Friday, March 14, 2014

Status Quo & Broader Vision - A Guest Post by Michael Brine

Status Quo & Broader Vision

The articles which will be presented in this series are designed to have us take a deeper look at the world in which we have been raised. To assist us in taking a more objective look at what is happening in the world around us and in which we are inexorably involved.

By gaining a broader vision we can collectively affect the outcome which for this writer, given our present course, is not too uplifting! We have the power to create change. Will we be able to rise to this challenge and help create a more loving and compassionate world for us and those that follow?

Here then is the challenge facing us, but not only us, but all life, human and the other life forms who share this world with us.

All of us are deeply influenced by the culture within which we are raised. Equally so are we influenced, like a seedling, by the conditions extant within the family situation in which we are planted whether good, bad or indifferent. For each one of us the pattern is set from these very early years and, as with a plant, the quality of the soil or lack of it will have a huge bearing on the outcome and how we interact with the various challenges our life's journey presents to us in the future.

Equally so is the influence of the society and its culture in which we are raised. Again, what we are exposed to is what we learn with all its attitudes and judgments, and, its limitations. As a child it's all we know. How could it be otherwise? This of course applies not only to our Western culture but indeed to all cultures throughout the world. With this in mind it should help us to exercise a bit more tolerance towards other cultures different from our own even when the beliefs and attitudes of that culture seem so very different to what we have been raised to believe or accept as "normal".

In these situations what I try always to remember is that at our roots we are all very similar. We all want love, happiness and security. We have two arms two legs, a heart and when we sit on the toilet it happens! The rest is what we have been conditioned to accept within our cultural and family setting as being the way it is.

The world desperately needs healing. As never before we need to reach out to each other and show tolerance and compassion and, indeed, see the differences not as threatening but as some thing to celebrate and indeed learn from. It must be said however, that there are 'customs' based or have evolved from some form of fear based thinking. Why else for instance would Islamic women have to keep their faces hidden? Or when in India two men who are friends can walk down the street holding hands as a sign of their friendship but in the West be seen as gay? And if they are gay who cares! As Trudeau once said "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the Nation". Why all these judgments?

Let me describe an incident that is emblazoned on my memory to illustrate a point of how quick we can be to pass judgment on another when that 'other' is perceived to behave in a way that is different from the accepted 'norms'. One afternoon as a young man, while working in Karachi and living in quarters provided by my employer for their foreign staff, I joined a group of children belonging to my work colleagues who lived in this apartment block. We were gathered on the lawn and we started to interact and play together. We rolled on the grass and chased each other and laughed and giggled and I got 'into it' and it was so much fun just being a kid again and the children treated me like one of their own. Suddenly, I became aware of some of the parents standing there looking at us with question marks and some degree of disapproval showing on their faces. I realized that I was being judged and all sense of joy drained from me and I felt very uncomfortable.

I am certainly not the first to say that we need to celebrate our differences not be suspicious of them but we must also see that basically we are very similar with the same hopes and fears and that this one fact alone should bring us closer together not drive us further apart.

Children don't see differences until some one older points them out. Children just play and that my friends is what we need to do ‐ to dance and giggle and tease each other and then hold hands and jump into the water together screaming and laughing all the way!

We are so controlled by our fears that we will never find real joy or be able to climb up out of the "Box"  that imprisons.......................................................................................................................... that imprisons us until we can stand to the side and watch and observe how conditioned we are to
accept unquestioningly the Status Quo by which we have allowed ourselves to be imprisoned.

Dance anyone?

Michael Brine

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