Updated: Jun 19
If we are choosing a pathway to evolution, we must find a way to free ourselves from our need for conflict. Examining the dualities, dogma and the daily paradoxical dilemmas we find in society and within our internal thought structures appears to be the most basic path to discovering the role conflict currently plays and ultimately discovering what role it WILL play in our evolution. The following is an examination of the role conflict plays. That being said, the purpose of this essay is to examine and discover. It is not designed to offer a solution. It is meant to expand perspective and serve as a catalyst for thought and dialogue.
Throughout life, I have stashed away a lot of experiences. We all have. The education, family, friends, career and the physical experiences I have had have created something I call, “My perception of the world.”
In adolescence, and then into the first decade or so of adulthood, I carried the idea that I was a filter. Information was presented. I would make sense of it over time and then decide how that information would serve me. I would decide how it would affect, “My perception of the world.”
Like a train, the information and stimuli slowly began to roll in. Early on, I would read the words on the trains as they passed my station. I would analyze the words, phrases and sentences finding meaning, interpreting and sorting as I saw necessary.
As the trains began to pickup speed things changed. Soon, I was in an Education System. Then there were Billboards. Music. Radio. Television. Computers. Social Media. Apps. Technological Interconnectedness. “What did he tweet?” And “What did she tweet?”
I began a career. I was a cop. I was trained. Programmed. Constant stimulus. People thanking me for the job I did. People trying to kill me for the job I did.
I was married. I was divorced. I travelled the country. Coast to Coast. More than once…
I had perfect credit and people were proud. Then, I had an overdrawn bank account and debt, People were concerned. I had sold my home. I had given away all I owned to an acquaintance I met at a convenience store. All I had left was a car and a dog. Then…
I sold the car and stepped away. Into the desert. No neighbors. No television. No distractions. No noise.
“What do I do now?” I asked
I was conflicted.
The first thing I learned was that the filter I thought was carefully analyzing the information being hurled at me was broken. It had broken very early in life. As someone who used to think very little about the content I consumed, I could now see how every song lyric, every interaction I had, every person I passed, every commercial that I watched, had affected, “My perception of the world.”
The further I escaped the noise of society, the more it became clear that many of these effects were occurring on a subconscious level. The more I became aware of the subconscious impacts my interactions with the rest of the world had created, the more I became aware of my actions. Once aware, I became critical. Once I became critical of my own actions, I became conflicted.
Now, by critical, I mean, I began analyzing why I would do a specific action. Asking myself what the intended purpose of the action was, conscious or subconscious, then asking if the action achieved that purpose. Next, I would examine other outcomes of the action, how it affected others, what was created or destroyed because of it, etc.
This caused quite the whirlwind in my mind and very frequently my analysis posed such a paradox when I reached the, “What was created and what was destroyed?” Question. I began to wonder if I could make the same progress doing nothing.
“Maybe that’s the problem,” I thought. Every time something is destroyed, something is created. You blow up a building and you create a pile of rubble. Every time you create, you must destroy.
I reflect on a time when I consciously chose to create a habit. I would get right out of bed in the morning and head to the gym. I did not want to spend time being sluggish or falling back asleep. In doing that, I destroyed the moments that I would take to gather my thoughts in my bed. I destroyed the time that I would skim through my social media, and I would destroy my habit of eating breakfast upon waking up. What needs destroying and what needs creating?
I was conflicted.
As I began to process through this question, I also began reflecting on, “My perception of the world.” Given my personality type, my astrological sign, my life path, my friend circle and a variety of other circumstances, my world view and perspective has always been described by both myself and those close to me as broad, diverse, open, and multi-cultured.
I looked at the incidents in my life in new ways. I was robbed by a man on PCP in a very violent, unprovoked and completely unexpected incident one night while at a gas station. I had just graduated high school. How had this affected me? I hadn’t really thought about it. Had it affected the career I chose. My friends picked up my belongings as they fell from my pockets while I tried my best to defend myself as I wrestled on the ground with my attacker. As I continued to fight for my life, they would hand my belongings to his accomplices. They would later tell of being forced to do so at knife point but they weren’t. They were simply scared. I never confronted them on that. Had that affected me?
