Charlottesville and Barcelona: A Tale of Two Vehicles

As we know, it wasn’t just two vehicles. 

  • Jerusalem Oct 2014
  • Nice  July 2016
  • Berlin  Dec 2016
  • London March 2017
  • Stockholm  April 2017
  • London June 2017
  • London June 2017
  • Charlottesville  August 2017
  • Barcelona/Cambrils  August 2017

Is this the work of “Islamic militants”?  Or, is it the work of “Christian fundamentalists”?  BOTH?

Or, maybe, this is the work of crazies.

Before you think I’ve slipped off the pejorative cliff, let’s look at the definition of “crazy”:

“…mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.”

Before you start nodding agreement, think about this: ‘mentally deranged’ COMPARED TO WHAT? 

In the past, our definition of “crazy” was based on the standards of the society in which we found ourselves.  To a person living in a desert culture, someone wearing a fur coat and gloves may look ‘crazy’.  People with or without tattoos may look ‘crazy’ to each other.

This notion of a ‘standard’ society, this idea of ‘cultural norms’, has been turned on its head.  Nowadays, our ‘culture’ is any of the people who inhabit our particular corner of the echo chamber called the Internet.  Rather than our behavior being restrained by people in our local communities, we are being strengthened by our extremes, sometimes by extremists who are half a world away from us.

We listen to the people we know are going to agree with us, with our world-view.  We shield ourselves from differing points of view.  Even among people who claim to be “welcoming” and “accepting”, how accepting are we of differing modes of thought?

We are afraid of the people ‘they’ (our preferred media) tell us to be afraid of.  We take up positions (pro or con) on issues that have nothing to do with the longevity of humans on this planet.

In this crazy Internet-mediated world, everyone is crazy to someone else.  The call to “kill the infidels” includes us all, even the three-year old child walking with his parents down a Barcelona street.

People act like this out of desperation.  They are desperate to BELIEVE something, to BELONG to some cause or another.  Even if that cause doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Even it that cause is in direct contravention to what the tenets of their religion teaches.  Even if that cause is ultimately self-destructive.

WHAT IS YOUR VEHICLE?

We are familiar with the idea of “vehicle” as a transportation device.  But, there’s another kind of “vehicle”:

a thing used to express, embody, or fulfill something.

In this regard, a ‘vehicle’ is your channel, your means of conveying not just things but ideas.  Right now, this article is my ‘vehicle’.

In the media (mainstream and ‘alt’), the Left and the Right are painted as two diametrically opposed vehicles.  In the Commonway view, they are the same vehicle, just different sides.  The vehicle of both the Right and the Left is what I call “The Vehicle of the Status Quo”:

Let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing, proposing what we’ve been proposing, and hoping for a different result than what we’ve got.”

Yes… the status quo solution is the very definition of insanity.  Not much of a solution…

CHANGING THE GAME…

What will get us out of this time of desperation is a new vehicle, a new world-view.  A transformation of consciousness.  Starting with our own.  (The Status Quo vehicle wants the other guy to change his/her consciousness FIRST.  A losing strategy, in that it doesn’t happen.  Both King and Gandhi insisted that their marchers undergo classes and trainings, first, before attempting to influence others.) 

When the game is fixed… play a different game.  When the deck is stacked against you, start playing checkers.  Or ice hockey.  Or ANYTHING but cards.

When America’s Founders were moved to act, they did not petition King George.  They changed the game.  They used a different vehicle.  In fact, they invented a whole new game – called “Democracy”.  Instead of trying to influence the status quo power, they changed their entire world-view on the nature of power itself. 

Do we need such a fundamental change?  I believe that we not only need it, we are actually overdue for it.  Thomas Jefferson said that ‘We, the People’ should re-write the Constitution every 20 years – that every generation should have the opportunity to write their own Constitution. 

Had we started doing that in the 1800’s, we would not be as separated and divided as we are today.

It’s late… but not too late to begin envisioning a new society.

Peace,

Shariff

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One Response to Charlottesville and Barcelona: A Tale of Two Vehicles

  1. Catherine Thomas says:

    Shariff,
    I am moved beyond words by your words

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