We began as individuals. Then we functioned as interdependent families or groups. We grew into clans, tribes, and married and warred into kingdoms. We merged into nations, and entered into unions.
Today, in facing a shared enemy in the form of a worldwide pandemic, we are now entering a phase of evolving into: humans. The virus knows no borders or ideologies. Only biology.
This movement is an aspect of nature and it’s inexorable. Since cooperation is more effective and secure than selfishness, nature favours it.
Much like the independent cells of our bodies combine to form ‘us,’ that same natural force also congeals groups together so that, at each step, more and more people are included as being worthy of empathy and equality.
It is important to note that, every time we add another segment of society there will be turmoil. But it’s incidental –as though two currents are coming together. There will be natural turbulence at the start –even violent turbulence sometimes.
Despite any turbulence, nature is nature. It favours efficiency, which usually means cooperation over competition. So despite how things start, no matter what is mixing, it isn’t long before we’re all flowing together.
We must remember that there is no way to widen the river without adding more streams of people. The turbulence and roughness is legitimately unfortunate. But it is the way nature works.
It can be very valuable in-the-moment, if we keep this larger context in mind. We are not ‘the rapids’ in the news, we are ‘the rivers’ in the history books, we just can’t see it today with enough perspective yet.
The movement is toward inclusion. The turbulence along the way is inevitable. But it is also a sign that the streams are merging and that downstream we can all expect more flow.
After that, we face our river’s obstacles or falls as a united, singular mix of cooperating individuals, all using the same principles to guide our actions. At that point, together, we can crash or we can flow, depending on where our shared gravity takes us.
We should not let the sight of rough water detract us from the fact that streams are merging, and that overall, good things are happening. Once the initial rush is over, one by one, it is we who will, moment by moment, interaction by interaction, smooth the water downstream.
We are always on our way. We are always flowing forward.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.