Organizational Psychology and Saving the World
I can’t seem to write like myself lately. I think of post ideas, trying to keep it light and entertaining with some soft interjections of deeper meaning. I start writing them in my head, but I don’t have the ambition to sit down and turn them into something concrete.
I don’t think it’s writer’s block. It feels more like an emotional block. Or a spiritual one. I’m deeply disturbed by things–terrorist attacks, black men dying in the streets, police men being ambushed and killed, ugly divisive politics. Living in this world feels like walking around in a heavy coat on a steaming hot day. In an asphalt parking lot. I want to shake it off. Be done with it. I’m bent beneath the weight.
I don’t watch any news broadcasts lately. Too much bad news. Too much Trump talk. It’s like The Truman Show but it’s The Trump Show, twenty-four seven. I doubt that Jesus Christ would garner as much media attention if he showed up right now. Some of Trumps followers seem to think he already has. It would be kind of humorous if it wasn’t so scary.
Things here in the US are depressingly divisive. The fabric of our democracy seems to be so frayed as to be in danger of tearing from top to bottom, like the veil in the temple reportedly was when Christ died.
Eight years ago I was a hopeful American. I felt that my country, wounded by terrorism, wars and financial disaster, was ready for hope and change. I prayed that the scars caused by our racial divide would be healed by our first African-American President. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my expectations of my countrymen.
My country has been commandeered by politicians with shrill voices and sour faces and pointing fingers. My president has been disrespected and disregarded, and discarded at times by those who should have been his allies. My country men and elected officials have aligned themselves with an agenda that was written for the benefit of and financed by profiteers and men of little conscience. And I will surely be labelled unpatriotic and dangerous to say this, but my country is culpable, at least in part, for some of the terror we see in the world.
I’m sorry for my country right now. It is a sorry place. And no, I don’t hate my country and no I’m not going to leave it if I don’t like it. This isn’t a movie where an idiotic punch line like “love means never having to say your sorry” applies. I both love my country and I apologize for it. We’ve done some lousy stupid things. And this is real life with real life consequences. And the consequences are playing out across this country and all over the globe.
These are perilous times. In times like these, we do best when we come together and reason together and work together towards solutions. We do best to support one another and form deeper connections and stronger bonds among men. Instead, we blame and demonize and deride. Instead we propose to build walls, and drop bombs and deconstruct the constitutional rights of our citizens, as if that would help. We bombed our way into this. What makes us think we can bomb our way out?
A friend who was an organizational psychologist once told me a principal of that discipline. It goes like this: The people who created the problem cannot solve the problem. Simple. Makes sense. The minds that conceived the plan and engineered the tactics that resulted in the current problem(s) are not the minds and the tactics that are going to solve it.
The people who created faulty training programs, hiring practices and rules of conduct for our peace officers are not the ones to entrust to fix the issues. The leaders who led us into war are not the ones who will lead us out. The politicians who sold us out to corporate sponsors are not the ones who will change the policies those corporate dollars bought. And the divisive and bitter politics that has not worked for the last eight years will not work in the next four.
I’d like to see the law enforcement communities and the Black Lives Matter movement come together to address the issues between them. I’d like to see the end of videos of innocents killed by over wrought police. I’d like to see the gun owners become gun violence activists. I’d like to see the end of mass shootings and murders. I’d like to see our politicians stop fighting against each other and start fighting for us, and for peace, freedom and justice everywhere. I’d like to see industry come together with environmentalists. I’d like to see a workable plan for the future health of our planet. I’d like to see Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists and Sikhs, all religions everywhere, come together and pray for an end to terrorism. I’d like to see the terrorists stop hating and killing and destroying and instead start attending to their own personal spiritual lives.
I’d like to see my countrymen living in peace. I’d like to see the world living in peace. I need to see these things happen. I don’t know if I will see them in my lifetime. I hope you will in yours.