Most of us cherish and celebrate diversity, whether cultural or biological. We see the magnificent beauty in the rich and intricate tapestry of life. We understand that there is strength and resourcefulness in difference as much as there is in unity. If and when our species will mature at a point before it’s not too late, we would finally come to universally understand and agree on the fact that diversity and unity are wound together in the same fabric of life and we should finally start aligning ourselves to Nature and the Universe rather than resisting it by fighting it and ourselves. The insanity would stop the day everyone can see the banality of shutting each other’s life or argument whenever difference or diversity is met. To come across diversity or anything that is different from your worldview, is to come across a different, beautiful version of the same thing.
Rhetoric of course comes cheap. We have been hearing bleeding hearts and activists shout battle cries like ’Stand united’ or ‘Tolerate and Embrace diversity and change’ since ever but we can hardly assume that this has made any inroads into our collective psyche. In short, we haven’t shifted our reality yet. This isn’t anyone’s fault or mistake. It’s a collective tragedy we are all playing a part in some role or another. We just don’t know the script, or worse, that we don’t realise we can actually rewrite it.
It’s not time to be Exclusive Anymore
Our modern day Capitalist model of society has thrived on the idea of exclusiveness – quite literally feeling that you belong to some exclusive club by excluding others in and having the opportunity to share the same resources or privileges. No doubt, human society has always been governed by the idea of haves and have-nots and how one individual or group overrules and overpowers another. It’s embedded in out history (always written by winners), and in our hereditary codes of culture and genes.
To exclude others has always been the key to feel special and privileged whether one is conscious of it and admits it or not. To be exclusive is to beat the others at the game, irrespective of whether you are playing by the same rules or not. Exclusiveness is about conceit, taking advantage and leveraging on the idea of scarce commodities and a false attribution of value to something.
Faith and Science have also been cast from the same mould of ‘exclusive thinking’. The us and them; the members and non-members; the ins and outs. Modern Science has been based on the precept of logical and rational – supposedly objective – thinking. To try to slice nature and understand the underlying mechanisms as if it was separate from us or in an exclusive domain of its own. There again we split the seams of knowledge into the Arts, hard sciences, social sciences and what have you. All these are disciplines that are supposedly studying different domains of knowledge with different tools and methodologies. They have been compartmentalised into exclusive branches of knowledge.
Faith and Religion are also rife with the exclusive mindset – the incompatibility of faiths; the us and them; the faithful and the faithless. It’s a seam that cuts deep across the collective psyche. Most religions speak a lot about compassion, tolerance and unity but very few practice it faithfully when the unknown stranger trespasses their property or threatens their livelihood.
The time of being exclusive has to end if we are to move beyond the same repeating cycles of conditioned living, or in other words, beyond the madness. We have to start being more inclusive – that is putting inclusiveness on top of our political, social and personal agendas.
To nurture the inclusive mindset in communities and the broader social networks is not about paying lip service to ourselves by advertising one thing and doing another. Inclusiveness needs to become a way of life, a shared reality rather than a fancy idea. To practice inclusiveness starts, as all other things, from the Self. It starts from being brutally honest and self-aware about our judgments, our insecurities, our fears and our false presumptions. You have to ask yourself: where does your mind swing most of the time? Do you constantly want to feel special and exclusive? Do you feel excluded from a certain group? Do you feel threatened or a victim because others are having something you are not? If you nodded your head while reading all these questions, do not feel guilty or embarrassed. It’s not your fault. We are just unconsciously believing a story – a shared reality – with others. But it’s a story that needs to change and can change.
Compliment it with some complementarity
To include something that does not match your ideals, your lifestyle, your beliefs or your thoughts is not an easy thing. I agree. But you don’t have to agree or match someone’s energies to allow them in. You have to replace conflict with complementarity. Differences lead to conflict because at an emotional level we fail to understand that that they are complementary to each other rather than at odds. More importantly we have to recognise that conflict is only something that happens inside of us. We do not witness conflict or resistance or opposition. These are just things that arise within.
