Things keep getting curiouser and curiouser out there, with all signs pointing to an even weirder and more turbulent second half of the year than we've seen so far.
I'm trained as an historian, so am used to thinking in terms of decades and centuries. Writing Stealing Fire saw about a five year lag between spotting the trends of the Altered States Revolution and seeing them everywhere.
The sequel Recapture the Rapture (that I'm writing now) has now compressed that to the point that the book I sold 12 months ago I'm now having to rewrite because the tides of change I was only hinting at are already sloshing around our ankles.
Then the past few months happened––and now trends that seemed almost certain to happen in the coming decade are showing up in a matter of weeks. It's crazy chronological compression. We're all experiencing temporal whiplash.
To wit: in the last newsletter, I wrote a piece saying that what's really at stake right now, across the board is the contest between the Finite Game (win/lose) and the Infinite Game (win/win)––and that identity politics on both Left and Right are threatening the integrity of the Enlightenment Liberal experiment.
(that's capital L liberal, BTW––not Leftie liberal. Liberal as in "all individuals are entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of race color or creed).
I was pretty sure that was true. I had no idea it would show up in such stark relief so fast.
Just a couple of days ago, Harper’s published an open letter from 150 of the world's leading thinkers––from Salman Rushdie, to Margaret Atwood, to Gary Kasparov, Malcolm Gladwell to Winton Marsalis to JK Rowling to Steven Pinker––all pleading for civil discourse in the midst of our challenge and turmoil. (it's only three paragraphs long––worth a read)
But then, as things seem to be doing more and more these days––all hell broke loose on Twitter. They got massacred from both the far Right and the far Left. Some of the less courageous on the letter even renounced their signatures. And none of the flamethrowers could quite spot the irony that their merciless response was precisely the thing that had prompted the letter in the first place!
Our buddy Scott Barry Kaufman (psychologist at Columbia and author of the awesome new book Transcend), waded into the minefield this past week in a super ninja article in Scientific American: Unravelling the Mindset of Victimhood.
Drawing on research rather than op-eds, Scott details how a victim mindset basically encourages four behaviors:
Check it out. It's brilliant, insightful and pretty courageous for him to blow such a loud dog whistle for Sanity and Decency.
Audre Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” perhaps said it best.
“You can’t dismantle the master’s house using the master’s tools.”
That means that only love can drive out hate. More hate, can't do it. Even, and especially when it feels so tempting to just unleash. That's why Darth Vader is always egging Luke on to turn to rage to defeat him––he knows that even if the youngster did manage to saber-skewer him, that Darkness would win out in the end.
On that note––here's two super inspiring testimonials––the first from an elder stateswoman of the Civil Rights scene making a plea for humanity, decency and forgiveness in the midst of all our messy efforts (and it maps to Scott Barry Kaufman's piece perfectly.
"But most public shaming is horizontal and done by those who believe they have greater integrity or more sophisticated analyses. They become the self-appointed guardians of political purity.
Call-outs make people fearful of being targeted. People avoid meaningful conversations when hypervigilant perfectionists point out apparent mistakes, feeding the cannibalistic maw of the cancel culture. Shaming people for when they “woke up” presupposes rigid political standards for acceptable discourse and enlists others to pile on. Sometimes it’s just ruthless hazing.
We can change this culture. Calling-in is simply a call-out done with love. Some corrections can be made privately. Others will necessarily be public, but done with respect. It is not tone policing, protecting white fragility or covering up abuse. It helps avoid the weaponization of suffering that prevents constructive healing.”
And if you want a bad to the bone example of what MLK called Soul Force––that powerful stand in Truth on behalf of All for the Infinite Game––check out this Sikh-American lawyer and mother Valarie Kaur laying out our collective Redemption song, as rabbis and African American preachers cheer her on.
"What if the darkness America is facing right now is not the darkness of the tomb, but that of the womb? What does every midwife tell us? To breathe, and to push!"
That's the hope here folks––that we can keep our wits about us, and our hearts open as we walk each other home.
#expeditionbehavior –– it's not just for the mountains anymore. It's for standing up for the Infinite Game, and modeling it as best we possibly can.