Election Results: is it the Dawn of a New Era, or…?

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Or… is it the Dawn of a New Error?

On the morning following the 2016 election results, I received a Facebook message from a dear friend.

“Honestly, I am so concerned on so many levels…. I am going to pray a lot and try to be more inclusive and more loving.”

I don’t do politics for reasons I’ll touch on a little later, so this really isn’t a political article. But I had been thinking of writing an article on the general topic, and that message from my friend, was perfect timing.

The Dawning of a New Era… or… The Dawning of a New Error?

President Elect, Donald J. Trump. Image clipped from Trump’s acceptance speech.

So which is it? Which will the next four years be more like? A new era of growth and revival of American business, or… a big error… a mistake in choice of leaders? We can’t know for sure until we’ve lived through it. So this is about what we can know and do.

The one thing we can do for sure is take action that matters.

Which it is for us… an era or error, is primarily based on our perspective… our conditioning… our memes. This applies to not just election news but other news and circumstances in life as well.

We are living in the same world as our neighbors, our friends, our family members and coworkers who voted opposite us. The same world where our friendships enjoy camaraderie, appreciation and respect. Until. It’s not uncommon for these positive relations to become strained or even vanquish, once we discover that we have different political, religious or social views.

Similarly, there are people we do not know, whom we do not wish to know or associate with, if we first learn of their leanings in the areas that are considered taboo to discuss in polite company. As someone who manages Facebook communities where dialogues occur, it can be astonishing to observe how hateful and mean some people can be to others whom they’ve never met. Why? Simply because of a difference of opinion?We’ve likely all seen some semblance of this in online social groups.

This worst of human behavior seems bolder shouting from behind the veil of virtual anonymity. Perhaps this is a phenomenon of the absence of human connection. I remember the corner store bench, where Granddad used to hang out with his volunteer firefighter buddies. That’s fosters a different community integration than the highly connected electronic disconnect. There’s something about seeing and recognizing another living, feeling sentient being on the other side of that keyboard, that tends to foster more human decency.

Divided we fall.
Divided we fall.
birds on a wire, political humor
United we stand.

It’s a good time to remember that different isn’t dangerous and diversity need not be divisive.

Our children are internationally adopted.  Our daughter was born in India and our son was born in Russia. Coleman was born in West Virginia and I was born in Alabama.

When desegregation began in the late 60’s, my family decided to move. We moved for two reasons. First, because my parents wanted to live on an island. They chose Hawaii. How lucky was that?! And, second, because they did not want my brother and I to grow up influenced by the racial tension of the southern environment of that era. So we moved to a place where we were suddenly the minority in a poi pot of cultures.

We did not realize that we would experience prejudice as a minority, but that is a negative I am now grateful to have lived through. In the Hawaii of the early 70’s, I experience being on the minority side of prejudice based on the color of my skin. The ludicrosity of prejudice is forever etched into my psyche. Might as well hate a rose because it isn’t a lily.

It’s interesting that while most people I know today are educated and informed enough to not feel racial prejudice, many fly into immediate camps of division and categorize people favorably and unfavorably, depending on a particular view. Politics divide families. Religion divides friends. Social views prevent people who might otherwise get along, from learning new concepts.

Prejudice is like hating a rose because it isn’t a lily. Silly.

Poles are Polarizing and the Physics of Magnetism

We’ve all experienced how polarizing topics can alienate people or unite them. People come together compatibly, or repel each other based on their views and life orientation.

In physics, this is represented by the poles of magnets. Magnets attract or repel. Issues can do the same.

Remember in elementary school learning about magnetism by observing what happened to iron shavings around magnets? Similarly, how the magnetic poles would attract or repel each other?

Depending on one’s political indoctrination, we can see the same news and interpret it in exactly opposite ways. Thoughts and opinions create magnetic fields that attract and repel others into our space and into our life.
Magnet field and polarization of magnetic shavings. Image by Wendell Oskay on Flickr

We can think of thoughts as magnetic fields.

Depending on one’s political indoctrination, we can see the same news and interpret it in exactly opposite ways. Thoughts and opinions create magnetic fields that attract and repel others into our space and into our life.

When it comes to deeply held beliefs, this may be the area where opposites do not attract.

