Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Disney Getting Metaphysical?

Originally posted on June 29, 2012

The Walt Disney Corporation apparently has sponsored this song about the way we’re all in this together, a song, “One Everything.” (It is sung by the group, They Might be Giants.” The implications are significant: If it is indeed so that we are part of an “Everything” (and Spinoza equated this mind-boggling idea with God), then we need to shift from war-making to peace-making, and it won’t be easy. But let’s start by laying down the first layer—that it may be a goal. I’m reminded of a brief poem I learned as a teenager:
   He drew a circle that shut me out:
   Rebel, heretic, ‘thing’ to flout.
   But Love and I had the wit to win:
   We drew a circle that brought him ‘in.’

Not that this paradigm shift of our era is altogether new; rather, few followers of Yeshua ben Yusuf (aka Jesus) got the message: When Jesus talked of ‘loving your enemies,’ He was not describing a submissive, wishy-washy ethos. On the contrary, one needs a good deal of courage and character to hang in there without feeling humiliated for being partly wrong (or even limited) or attributing less than positive motives to your “enemy.” An enemy might be simply an antagonist in a given conflict—a wife or child or parent; it need not be an entrenched, murderous enemy. True maturity develops the skills of tact, diplomacy, persistence, patience, caring about the others’ priorities. You need not agree with their proposed solutions, but neither should you become overly attached to your own earlier solutions. Give and take includes giving a bit, and doing this without submitting, but rather in the spirit of working out a compromise because you truly value the needs of others who don’t share your scale of priorities.

“But they should?” I can hear someone asking, and in a slightly defiant tone, adding, “Why?” Below that I hear a not explicitly stated attitude-feeling, perhaps preconscious: “Indeed, why? I don’t feel as if my beliefs—shared by others—is anything less than ‘in the right.’” The point I’m making is that the unconscious mind has an ingenious capacity to come up with seemingly plausible reasons for whatever you want! That’s what is meant by the term, rationalization.

For example, I recently saw the  movie “The Lorax,” (inspired by Dr. Seuss), in which the protagonist not only becomes caught up in the ecological devastation caused by his economic ambitions, but rationalizes it by the phrase, “I’m following my destiny!” It turns out that every nasty ambition can be rationalized—the unconscious mind is indeed that clever. So knowing this and being aware of the need to resist illusion, resist the sense of justification, and care about what the others feel and think—this takes a particular kind of consciousness-expanding process. Loving your enemies in this view is nothing weak, but the height of strength, more than mere strength through brutality.

We’re in an era when it is becoming apparent that war  (or even intimidation under threat of violence) is untenable: Too many people have cheap and powerful weapons and communications devices, and control by tyrants or well-meaning (rationalization, remember) guardians of “law and order” is becoming almost untenable. Fighting over who’s right isn’t going to cut it: It’s time to address how we can work it out without the terrible, terrible cultural disruption and breakdown, in addition to a host of sufferings that add to the loss of lives, that come with war.

Anyway, this song, One Everything, echoes a coming sensibility that is written about by the Dalai Lama regarding religion and many other idealists. Us versus them may yet become subsumed as we mature as a species into a larger sense that we’re all in this together, because in part there is only one everything.

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