My nose was broken in the conflict. Is that why I would spend many years and many dollars on martial arts training?
As fist after fist hit against my arms before finally landing a shot that caused me to see stars and taste blood, the man who robbed me pinned me against the ground. He was black. I was white. He repeatedly said things to me like, “This is what you get white boy.” And, “You can’t do shit. You’re just a little white bitch.” He made it very clear that his anger was being directed at me because of racial differences. At this point in my life, more than half of my closest friends were black. How did this affect my views on race?
I did this with many impactful moments in my life. Some major and traumatic to the eyes of the outsider, much like the story I just described. Others, very minor to most, still very impactful to me. As I sorted traumas, wins, misunderstandings and other life events, I became conflicted.
The more I peeled back, the deeper the thing I was peeling became. Remember, this all started with the question: What needs creating and what needs destroying? I now found myself analyzing what impact Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle cassette tape had on me when I was given a copy at age 5, relistening to the lyrics wondering how my young mind heard them.
Reaching this point was important. As I frantically and simultaneously played the role of creator and destroyer in my mind, it became clear that I was creating to destroy and vice versa. The filter that I thought was allowing a manageable amount of info in had broken, if ever present at all. At some point early on the information trains began to pass through the station too quickly to read the writing, yet I was still receiving the messages. Still feeling the impact.
By the time college, social media and an overly stimulating career pulled through the station, I was receiving more info in an hour than I could dissect in a lifetime.
I was conflicted.
So here I am, as detached from the societal noise as ever, aware of the presence of dualities, aware of the potential for impact of every piece of information, act or emotion put into the world and unsure what to do with any of it. Conflicted.
Humanity is conflicted
In the United States, where I currently write, there are two political parties. Democrat or Republican. Not Democrat and Republican. Democrat or Republican. You must choose. As a collective, these parties form the United State Goverment. It is a government known as a Democracy.
Within the democracy, bills are written, voted on and, if they pass the vote, become laws that govern the land. These bills are labels Democratic, Republican and Bipartisan. These elected public servants then vote on the bills, typically based on the political affiliation of the bill’s author or the political tone of the given bill.
This may seem strange, but these labels are their identity. Name. Political Affiliation. State. This is how politicians label themselves. “I am So-And-So Republican Senator from the great state of somewhere.” This is how news networks label them. This is how the government created name plates label them. The instant they go against their party, they are labeled a trader. Humanity is conflicted and maintaining this conflict is a priority that comes before all else, including progress.
In High School, I remember being told I was wearing the wrong clothes. “Those are black clothes.” I was told this by a black administrator at my school. I had bought the jeans thinking first, that I liked the jeans. Secondly, I loved hip hop music and culture and wanted to support one of its pioneers. Plus, I had never seen any other jeans like them. Dark silver shimmering blue.
I had been told many times in my life that I couldn’t do things based on race or that I needed to behave a certain way because of my race, but that I couldn’t wear a pair of pants because the company was owned by a black man just didn’t make sense. I thought I was supporting Sean Combs and his business by buying from him, but, after asking around, people believed I was stealing something from him and the entire black race. Humanity is conflicted and the conflict comes first. Even before growth.
We see the conflict everywhere. Are you gay OR straight? Pro-life OR Pro-choice? Blood OR Crip? Christian OR Muslim? East OR West? Red OR Blue? Left OR Right? Humanity is conflicted.
I do believe conflict has been a necessary catalyst for growth and change. Conflict with a goal of resolution. I believe in a little healthy chaos every now and then. This is not that though. This is conflict for the sake of conflict. This is two equally powerful groups both refusing to walk away without a check in their win column and a loss for their opponent. Each group takes turns gaining momentum, just to have their progress and creations destroyed when the momentum shifts. Then we restart the process, now moving in the opposite direction. We have become so focused on finding the conflict and being on the right side that we now blindly throw away opportunities to progress in exchange for opportunities to battle. Humanity is conflicted.