The Cult of Culture… and the Culture of Cults

Without culture… inculturation into the ways of the society we live in, it would be harder to get along. Systems of thinking and ways of doing things govern all social groups, from families to corporations, to civic groups, religion, politics and even our circles of friendships. Cultural indoctrination is vital for organizing thinking and interacting in ways that allow us to focus on other things.

Beliefs become structures that hold our thoughts and opinions.

When we drink water from a glass, we do not have to focus on the glass. It contains the water and provides a convenient way for us to consume it. Without that vessel, it is harder to drink. Without structures, it is hard to function in a physical world. Beliefs become structures that hold our thoughts and opinions, in much the way our homes hold our lives, and churches or religion “hold” our spirituality.

Another example is the system of traffic in the US, with street lights, stop signs, crosswalks, speed limits and all the laws that regulate traffic. In the US these are important to the ordered functioning of our community and country roadways.

As drivers, passengers and pedestrians, we can generally count on these systems working well. Yes, accidents happen, but overall, day after day, vehicles travel freely within the constraints of this system, without problems.

we are all indoctrinated. It’s inevitable.

Similarly, living in any family, community and society necessarily has its own version of systems of thinking, carved from the experience of elders and tweaked in each new age. Culture serves to refine us to coexist comfortably and peacefully. However, culture can also be an in-cult-uration that constricts human creativity, individuality and freedom.

Cultural indoctrination is simultaneously essential and detrimental.

Psychologically, one of the reasons emotional and mental pain can be more anguishing to deal with than physical pain is because there is no identifiable spot. We cannot place a soothing hand or salve on the ache. We are accustomed to relating to things physically, and when the physical boundaries are not there, we are uncomfortable.

Beliefs provide boundaries for thoughts to live. When beliefs are shaken or threatened, it’s like living through an earthquake. Everything we know and count on as solid and real and good, feels threatened.

The word cult is a root word of culture.

Think of it. Consider any ideology you hold dear. Reflect upon it as a jeweler holding up a diamond to view with the squint of a critic’s eye. Jewelers are looking for the imperfections in the stone. They’re naturally biased to love the diamond, to appreciate it while simultaneously looking for any imperfections that might exist within the many reflective facets. Blemishes that most of us would never be aware of  or notice.

This is cause for an objective mind to pause and reflect on this theory of relativity. There is so much more underlying this topic than we will be able to cover here, but the tip of that iceberg connects with how most of what we think and believe has been given to us.

One of most epic commercials of all time is Apple’s 1984 commercial that depicts the shocking shake up of a virtual zombie army of mesmerized citizens. In Rome, it was “bread and circuses”. In our times, “circuses” are happening every time we tune into the media. It might be The Kardashians… politics… Angry Birds, riots or the latest shocking thing.

But whenever we find ourselves mesmerized by negatives, it’s time to shake up our beliefs.

Physics, Psychology and Philosophy

I was surprised to love high school physics. Not being into science, I didn’t expect that I would enjoy anything in the science realm. But physics with its theory of relativity and laws of thermodynamics, seems as much psychology and philosophy to me as science. So being a lifelong student of both, psychology and philosophy, I discovered enjoyable parallels.

The first analogy my professor used was the bouncing ball analogy.

Relevance and the Theory of Relativity

Physics and the Bouncing Ball
You’re stopped at a stop light and a man is bouncing a basketball across the crosswalk in front of you. You observe the ball in its journey from hand to road and back again. It appears to  draw an invisible pathway in its journey in the air that looks something like this:


The man bouncing the ball sees the path of the ball something like this:


To you, the ball is bouncing down and up at an angle. To him, the ball is bouncing straight down from his palm each time.

Who is right? You both are.

Depending on your perspective, you’re both seeing correctly.

You can argue all day long about who is right and be convinced the other is wrong and you’d both lose… and you’d both win. Because you’re both right and both wrong. See?

So when it comes to our world views… politics… fear of what will happen if our candidate does or does not win the election, it can be very helpful and very healthy to check the premise of thoughts and especially of our fears.

Menopause Myth and a Way Out of Fear

As I reached menopause, the hormonal chemistry taking place in my body caused a rise in cortisol that heightened a lifelong mild case of claustrophobia. It’s actually cleithrophobia, which is the fear of being trapped, not just of small spaces, but claustrophobia is the more familiar term.[1]https://www.verywell.com/cleithrophobia-2671737

These are things most doctors don’t tell you about menopause and hot flashes, but this isn’t about that topic, so I won’t dive deep into that meme here. The relevance is how if I had only the knowledge of cleithrophobia and not the knowledge of what cortisol can do in the body, chances are I would’ve formed the belief that the ensuing intensification of panic attacks were because of being placed in constricting circumstances. This would have limited my life in so many ways.

