I'm an idealist. I want good things for the world. I know what sadness and disconnection feel like in my own life, and I know the sublimity of deep connection, peace, humility, learning, and cooperation. I want to bring about more of the sublime, in the widest-reaching way my single life can muster. I suspect that many people feel the same way. We know the world can always be a better place, we want to see a steady stream of positive growth and change, and we want to be part of the momentum behind it.
But we're hard-pressed to find easy ways to be effective at building that momentum in a way that feels meaningful to us. What do we want to see instead of the given problems we identify? If X doesn't work, what will? Furthermore, Solutionland is located in Unknownland, and the mere thought of entering Unknownland scares the pants off of us.
If the world of problems and solutions is a map, Problemland, established within the kingdom of Knownland, is easy to point to. So the addiction to driving by it often, just to point to it and say "Bad!", is compelling. So compelling that whole social circles spring up solely because their members all like to point to the same part of its geography. But remember that Problemland exists for a reason. There are people who are heavily invested in its continuity, for reasons that make sense to them. Their job is to keep surviving in the pattern they have established, and they're likely to continue doing their jobs. Meanwhile, all this problem-pointing leaves us with little time to bolster our nerves, read our guide books, and set out to explore Solutionland.
If we want to be a part of positive human evolution, our job is to not to mow over, shoot down, or directly fight Problemland. Instead, it's more like this:
- Find that stillness within, where bravery and our creativity are made. Tap into it daily. Practice it in our relationships within Knownland.
- Get a good map of Solutionland, and locate the many oases within its vast territory. Pick a few, or just one, that call to your particular vision for humanity.
- Armed with bravery, creativity, and excitement, venture out into Solutionland. Have brunch with people there. Talk about what you can build or make together. "Plus" your oasis/oases of choice with your cool, weird ideas. (Tesla, Elon Musk, Amelia Earhart: all super weird.)
- Or, if you're cranky like me and like things how you like them, start your own oasis that others can find and add to.
We must all be creatives, all artists, all innovators. This, I believe, is how we come to know that Solutionland is bigger than Problemland.
Want a different metaphor? Listen to a more qualified person - the eloquent evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris - explain in an elegant 90 seconds how the current "world crisis" is a natural stage of our human development, and what we are to do.
(P.S. Asheville - Pink Mercury is playing at Asheville's all-city, no-car block party on Sept 16 in the afternoon! Hope you can make it.)