There is nothing that is conflicting or exclusive in nature. Everything is complementary in the great scheme of things. Things may only seem to be conflicting when seen from an isolated and narrow point of view, but in the larger ecology of things, everything is complementary, because everything is connected to everything else. Nature is inclusive by definition. So in other words, exclusivity is a misperception of reality.
The way I see it is that we have to start from the basic assumptions that there is more than one reality – meaning that we all have cultural identifications, beliefs and experiences that paint a particular reality. Although at a certain level we participate in a so-called consensual reality or shared reality, we still have our own perceptual associations and values that gives a different tint to reality than anyone else. We live in what Robert Anton Wilson calls different reality tunnels and those tunnels change even for one individual over time. Receive a sudden good or bad news and for a moment your perception of reality changes. You will subconsciously start picking up cues from your environment you weren’t before or you start interpreting them differently.
We walk and talk together on this planet yet I sometimes feel like it is more akin to an airport where people rush by each other as they’re coming and going to different places. They are in the same building, they have in common the idea that they are all travellers yet they have different origins, stories and destinations. They might be excited about their long-awaited holiday, nervous about a make-or-break business trip, or sad at the idea that their holiday came to an end. They are living in different frames of reality although in the same terminal. They are different reality tunnels yet complementary. We can still sit side by side at the terminal gate or on a plane and share goals, ideas and experiences. We complement each other and exchange energy and information as we cross paths along our journeys in a transit hub we call life.
The Movie Projection
Keeping with the airport metaphor, we don’t stab each other because we are coming and going through different routes or that my flight is longer than yours. We all know that all those people, flights and situations are not really conflicting but complementary. Can you imagine if we start feeling threatened by the fact that there’s a flight different than ours? At a different or similar time? That one is going to Johannesburg and the other going to Chicago? Would it make sense?
Of course not but that’s because we understand that it’s what airports do right? So why can’t we understand that this is what life does? It brings us momentarily on the same terminal as we transit to different places in different reality bubbles and while we’re at it let’s work together to improve the journey for others yet to come. Oh, yes, and make our journey more interesting, safer and worth while.
How do we change our reality tunnel? Our perception or frame of reference to reality? We have to keep in mind that as already mentioned above we do not experience conflict or upheaval. We just misinterpret our environment and do some bad decisions. This is how we come up with our reality tunnel. More importantly we have to understand that what we see out there is nothing more than what is going on inside of us, both individually and collectively. Reality is a movie projection of what’s inside.
The perception of conflict, fragmentation and exclusion is nothing more than an outer representation of an inner drama. The conflict and exclusion is not out there. It is happening inside of us right now. We have unconscious beliefs, feelings and thoughts that are in conflict or excluding one another. The big leap towards a more inclusive world, in other words, happens on the inside.
It’s not just about policy making or community building. Whatever runs inside spills everywhere – Science, politics, art, technology, you name it. Our young Science for instance is only now starting to very slowly feel the need of complementary and trans-disciplinary research from other areas whether it’s other sciences or humanities. Some communities and institutions are at least opening up the doors for inter-disciplinary research and dialogue. This is a small but sure step forward.
We are Co-creators belonging to one inclusive club
A new world ahead desperately needs creative people and leaders that understand the idea of inclusiveness in different ways we have understood it till now. It’s not just about having social policy to accommodate the marginalised and the disadvantaged in society (although this is a good thing of course). It’s about real change that starts by shifting people’s inner awareness and reality through different means. We need leaders and guides that will help people see the world with different eyes to unshackle themselves from modern slavery and show them the tools to leap out of this long slumber of conditioned thinking.
We need to start awakening ourselves to the idea that no one else is going to clean up our crap. We – meaning individuals and as a collective – have to wake up to the idea that there is nothing else, nowhere else to go. We are responsible for our destiny, our fate. We are co-creators leveraging on the power of complementarity and entering into coherent energy and communication of information in this airport we call life. The more we complement each other and the more we enter into coherence with each other, the greater our power to change our future becomes both on a personal and larger community level.