So now what? What is the role of the middle ground? What do those of us that choose to identify with our own unique quirks and experiences rather than the labels the masses do?
I said, “This Is An Evolution.” Does this evolution require me to choose between two political parties? Must I let my white skin dictate my friends? My clothing? Must we all complete an in depth analysis of our sexual preferences and post them on social media so we can decide who we feel comfortable around?
Conflicts are necessary for change. Conflicts have been present since the beginning of time. Wars have been necessary for survival. Wars have forcefully spread ideas across the world. Many of our religions spread through war and conflict. Slavery saw its end through conflict. The Space Race was accelerated by conflict. Conflict in the market place drives price both up or down dependent on the circumstances. Humanity is conflicted. Humanity has always been conflicted.
This is a writing with an evolutionary focus, so, I ask,
What happens once there is no longer conflict and how do we get there?
Over It All
Assuming that conflict has a hierarchy and that hierarchy is stacked or layered. How do we navigate past it for our next evolution? We must first understand conflict.
Conflict requires at least two opposing world views, opinions, perceptions, to exist. Our world is a natural yin and yang. Dualities are everywhere. Therefore our POTENTIAL for conflict is all around.
Potential conflict becomes conflict when people begin to identify with these dualities. We see this in superhero movies. We see the hero in the world during the day. Many have normal day jobs even. The villains are out at night: plotting, scheming, lurking. The hero representing society and the anti-hero, typically representing some radical idea; We have our first conflict. The villains begin to identify as the night they occupy, then the darkness. That is, The Night and then The Evil associated with the dark of night. The hero identifies himself with societal norms and society labels him, “The Good Guy.” People then have the option of choosing sides. There is a good side and a bad side, the mainstream and the counter culture.
In a short time, both characters fully identify as the polar opposites of the dualities they respectfully each embody, eventually, creating a polarization so great that the conflicts created by the self imposed identities of each become so extreme, we quickly find the two in full blown physical conflict, with both sides recruiting to outnumber the opposition. Variance from this standard path brings, “Inner Conflict.”
Unfortunately, the thing with these dualities is that one doesn’t exist without the other. No day? Then there is no night. If there is no Pro Choice, we have no need for Pro Life.
Think about race for example. If we did not have people identifying in extreme ways with their race, we would not have race issues. People may look slightly different still, but, if people didn’t hold an uncontrollable variable such as skin color as such a large part of their identity, there would be no need for the ongoing conflicts and in depth debates. As we take our attention from race, whether through biologic evolution or through an evolution in perception, a difference in skin color would disappear from reality all together. The Hate. The Violence. These things are present because a cross section of culture has chosen over multiple generations, to focus on skin color, to assign it value through prejudices and societal beliefs of the influential and powerful, and to hold it as an identity that we are told we cannot escape.
Race is one of the strangest of the human conflicts, because the need to debate the topic, requires an assumption that a genetic difference in skin color dictates an overall difference in human nature and beliefs. More importantly, it indicates a threat to the end of existence of life as we know it for its opposite, hence the need for conflict, a fear of lack of existence or change.
It is also strange, because it is believed that pigmentation can be an evolution to allow for long periods in extreme sun. It is an evolution. Finally, if we look into the future, the more interconnected we become, the more race will be erased from our DNA. As long distance travel and migration becomes more and more common and as people from different cultural and racial makeups procreate, race is blurred. Therefore, one of our greatest conflicts has an expiration date, yet we have stagnated in order to participate in the conflict while we can.
Our choosing to build conflict around race is very simplistic in its thinking. It is a conflict created within our unevolved reptilian brain. It is a sorting and grouping conflict. It allows us to walk down the street and group people without any need for interpretation. It is the uniform we never need to wash. Friend. Foe. Friend. Foe. Friend. Friend. FOE!
Other areas of conflict, such as religion are more complex and harder to identify. Collective symbols, text, and structure make that more simple. As with race, I pose the question: when does conflict arise between religion? When humans examine the guiding framework and ideas of a given religion and choose to identify as them. The simplifying of self into one idea.
