A Paradigm Upgrade “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it…” --George Santayana …Or ARE they?
We have long heard this phrase, and throughout the world, we have been sure to teach the newest generations the most gruesome aspects of history with a passionate attitude of prevention. Yet, if this actually WAS the path to halting any present or future injustice, prejudice, crime, catastrophe, disease, etc., don’t you think we’d all be living the “Life of Riley” (a life of peace & plenty) by now?
Did you know that the moment you identify something as important or interesting (especially if you have a strong emotional response to the data), your RAS (Reticular Activating System, a network of neurons in your brain stem) goes to work to help you focus to find MORE examples of related things? It is the very same phenomenon that occurs when you take an interest in a new car, a travel destination, a memory, or a certain animal, symbol, number, etc., and then start seeing said car/etc. virtually EVERYWEHERE you go. It's not a problem when your attention turns to things that are fun, innocuous, or desired, but - without meaning to - every time you focus on history which highlights the darkest aspects of humanity (or YOUR life), your brain actually starts to look for more examples of that in the PRESENT.
Often, you start finding billboards, signs, films, songs, posts, etc. that spotlight these thoughts & ideas, but as you continue to give this data more of your focus & attention, it starts to translate into more personal conversations & interactions that hit closer and closer to home until you have a direct experience of your own. And now that YOU have had this experience, it becomes YOUR belief that THIS is THE definitive reality and “truth” that exists. So, even with the best of intentions, the more you (or any human) focuses on the horrors and injustices of the past (or YOUR past), the more this actually ACTIVATES an attraction (wanted or not) to events and experiences that bear the very same earmarks in the present and into the foreseeable future. The faces, places, and circumstances may be different, but the essence of the stories remain the same.
Perhaps it’s time for a paradigm upgrade?
Preserve Our Propensity & Potential for GOOD "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." --Louis D. Brandeis, [Leading-Edge] Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Just like any multifaceted subject, there is so much about history that spotlights fascinating and inspiring aspects of life on earth. For example:
I am deeply attracted to music history, the aeronauts and inventors of the late 1800s, the amazing architecture found in historic districts throughout the world, and the extraordinary contributions of brilliant minds in philosophy, literature, science, art, and human potential of ALL ages.
I love classic cars.
I thrill at ANY opportunity to see dinosaur bones or to stand in the presence of an object or visit a site that was populated hundreds or thousands of years ago.
I love seeing old items and materials upcycled and repurposed rather than simply discarded.
I thank veterans for their service any time I meet them and share my appreciation for those who have fallen in the past fighting for what they believed in.
I tell stories and speak the names of my friends and loved ones who are no longer physical on a regular basis to keep the essence of the best of them alive in me & in my life.
I continue to practice traditions that feed joy, reverence for our beautiful planet, and that foster healthy, happy connections with others.
And even without (intentionally) visiting places where tragic events happened or deep-diving into the details of past suffering, my desire to play an active role in the evolution revolution of consciousness and participate in positive change in our world is stronger than many who HAVE seen and studied the worst of the worst.
I for one, came into this life with a powerful desire to experience true personal freedom, to thrive as I walk my own authentic path, to continue to connect with my tribe, and to be a catalyst for independence, success, and joy for others. So when I look at history, I focus in on the inventions, events, stories, and people who broke the mold and challenged the status quo; people who had the audacity to look and act forward to create and embrace better ways of living, thinking, and being for themselves, their families, and the world.
Rather than simply rage against the horrific events of the past that keep a loop of anger, outrage, vulnerability, or hopelessness active, I do my best to mine (both global and personal) history for evidence of the good that HAS happened time and time again – even in the most extreme situations.
This deliberate focus fuels the fire of my own desire to preserve what I deem to be beneficial, beautiful, and constructive, to look for positive, timeless patterns that merit great results, and to know that upgrades are ALWAYS possible in my world and THE world.
If transcending the culture and limitations of a past time was possible back THEN, perhaps it could also be possible for you, me, and others to create a better NOW and tomorrow?
Transcending History Requires a New Perspective “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." --Albert Einstein, One of THE most brilliant minds of the 20th century
It is no wonder that, in many cases, the ones who ultimately find solutions to old problems and who are able to IMPLEMENT positive change are NOT as mired in the problems of the past and do not see present circumstances as utterly fixed. They use the past - or even this moment in time - as a mere jumping-off point, but then look forward into NEW possibility.
Though it may seem hard to believe, many Millennials - and especially those representing Gen Z (those born 1997 and later) - have actually come into this life EXPECTING and CELEBRATING diversity.
As a matter of fact, Gen Z is THE most ethnically diverse and largest generation in the WORLD – surpassing even that of Millennials and Baby Boomers. As a whole, the idea of living in a world that is inclusive of all races, ethnicities, cultures, and lifestyles – a world rich with variety - is actually a NATURAL way of being for this generation. Unless prejudice or beliefs of repression & inequality have been hammered into the hearts and minds of this generation by well-meaning past generations, treating people unfairly based on race, ethnicity, lifestyle, or gender identification is truly a foreign concept to most of Gen Z! Imagine what the world could become if we all came into this life with THIS mindset and way of being? Imagine if you, or someone you love, NEVER felt oppressed, repressed, or limited in any way (except by your own perceptions about yourself), and that you were able to live your life free of the hatred, anger, fear, resentment, or victim mentality that was held by past generations?
What if instead of perpetuating a culture that pushes young people to keep looking backwards upon the dark aspects of humankind, successive generations were encouraged and allowed to just move forward with their inherent leanings of freedom, justice, and respect for ALL in order to REALIZE the type of world culture that many past generations fought and suffered for?
Isn’t LIVING the greatest hopes, dreams, and visions of our ancestors THE greatest way to honor those who have come before us and THE best way to make the darker parts of our history, well, HISTORY?
The Bottom Line: History, UP-Cycled! Personal and global challenges have and will always invite you – and each of us - to make new decisions and new choices that lead toward expansion and evolution. Change and times of shadow are indeed constants in the human experience, but as coaches, leaders, and mentors…
…Imagine how much further we and those we serve could go – and how much faster we could pivot/course-correct – if we were not also weighed down by our own (and humanity’s) PAST drama and trauma?
Imagine if exploring history became more of an act of intentionality, so that keeping interest-based, positive, fun, and helpful aspects of history alive is a personal, conscious choice?
Imagine if instead of basing your ability to thrive upon history (or a perception of “the powers that be”- any group, community, government, or system), you and EVERY human being realized, once and for all, that YOU experience life through YOUR own personal lens; and that what plays out for YOU (or ANY one of us) is based upon:
What YOU believe.
What YOU embrace.
What YOU came here to learn.
What YOU focus upon.
The choices YOU make.
YOUR perception of life events.
And that instead of fighting change and evolution, humanity lived in harmony with the big picture and very nature of life ITSELF; constant and perpetual motion…
Now that’s what I call history, UP-Cycled J.
This article appeared in the September 2020 Issue of Transformation Coaching Magazine.
For more GOOD news & positive ideas visit: https://www.transformationmag.com/online/tcm-september-2020/