Why Trump’s wall won’t work.

Why Trump’s wall won’t work.

It goes against the collective desire to break down boundaries between people. That’s the larger historical wave of humanity: seeing the other person as more like yourself, acting in ways that are more selfless.

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“Us vs. Them”

Borders are always self-interested activities–necessary when there is a threat or strong need, but always self-interested. The Great Wall of China, trying to keep out marauding bands of nomads, was there to protect self-interests. If the threat is strong, the wall is justified. The justification sometimes gets clouded, but the “us vs. them” aspect of wall is always clear.

The strong borders of the Communist Bloc are a clear example of borders put in place to keep human resources from escaping. The self-interest reaches its peaks of intensity when the two groups have more in common. In those intense conflicts, it appears to the rest of the world to involve brothers vs. brothers. When the border splits families in half, it becomes the most damaging and absurd: the walls of Northern Ireland, The Berlin Wall, North Korea, and more.

No one cheered when the Berlin Wall went up. No one celebrates how well China, North Korea, Iran, or Russia create walls around dangerous ideas from the internet. As human beings, we don’t celebrate increasing the distances and barriers between us. We celebrate when the walls come down, when ideas and people begin to interact freely.

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Trump’s Wall Promotes a Negative Cycle that Creates More Problems

It feeds off the worst in humanity, increasing hatred and distrust. When barriers are strengthened, the line between the haves and the have-nots becomes more defined. The separation of resources becomes more obvious. The competition for survival on the side of the have-nots puts them in a position of desperation, as they will literally die trying to provide a better future for their families and themselves. Competition blurs with simple survival.  The haves justify the protection of their wealth despite the obvious ways that it dehumanizes their neighbors. In fact, the wealthy have to dehumanize their neighbors. If their neighbors were equal in humanity, then the gap between the rich and the poor would be a common problem. All would sense something wrong about this, and the problem solving would begin.

The stronger the wall, the more intense the problems will become. The more extreme the efforts will be to reach the land of opportunity, the more intense the efforts to keep resources protected. The greater the tragedies.

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“Countries must become Counties”

To steal a line from The Once and Future King, “Countries must become counties.” The liberty to travel freely across borders creates a positive cycle of change. Liberty is the word. Reagan promoted the advances of human liberty as a means to strengthen the cause of world peace as he asked Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. The Ancient Greeks viewed travelling across borders as a core freedom. If we can again recognize this as freedom, problems will begin to be resolved.

Think of the positive changes, if we consider country divisions more like county divisions.

When you travel from one county to the next, you respect the local laws, you participate in the local culture; but you do not consider warring with them. You have too much in common. Your economies are intertwined, your cultures are interconnected; you are linked by humanity, and the problems that all of humanity faces.

As Chinese business becomes more entwined with the United States, there is an increase in cultural exchange. There is an increase in the need to have bi-cultural, bilingual workers. There is an increased need for international education. Key stake holders in society may balk at dramatic political moves such as a trade war, and threatening tariffs.

The cycle that is created is one of understanding new cultures, respecting them as equals, solving common problems, and sharing resources.

The need for unrestrained competitive tactics to defeat your opponent lessens as you realize that your opponent is your neighbor, your family, your equal. Competition is incorporated into solving common problems.

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Living ‘Countries to Counties’

Each individual can support this effort.

Working in these fields helps to soften barriers: International Education, International Business, International Mediation. Any work in that offers social assistance to immigrant groups. This can include a wide range of jobs such as teaching, nursing, social workers, or first-responders. Work in the travel industry can also help to break down borders.

It can manifest not just in career choices, but it can also impact your personal life. In every interaction you have with others, consider how you are raising your barriers?Consider how your actions contribute to them raising theirs? Put this intention in your mind before you meet with someone in difficult interactions: “I am going to lower my personal barriers, so that we can communicate as equals, and solve this problem.”

It seems like a minor thought, but in many interactions, we have power of others. We may be the representative of the company that won’t give them their money back, or we may represent an organization, and we are enforcing a rule or regulation. We may not realize it, but we may use the strengths of these barriers to hold power over another individual. When we do, we do harm to others and ourselves.

A simple way, in this current moment, to work towards removing boundaries, is to oppose Trump’s wall.

 

Why is the world so crazy right now?

It seems crazy, and you know what…it is.

