Finding Internal Order in the Midst of Global Chaos to Create Unity


In a world with novel problems which have never been encountered before—such as climate change, human equity, the uncertainty of technological advancement, and a constantly changing economy—humanity is desperately in search for solutions. People want to find ways to deal with these global dilemmas, but are often unsure as to how to approach them. In this article,  I will discuss the nature of political polarity, how it affects us psychologically, and how we can eliminate fear and create unity  in a world of global uncertainty using three points of introspection.

Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought as to how to reach resolutions for novel problems on a collective level: i) conservatism, or the resurrection of previously successful methods and ii) liberalism, or the creation of new methods. No one school of thought is supreme. There is wisdom in the methods of the past, and promise in the discovery of new methods for the future. These schools of thought become separated by the chasm of polarity over time. People tend to find themselves on either side of the split; nationalists pit against globalists, progressives against traditionalists, and so on.

The study of political psychology suggests that people participate in political groups to satisfy individual and collective survival needs. In other words, people are likely to associate their group affiliations and participations with their immediate well-being. Another reason why some people participate in groups is to satisfy a need to belong , and this also makes it hard for them to disassociate with their beliefs because they don’t want to lose their sense of loyalty to the group. If an individual's side gains political victory, there is a sense of relief for the individual (and the group) because they feel they have achieved the promulgation of their way of life until the next election cycle. If an individual’s side loses a political battle, the individual (and the group) is seemingly at risk of losing grip of their  way of life as they know it. We must be aware of this cycle in order to align ourselves with our political destinies.

Most decisions are presented to the collective in the form of a vote, a yes or no. When people pick a side, either for or against, they see the opposition as embodying the antithesis of their values. In other words, they see the opposition as an embodiment of what is wrong, immoral, or ignorant—and this is not necessarily the case. Eli Pariser, in his book, How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think, talks about how this polarity is further exacerbated due to media filtering on the web. In today’s day of modern media and content filtration, Pariser argues that people are likely to be delivered content that further grounds them in their beliefs, and makes them more close-minded to the opposition’s point of view. With the awareness of the impact of digital media on public opinion, we understand that we are in a completely uncharted political arena, one in which the cognition of an individual is influenced not only by psychophysiological, but also technological factors.

Due to the individual’s association of political outcomes to the survival of their way-of-life, when their side does not gain political victory, the individual activates their sense of survivalism. This survivalism is rooted in a place of desperation and fear. They are desperate to realign political outcomes to their world view. We can look to biology to understand how individuals behave in this state of survivalism by understanding the concept of fight or flight. This concept teaches us that when an individual faces political loss, they are challenged to either fight for reclamation, or fly away in the form of escapism or avoidance. Neither approach is necessarily effective. When we address political opponents from a argumentative or confrontational place, we most often deter them further from seeing our point of view and only frustrate ourselves. Violence is even worse. When we avoid our problems (flight), we fail to serve our duty to voice our input as members of our communities. In other words, we cannot solve our problems by operating in a state of survivalism.

Survivalism is not only activated in the individual whose side loses political battle, but it is maintained in the side that wins, as they seek to defend advances from the opposition. The defenders of political victory, then too, stay on their guards, maintaining their mutual exclusivity with their opponent. If the opposition is meager, and could not possibly constitute a majority, or convert the majority (not discounting the argument of the theory of discursive politics), the defenders do not usually stress. But when polarities lie along the 49-51 split (these are manifest in close-called elections of which are all too frequent in this day in age), both sides maintain a state of perennial survivalism; the defenders of political victory pitted against those who seek reclamation. Today, most politically involved individuals operate in a state of survivalism due to the commonality of the 49-51 split. This split often begets ineffective discourse from both sides.

We have to ask ourselves whether we are okay with the collective human species still existing in a state of survivalism (fight or flight), or if we think we are ready to evolve beyond that by accessing a higher understanding together.

The challenges we face as a humanity usually stem from a place that requires introspection to bring clarity and understanding— not trivial discourse that fails to reach consensus through common understanding (not compromise), but rather, constructive discourse. Below, are three points of introspection that allow an individual who is facing political loss, stress due to political defense, or confusion in the midst of global uncertainty to contribute to discourse in a dignified and effective manner. These points of introspection provide questions you can ask yourself to evaluate whether you are contributing to a polarized or a unified community, nation or world.

1.     Understanding your group affiliations and their implications:

Ask yourself: Do you identify with a group, such as liberal or conservative? Nationalist or globalist? Traditionalist or progressive? Does the group decide your political stand, or do you deduce your own viewpoints and understandings? Are you closing yourself off in any way from hearing someone else’s point-of-view? When you engage with someone in another group, is it constructive or does it create more polarity? Does the media you access lean towards a side? If so, can you find a way to balance your information consumption to broaden your perspective?

The right answers usually present themselves to us when we allow ourselves to view the world from a global perspective. It’s very easy to get tied into the pull of a group, and just as the social psychology of group polarization suggests: the more we are exposed to our groups, the more we are likely to hold extreme views.  We must learn to not see the world from just the eyes of just our group, but rather from the discernment of what we truly, morally, and intelligibly believe to be right, or good. There is a right and wrong in each side of a polarity, and the polarity is only diffused when both sides realize this, unite for common cause, and meet in the middle (symbolically speaking). If the sides cannot meet in the middle, destruction is inevitable; and due to the omnipresence of natural justice, no one is exonerated.

2.     Understanding your personal expectations and then evaluating their veritability:

Ask yourself: What do you expect out of your political system? What do you expect of yourself? Does what you expect out of your political system reflect what you expect out of yourself? What values do you expect your leaders to uphold? Do you reflect these values? Do you represent these values enough to be able to instill them upon those you inculcate?

In order to create a world of unity and understanding, we must aspire towards the values of responsiveness, thoughtfulness, honesty, collaboration and respect. In doing so, we create a culture of goodness that permeates through us, into our communities, and manifests into the nations we live in, in due time. Remaining hopeful during times of change starts within.  It is our personal responsibility that our intentions are pure. If our focus is to come to a consensus to find solutions, instead of just winning political debates, then we start to create a ripple of change from within, a change that is much more direct in addressing collective issues.

3. Understanding your intentions and how they influence your behaviors:

Ask yourself: What are the intentions of your actions? Are you just trying to prove a point? Are you trying to show your group that you are loyal to them? Or are you genuinely trying to reach a consensus?  Do your intentions reflect your behaviors? In other words, if you intend to establish unity, do your behaviors maximize this outcome?

Before we proceed to do anything in life, we must become aware of our intentions. When we become aware of our intentions, we have a remembrance of the ultimate outcome we aspire to. If this outcome is one that is truly good, and one that is beneficial for humanity, and not just the person (or the group), it is more likely to persist. If the outcome that is desired only seeks to satisfy the individual at the expense of humanity, that outcome cannot outlive nature's power to draw everything to a fair equilibrium; this is symbolized in the antiquated weighing scale. The scale of justice represents balance; it is held by Lady Justice, who wields a sword and is blindfolded, serving justice equitably. This understanding of natural justice is also contained in the teachings of old Eastern philosophers, who referred to this natural justice as the concept of karma.  We must learn that harmony is the state nature aspires to, and we have to contribute to achieving that state if we want to have purposeful and soulful life experiences. If we feel tried by the court of life, we must be patient and rest assured that fairness is certain, resolution is conditional on whether we do the right things.

We have to remember that each and every one of us serves a purpose on this planet. We can be apart of the change needed to align with this purpose by creating  internal order through the three points of introspection listed above. 


Unity: The Unification of Humanity, 1924 - Alexander Rosenfeld