One recurring pattern from the kaleidoscope of protests our fast paced current series of events seems to generate highlights the truth that black lives matter, or, as seems in the moment, should matter or ought to matter. It is as if the protests are a first step in actuating a truth.
Why is it, then, that the more people march, the more things seem to stay the same? The spark that ignited the protests continues to smolder, flaring up as if on schedule. Unarmed black people – mostly men and boys – are killed by predominantly white police officers, protests ensue, investigations are mounted, and then nothing happens. Apparently, these killings are OK with society, as no deterrent action is taken against either the officers or the police force, nor are there any admissions of guilt or responsibility, or offers of restitution. It is as if these men are being harvested in the name of nothing spoken, and the principle of justice, to which we give lip service, is not invoked. Yes, Black Lives Matter.
We live in an age of separation – separation from each other, from the Earth, and from the Energy that envelops and sustains us. How often do we regard each other as simply people, instead of as blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Natives, whites, East Indians, Arabs, immigrants, gays, transsexuals, Mormons, Muslims, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other label which is “other” than ourselves? Perhaps it is because the Black Lives Matter movement is also imbued with the separation structures of our age that it seems to have stalled, at least in the area of bringing real change.
The response I hear most often given to those who assert that all lives matter is that if “all lives matter” is recognized, then black lives will be ignored and not matter. The response avers that it is necessary to single out black lives so that they will be seen to matter. The position is understandable, given that for so long black lives have been treated as if they were inferior, but the position does not in fact provide long term support for its mission that black lives matter.
When any one group (color, race, nationality, religion or other) is singled out from the whole as one that matters, the connotative meaning is that the others matter less. Those in the position of mattering less are not as likely to support their brothers in mattering more. Admittedly, whites have for a long time held the position of mattering more. I don’t see many non-whites eager to help them sustain that position. It is only when we drop the categories and perceive our human brothers and sisters being harmed by events and systems unfair to human beings that we can act to remedy the status quo.
That is a first step. If we can come to this kind of heartfelt unity, we are then freed to tackle even deeper issues which underlie division and hatefulness between people. Two in particular stand out, although the topic of how to rectify them is a discussion for another time.
There is a certain insanity in continuing to support a belief that in this world, it is only natural that some should be secure in access to immense resources and privileged positions, while many others cannot access even that which is necessary to survive. The truth is that our Earth has not only supported us in the past, but continues to sustain us – all of us – provided that the bounty is not skewed. Maintaining this spurious belief is one issue that underlies our current divisions.
Another issue, stemming from the same root, incorporates the destructive belief that the Earth and the Energy that sustain us no longer provide. It asserts that if our species as a whole is going to survive, we need ever-increasing technology to force the Earth to release its nourishment to some of us. We force the Earth even at the expense of others who live in the toxic waste of technology, at the expense of fellow species, which are going extinct at an alarming rate, and at the expense of the life of our planet itself.
The assumption that ever-increasing technology will save us from a natural world that no longer provides, and that technology will lift us to heights above that nature, heights which we cannot as yet even imagine, is an illusion. When we have finished tearing down the Original natural order, perhaps we will realize what we have done. By then, it may well be too late.
Let us join with our brothers and sisters who are labeled “minority” and with those who are not yet so labeled, but who may soon be, to create a human unity. May this healing of hearts expand to transform the deeper, unspoken assumptions in which our current systems are rooted. Let us see through the illusion, understanding at last that these assumptions grow increasingly toxic to ourselves, to the plant and animal life with which we share our existence, and to the Earth itself. Let us grow from loving hearts the world we would like to inhabit.