We are living in a time of massive change, and it is sending out warning bells to everyone.

The normal system that modulates change is out-of-wack. When change is moving smoothly, there is a balance to things. There is a progressive element in society that pushes for change, and there is a conservative element that slows it down, and all this ensures that society can absorb change without becoming unstable. pexels-photo.jpg

Visionaries and Gatekeepers

Think of it as a balancing act between the visionaries and gatekeepers. The visionaries come in with their wild ideas and iconoclasm, and start painting the walls and moving things around. The gatekeepers put a hold on things. They take their shoes off, dip it in the water first. They ask the questions: Is it needed? Will it makes things better? Will it destroy what we value? And in a democracy that is functioning well, this balancing act slows the speed of change to an acceptable pace.

But now, change isn’t just being driven by visionaries. It’s a larger tick in the universal clock. It’s an-every-couple-thousand-years change. So, all the gate-keepers standing on their walls with their binoculars and loud speakers are freaking out. There are just too many crazy things going on for them to carefully check everything. From this perspective, we can see Trump and his “Make America Great” screams as more of a symptom of the craziness and not the cause. Every isolated enclave in the world is forced to connect with the rest of the world, and they are ready to fight to keep these crazy people from messing with their traditions. They are in crisis mode, and they are trying to pull things backwards. Since they are in crisis mode, they are willing to scrap the  functional democracy thing.

This strong reaction and emergency effort to move things back in history sets off warning bells for the visionaries too. When you combine the disregard of democratic systems, you create revolutionaries. They too are willing to fight to save the hard won accomplishments of recent progressive movements. The result is a an intense global environment, where the largest of institutions and the most isolated pockets of civilization are experiencing out-of-balance conflict. Compromise, democracy, civility are out the window. To some extent, Trump’s approach of riding the chaos–blending with it seems effective. Anyone who is trying to accomplish anything from a perspective of solid ground is failing.

What Is This Change?  pexels-photo-837268.jpeg

The only thing that can provide comfort is a broader look at what this change is. Is it the destructive force of the end of the world? Probably not. It is growth. Progress is a movement towards selflessness.  It is a movement towards the humanitarian values of equality, dignity, and connectedness. The driving force behind this has been the instant explosion of shared information. On every technological front, we have amazing examples how anyone, anywhere, can access or share information. Injustice is recorded with a phone and shared immediately on Facebook. Knowledge and skills are free from the lock and key of institutions. Countless voices are expressing themselves through  YouTube, blogs, social media.

In this miasma of shared experience we have renewed calls for justice, equality, and global solutions to common problems.

What the World Needs Now

We need clear humanitarian tasks that cannot be owned by any particular country, ideology, or organization. Broad no-brainer goals that people can commit to in a variety of ways.

Think: clean water.

Think: respecting the dignity of every human by addressing extreme poverty.

Think: air pollution.

Think: improving world-wide access to health care.

These tasks are not the property of any religion. They do not fall within any country borders. They are not the production of any political ideology. They are just plainly needed. People can use these broad, important goals to reach across boundaries. If the popular momentum is focused on these goals, then cooperative approaches will pop up in surprising ways. The first cooperative effort made by Democrats and Republicans to address one of these common sense problems will provide a new pathway to getting things done. Both the visionaries and gate-keepers can get behind basic problem solving–but only if there is a sufficient push from the voters, consumers, and other cultural producers.

Right now, organizations are focused on achieving dominance. They falsely believe that dominance–rigging the game– will give them the ability to do things their way and not their opponents. Political parties, religious organizations, countries gobble up ideas as a means to build their power; they gobble them up but they are meaningless to them. When ideas become broad enough that they are good for all, they can’t be so easily caged into ideology.

Here are seven ideas–I will call them trees–that can work: pexels-photo-131723.jpeg

  1. Dignity
  2. Clarity in Systems
  3. Transforming Conflict
  4. Softening Boundaries
  5. Spiritual Health
  6. Increasing Shared Understanding
  7. Guiding Others

The majority of the posts in this blog will be improvisations off one or more of these ideas. Whoever you are, whatever stage in your development, by yoking yourself to one of these trees, you can find  a useful anchor keeping you from being swept away by the crazy whirlpools of everyday chaos. The world is crazy, and taking a broader humanitarian direction in your life can bring the peace and purpose that you need.