Instead, as I learned more about the chemical reactions taking place in my body, that knowledge empowered understanding. Understanding reduced fear. Understanding made the anxiety attacks much easier to manage.

Understanding reduces fear.

Belief and Politics

In the book, The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow, colorful stories of poignant cases reveal how our lives are simultaneously ruled by randomness and conditioning, more than we can imagine.

An extraordinarily well done movie by director, Adam McKay based on real life people and events leading to the 2008 economic collapse, is The Big Short. In this film there are flashbacks to childhood scenes that help you understand the psychological makeup and experiences that led to each becoming who they became as adults.

One of the main characters is depicted in childhood flashback. As a young Jewish student, he had been disciplined at school for questioning the Torah. When the boy’s mother comes to the school and is confronted with the misdeeds of her son, she’s told that her son was an impertinent poor student for reading the entire Koran looking for something that might be wrong or misinformation. Instead of being angry with her son, her response was, “Well, did you find anything?”

In another article we’ve expanded on this concept of questioning our own absolutes. Of probing our rigid beliefs and doctrines to let in a little light and fresh air. Even the greatest tree is an evolution of growth, expanding beyond its previous “ring” of growth.

When we stop inquiring, we stop looking up. We move from doctrine to indoctrination and from culture to cult… from dogma to dogmatic.
When we stop inquiring, we stop looking up. We move from doctrine to indoctrination and from culture to cult… from dogma to dogmatic.

The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now established principles and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society.” Dictionary.com[2]http://www.dictionary.com/browse/dogma?s=t

If you want to suffer in fear and doubt, do nothing. If you want to look toward creating your own best possible outcome, question and consider.

Physics, Relativity and Perspective

Remember the basketball physics?

Well, we could create a poll that listed negatives attributed to each political candidate but removed any words that identified to whom the trait or accusation belonged. If we asked voters from each “side” to identify which candidate the list described, respondents would always point to the opposite party.

Nor can we rely on the news media for fact based news. I think we all have a growing sense of this, yes? That there are serious flaws and biases in the news we read and see.

This old quote:
“You can’t believe everything you read in the paper.”

Has now been expanded to:
“You can’t believe everything you read online.”
“You can’t believe everything you see on TV.”

Our views are naturally impacted by our perspective.

Years ago I served as one of the contacts for news stories for a non-profit organization. During the years in that role and numerous news stories, never once was there a story that did not have multiple mistakes. Not once.

The lenses through which we view things are colored by more things than we can imagine. In his book, Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton reveals how even our cells can change their nature based on whatever medium they’re exposed to.

Imagine. A cell from a lung, can take on the qualities of cells from a bladder if exposed to the culture that surrounds a bladder. Humans are programmed at our very cellular level to take on the qualities of our environment. That’s culture.


Check Your Premises

In the classic book, Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand slowly unravels the perspective of relativity through the story and characters in that widely popular novel. One of the key concepts that keeps surfacing is the phrase, “Check your premises.”

This is the concept that we’ve arrived at assumptions, but what if our original premises and basis for making that conclusion is flawed? What if?

In the US presidential election of 2016, approximately half of Americans are disappointed. Some are raging angry, others are depressed and many are worried.

Now is the time to check our premise of assumptions and “knowledge” based on what we’ve been told.

Here’s what’s certain. We cannot know any candidate by the media coverage.

For the thinking person, let us check our premises. Let’s follow the advice of another favorite author, Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, which introduces us to the vital concept of a learner’s mindset. Let’s check the premises of our assumptions and ask:

“Is this really true.”

“How do I know this is really true?”

“How can I be certain?”

“Is it possible I could be wrong?”

It can be helpful to separate from the fray of the crowd and delve into questions like this in earnest, and not just around politics. These questions can help us in most life circumstances.

It’s healthy to question things, and the best place to begin… where good science begins, it testing our assumptions.

Fear is a tool of evil. Best to avoid it.