As a spiritual person, I read much religious text. As I read texts across cultures, it is obvious that there is not much in direct conflict in the teaching of different religions other than the occasional message from the monotheistic god that you must not acknowledge any other god before them. Beyond that, character names and locations are the greatest difference.
I have gained great insight from the religious texts of our world. I use them as guides. Once we take these guides and identify with them, we cross from learning to identifying. (It should be noted that the idea of consciously embodying a teaching is different than blind acceptance and identification with a religion.) As we choose to identify, we switch our mindset from growth, understanding and evolution to stagnation and conflict.
I think I have alluded to, “Stagnant Conflict,” more than once, so I will discuss the term. Throughout the evolutionary cycle there has been much conflict. In the times of conflict created chaos, the opportunity for growth arises and society progresses. Some of our greatest conflicts: religion, race, money have been ever present, yet, no solution has come. Only more conflict. This is stagnant conflict. The reason I believe we have reached the point of stagnation in our conflict is because we are identifying with man made belief systems and ideas.
As a species that has done so much, it is saddening to watch battles fought over things like religion, something so unknown and simplistic in our understanding, yet so important to our existence. We should be collaborating, identifying, studying and analyzing the differences, not destroying and hiding them.
Society is conflicted. Can you see it? I can because I’m over it all.
A World View From A Cloud: Balance And The Unifying Question
The Evolution of our planet will occur. Evolution of our species must occur. The fate of all will not be the same.
In the conflict hierarchy, there must be a final duality that can be resolved without Stagnant Conflict. I will define both sides of this duality, and I will explain how it plays into the necessity to evolve beyond conflict.
The final conflict we as humans must navigate is to evolve or dissolve. To evolve would be to navigate past the temptations of identity, to identify the dual polarizing nature of our world, to find balance and to rise above the conflict.
The dissolution on the other hand is to become our identities wearing them like masks. The dissolved become so polarized that they no longer see humans with differences, they see their chosen identity and nothing else. The humanness disappears. A dissolved mind is as likely to identify as, “Same,” within an inanimate material object as they are to identify as “Enemy” with humans they previously coexisted alongside with no history of conflict. They’re a threat and a parasite to anything lacking their given identity. Think about how the human race has treated forests, animals and oceans throughout time. They destroyed these things. Think of the driving, “Eliminate the different ones,” thought force of the dictators and power figures of our time. The collective conscious of the dissolved will be that.
As the dissolved begin to appear, their failure to question their associated identities will lead to blind following. A herd mentality. Their destruction of anything different and their vicious behavior will lead them to think that anything different must behave with the same destructive tendencies which they have adopted. Different becomes a threat. They begin to fear different. A blind and fearful heard is easily manipulated by promises of protection. Eventually, the dissolved will extinct themselves or dissolve completely into a simulated utopia of protection. The lure of protection will entice the dissolved. Their identities will prevent questioning. The world they step into will feel like a utopia, providing food shelter and material comforts. In reality, this utopia, designed and controlled by an unknown force will be the ultimate lack of free thought. Imprisoning and controlling the minds of the masses.
The evolved will look critically at the identities they have associated with. Becoming curious, they will find portions of their chosen identity that do not serve them and may even be an obvious chain, holding them back from their evolution. As they start to dissociate with identities, or ego, they will find that letting go is easy. They will soon strip themselves down to, “Human Being.” At this point, the soon to be evolved will find that they are able to balance between dualities. It will be said, “They have found balance.”
What was once Conflicting Dualities will become Paradoxical Truths.
Once balanced, the evolved will identify as solely, “Being.” At this point, when all inner identity conflicts are resolved through balance, the evolved is in alignment. At this point the evolved will begin ascension. As the human ascends past all identities and ego, they will begin to ponder and search for the ultimate truth. Ultimate truth being the answer to the question, “What is our purpose here?”
“What is our purpose here?” The evolving human will continue to ponder this question. Upon discovery of an answer the evolving human will gain an even deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and their role in those things. Realizing existence goes far beyond being human.
So, I ask: What is our purpose here?
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