My favorite quote of all time is from Dr Martin Luther King Jr. He said,
"Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony".
Wow! Those words never cease to amaze me as they offer us the framework for creating real solutions for our earthly problems. Unfortunately, the meaning of these words is hidden from most of us and the possibility of fruitful harmony occurring is rare.
It appears that we have become a society, maybe even a world, which handles everything in just the opposite fashion from Dr King's words. It is so sad how little we have evolved in this aspect of life.
Fighting over our conflicts is the way of our world. Fighting seems to be the only way we can deal with our differences. There has to be a better way. In the words of that great philosopher, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"
I would have to say that the opposite of Dr King's message is equally as true. The opposing statement would read something like this: "Life at its worst is the destructive division of opposites fighting for their points of view." When we jump into the fray and spend our energies defending and fighting for our positions, we are contributing to making the world a worse place to live.
"If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem"
How can we get along when we are stuck in the fight mode of 'my way verses your way'? There is no real solution in this mode as one-half of this equation wins and the other half loses in a battle such as this. If you use politics as an example then you have half of the population winners and the other half losers after an election. It usually ends with one side winning with only a few percentage points. With over 300 million people in the United States, that's a lot of people who are disgruntled because their side lost.
Doesn't that seem a bit insane to you? Maybe not, as most all of us have bought into this system; hook, line, and sinker. We all seem to love proving the other side wrong and pound our chests in a vitriolic, self righteous diatribe, knowing in our heart of hearts that we are right! From our point of view, the only solution is to change the other people's mind or annihilate our opposition. How often does anyone really change their minds, especially in politics?
I feel that our political system is severely flawed because of the fighting amongst the parties. We spend so much time, energy, and money to have an election to see which party will win this time. It goes back and forth, each time everyone believing their side will be the one that offers solutions to our nation's problems. What comes to mind is the old adage, divide and conquer. As a nation we can never reach our potential when we remain in this dividing system.
When looking back, I can say with much experience that our problems haven't been solved by these parties. It ends up with a constant disappointment with their results. But come the next election, we sign up for the fight again. It is like Lucy on Peanuts when she holds the ball for Charlie Brown. We all know what's going to happen. Charlie ends up on his back in total frustration.
Observe how our leaders handle our opponents worldwide. You are either with us or against us. The solution is a continual war against some country.
Do we really want to annihilate our opponents? I have heard more than a few times from people that the solution to the Middle East is to use our advanced weaponry and blow them all away. Come on, really? Are we really so low browed that we would be ok with that? This way of thinking just illustrates our lack of vision in dealing with our conflicts. It also allows our governments to continue the war machines when only a select few profit at the expense of everyone else. What have we ever really accomplished in war except mass destruction?
In our personal life we may bring the same mode of conflict resolution tactics to our relationships. We all have experienced this and you might agree with me. That's when life is at its worst. Fighting with your loved ones is very traumatic for everyone involved. Who wants to live this way?
The message I would like to get across is this. Let's begin to see our conflicts as possibilities, not a fight. When opposing sides can come together with the intention to solve differences, the creative synthesis that Dr King tells us about can occur. Here can be a world of unity built on respect and understanding, knowing that our individual way of thinking is just a piece of the puzzle.
Below is a poem I wrote and published in my book Master the Mystery if Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values. The book was written with the intent of helping us all to resolve our conflicts. Enjoy!
Unity of opposites is the piece that's been omitted
If you really want solutions, you must be committed
To swallowing your pride and listening to your opponent
Cause you're just a small piece of the larger component
What the world needs now are people who are united
Playing games that divide is just plain shortsided
We are stuck in a rut while debating who is right
Choosing our sides and ending up in a fight
Arguing and fussing is always so depleting
Conflicting values in nature are competing
Let's take a hint from our Nature's Mother
Opposing temperaments truly compliment on another
The entirety of this world has been created a wonder