Why The Wonder of Each Other?
Updated: Mar 14, 2019
I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?” They’re really saying, “I love you.” I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, "what a wonderful world...” --- Bob Thiele and George David Weiss
I tear up pretty much whenever I hear that song. Not just because of the husky voice of Louis Armstrong, or the amazing mashup (with Over the Rainbow) by Iz, or even the fact that it will be on the program at my father’s funeral. It's because I don’t think there can be a greater truth than what is being expressed in that song.
Yet, from so many sides these days we are being told that it’s not true—for example, here in the U.S., we are told that we have entered a dark age of polarization. It’s not that I can deny that there is evidence for that, but the constant repetition of this is also contributing to creating it. I am taking a stand not to resonate distrust and anger. We are not caught up in some unstoppable current and helpless to change the rampant disparagement, negativity, and blame being shoveled around; we are not spectators. Change starts with each of us, looking with wonder and compassion and possibility at each other.
This current we are in was started by people and people can redirect it. Clearly there are a lot of vested interests who’ve encouraged our current predicament—after all, unbridled rage sells a heck of a lot of ad space, and worry sells a host of products claiming to make us safe. Finding ourselves in the echo-chambers of the internet, we rile each other up with ever more righteous indignation, imaging straw demons and vying for a the most extreme, anxiety-invoking interpretations of the day’s news. Pitting one person against another, one group against another, one region against another, is an old strategy for distracting and redirecting energy into mutually-destructive activities while lining the pockets of despots, arms merchants, and speculators.
Even without nefarious intent or conspiracy theories, the simple repetition of sad stories creates its own flow, and before we realize it we can be swept along by negativity and despair. I’m not immune myself, far from it. I’ve got my strong beliefs, biases, critiques. But the more I increase my awareness of-- and focus on-- the positive in the world and in other people, the more filled with love and peace I become.
What we focus on grows, goes the saying. I want to see what can happen by focusing on the wonderful world—a world that abounds all around us in friends, neighbors, strangers, and even our enemies.
Sure, I know there are plenty of ugly examples of human behavior. But the fact that we point them out as evil or inhumane says they are aberrations, not the norm. Maybe when the artificial intelligence revolution is in full swing we can count all the actions and make a tally. In the meantime, I’m operating on faith, that and an evolutionary perspective (more in a future post!) For now I’ll just say that if “good” were not winning, we couldn’t have made it this far.
So here we're focusing on wonder (both in the sense of “Amazingness, Awesomeness” as well as in the sense of “How is that?” “Why is this person like this?” and, “How could that be?”) of our fellow human beings. I’ll be profiling people and organizations I’ve encountered, tell stories, and share practices for expanding our capacity to wonder. Soon, I'll have this website set up where you can respond and share your own wonderings! So, wonderful human being--thanks for stopping by and sharing this journey. Now go be wonder-full, and come back soon!
“You can enlarge the conversation by taking your focus off the negative and noticing all the things that are going right, taking a stand for the goodness of humanity.” -- Pam Grout