The herd mentality is to run with the crowd, wherever it is going. This animal instinct is catalyzed by fear and is a part of human nature. It’s a part of our instinctual animal side.  Marketing 101 teaches to speak and write to human pain points, doubts and curiosity. Students are taught to create titles and text that shock and fear. Copywriters are taught human psychology and how to write to that to lure people to the action you want them to take.

The Thing About Fear

Having gone through the panic attack and extreme anxiety issues mentioned earlier, I’ve developed strategies for handling this.

When it comes to fear in general, we have the power to overcome that. We’ve all experienced fear over something, and it’s more common actually amongst aging women. You know the feeling… that underlying sense of dread we can’t quite shake, or the awful imaginings that can take over our sense of wellbeing and replace it with dread.

But here’s the thing…

Most of the things we fear never happen.

So here are a few effective tools for dissolving the grip and shadows of fear. Take back your power.

How to Eliminate Fear

  1. Realize that most of the things we fear, never happen.
  2. Accept what we cannot change and focus on what we can do to improve our own life.
  3. Find a way to make the best of whatever situation we’re in.
  4. Get fit. Truly. It’s amazing how well this work. When your body is strong and healthy, you feel more in control and happier in general, no matter the outer circumstances.

So… is it the Dawn of a New Era or Error?

When all that we know as we know it is threatened or changed, it can be scary. It’s the earthquake to our “home”… it’s a shake up to our sense of the world. But it’s important to remember that it’s based on what we know, and there’s no way we can know everything there is to know about something. On that we can all agree.

“It is now widely recognized that genes and DNA do not control our biology. Instead, they are controlled by signals from outside the cell, including energetic messages emanating from our thoughts.” From Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton

Building the life and world we want to live in, begins with us and begins at our very cellular level with our thoughts.

So the answer to whether it is a new dawn, lies with us and our thought and projections about the world as we see it. If we see think that things are bright, chances are they will be for us.

We need to feed the outcome we want.

We can dwell on that which is not working. We can dwell on disatisfaction with the election, with politics in general. We can dwell in fear and even hatred of the opposite side, but none of that will serve us or anyone with whom we come into contact.
Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s most famous landmark. A symbol of Berlin and German division during the Cold War, it is now a national symbol of peace and unity.

This image above is a poignant and beautiful image. It is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. This structure used to symbolize the division during Cold War Germany. In modern Germany a new reality has been constructed for this national landmark. The Brandenburg Gate is now a symbol era of peace and unity.

We can dwell on that which is not working. We can dwell on disatisfaction with the election, with politics in general. We can dwell in fear and even hatred of the opposite side, but none of that will serve us or anyone with whom we come into contact.

Dwelling on negatives serves no one.
Learn to turn negatives into positives.

Negativism serves no one. Do not dwell on that which you do not want. Focus instead on that which you want in your life and which you have the power to create. Go create that.

We’re getting more into gardening and run a gardening website at GardensAll.com. As gardeners, we recognize that the amazing plant kingdom knows how to take… er… fertilizer, and turn it into something amazing. We humans absolutely have the power of plants… the power to take negatives and turn them into positives. Let’s do that. Let’s focus on that.

ALCHEMY is our destiny.  We have the power.

Let’s focus on building the life and world we want by the actions and choices we make each day. Let’s avoid fear and negativism, and focus on the best possible outcome.
Let’s focus on building the life and world we want by the actions and choices we make each day. Let’s avoid fear and negativism, and focus on the best possible outcome.

Let’s give ourselves, our country and our new, soon-to-be, President Trump, the benefit of the doubt, and a chance.

For another very objective and invocative article on this topic, you may enjoy this article by Tim Urban on WaitButWhy.com, title It’s Going to Be Okay. Tim has a quirky sense of humor and you will not only enjoy this article, but perusing the other interesting content on his site.[3]http://waitbutwhy.com/2016/11/its-going-to-be-okay.html

There’s also been a lot of media-fueled fear and anger along the lines of Trump being elected by racists. This article in the Washington Post shows the facts of voter demographics. Bottom line? Many counties that voted for Obama, also voted for Trump.

Mostly people seek news and information that validates their opinions. If you’ve heard the awful stories in the news about Trump… do you want to read more about that? Or do you want to see “the rest of the story”? This video might help.[5]http://waitbutwhy.com/2016/11/its-going-to-be-okay.html

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