How do we pick ourselves up?

January 31, 2009

"Question" asked in a social networking group: World financial crisis. Very good friend of mine wrote me: "It's not important how you got down, it is important how you get up".

Top-down regulations are needed, it is true, to help "fix" and "prevent" the kind of financial non-sense that is killing us. But more importantly, how do we confront the reality that, in our culture as we know it, there will always be people looking to game that system? How do we confront the reality that the financial mess is not a cause, but a symptom? That will require looking deeply at our character, as individuals and as a society. It will require self-evaluation and social exploration, and the cultivation of values that channel human will and energy in better directions (perhaps into justice? into truly equal opportunity for well-being?). In a word: virtues.

Socially, majority-Americans have finally undone hundreds of years of consigning non-human status to non-white Christians. Now that we can see someone as human regardless of color, shape, hair style, etc., what is next? We have to learn to see and feel as one another. That requires patience, magnanimity, loving-kindness, generosity. If we can "get up" with those qualities, then perhaps we'll be less likely to fall down again.

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