The human condition tells a fascinating story.
At every moment of our existence, a complex and sophisticated network of systems keeps us moving forward. The autonomic nervous system, a component of the peripheral nervous system, regulates complex physiological processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and digestion. Sensory inputs and motor outputs are constantly exploding around our bodies through a complex, microscopic pathway of life-defining fibers in the shadows, often beyond our awareness. This human reality tells a story, in each of us, of wonder through a process of pure chaos.
In this realm and as a species on the spectrum, living on a continuum of emotions, we are built to constantly assess endless amounts of information and risk – environmental, situational, physical, psychological, spiritual. Whenever a disturbance in any of these systems occurs, ask any doctor, therapist, pastor or priest – our conscious selves can become acutely aware of things previously not felt or thought about. The sore throat, the headache, the shortness of breath – all this quickly comes to the fore in our self-observation and experience. In the face of this imbalance, this disease becomes our primary focus – everything in our being seeks to resolve the problem.
Many of our modern institutions were built to mimic the human condition – complex and sophisticated organizations of health, economics, social services, justice and governance. These stalwarts of society operate complex systems in the same way without many of us truly understanding the true nature of what is going on – until something goes wrong. The recent outage of a national telecommunications provider highlights one such milestone for concern and reflection.
When an illness or disturbance affects our personal journey, we are called upon to assess, sometimes very quickly, the root cause of that turbulence and seek treatment or resolution. Maybe it means healthier food, medication, therapy, spiritual direction, being more active, or something bigger like a career change or getting away from stressors or pressures. Our ability to adapt defines our humanity.
Today, as evidenced by the great imbalance in society – the astronomical cost of living, social unrest, political polarization, drug addiction, mental illness, suicide, world war – a question must be asked. .maybe, just maybe what we’ve been doing in this great society experiment isn’t working? I have long posed these questions from a health and social care perspective, but perhaps it is time to consciously step back and soberly ask – what is really the end we are striving for and, more curiously , how did we become so seemingly stuck? This launch failure brings with it questions to which I believe the answers lie in our humanity.
The body of our democracy, the heart and soul of society – citizen participation, tolerance, equality, freedom, accountability, the rule of law – is, for me, sick. The questions of maybe are imperative to rekindle a sense of dynamism, which is the real excitement of the democratic process – a perpetual transformation driven by the will of a people at a given time. If we are unwilling to ask these big maybe questions, for fear of the answers that may come, I can only imagine what disruption will soon be upon us. If however, we are willing to lean into our human condition, into the reality that each of us is built for greatness, enhanced in the wondrous and dynamic self-functions of life, then I believe we can find our way. through any difficult time to prosperity. , innovation, hope and meaning.
Eternal optimist, I see the challenges emerging before us, and there are many of them, a singular and resolute call to unite behind these questions of perhaps. Maybe what we’re doing isn’t working, but, more importantly, maybe there’s another way, maybe there’s soon a big, vibrant opening of hope upon us in greatness. which pumps strongly in everything.
David Mole is an Addictions Counselor and Mental Health Outreach Worker embedded with the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) – and an on-call spiritual care provider with Niagara Health. The opinions in this column are his own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of his employers. You can reach him at [email protected]