My wife and I have been watching lately the PBS series Downton Abbey. Friends told us we would like it and we’re trying to catch up! Thank goodness for Netflix.
It’s good storytelling weaving together numerous personal tales of the aristocratic family who lives upstairs and their servants who live downstairs. Set in England in the early part of the 20th century, one can’t help but notice the underlying theme of the economic and political inequities that existed at the time. It’s easy to draw parallels between then and now.
Sometimes it seems the more we change, the more we stay the same. But do we really? The history of humanity’s evolution is filled with the tension of two forces of growth.
First, various aspects of change swing us between two extremes like the movement of a pendulum. This horizontal development pushes us as far as we can go in one direction before opposite forces begin to take us in the reverse direction.
All the while the pendulum is swinging, a second vertical growth has a tendency to move us upward. It’s like the pendulum is being ratcheted up. These opposing forces tend to swing us around such that our real growth can be visualized more like an upward spiral.
Two opposing forces that we currently are experiencing in the human story relate to the degree of how much personal power each of us possesses.
At one extreme we realize that “all men are created equal”, that we show up on the planet with the divine gifts of the life force embedded within us, the liberty to make free will choice and a desire to pursue happiness in our own way. When our focus is upon this state of equality, humans seek to create a more level playing field for everyone. This out pictures not only in the various ways in which we sought to guarantee equal rights based on race, sex and the like – but also in our efforts to create social safety nets that guarantee all humans have their basic needs met.
Yet at some point we reach the outer limits of this extreme of equality and turn our focus towards emphasizing our uniqueness and the ability of some to gather greater power. As the pendulum swings to the other extreme, we allow power to be aggregated into the hands of a few. They use this power to craft a society and government that continues to favor the growth of even more personal power. At some point we again hit the outer extreme and begin the cycle over.
America and England in the late 1800s and early 1900s faced an extreme swing towards power being held in the hands of a few. Political and social backlash pulled us back toward a more egalitarian society. We hit another extreme and started swinging back in the 1980s with the election of Reagan and the implementation of “trickle-down economics”. Since then, more and more wealth has been aggregated into the hands of a very few. Now it feels like were hitting another outer extreme.
On the one hand it can seem somewhat depressing for humans to be swinging back and forth between these two extremes. Personal power for all – personal power for a few – personal power for all – and so on. But let’s not forget that each time we swing back we are also at a higher level, an upward turn of the spiral in humanity’s growth.
There is another way of looking at this. If we step back and realize that all humans really are spiritual beings springing forth from One source, then at some level we know there is no competition, there is no true “haves” and “have-nots”. There is only our experience in the multiplicity of the competition and of the varying degrees of experience of personal power. Within the unity, individual expressions of the one are having different experiences.
However, I’m not saying that we should ignore inequalities. In fact, I believe the very forces that push us back towards equality for all is a realization within us that we are all connected.
This Yin-Yang, push-pull swing of the pendulum is part of the experience we are here on earth to have. We need to move through the state of inequality in order to exercise our free will choice, experience that aspect of life and to realize that’s not our highest vision of what we can be. In reality, we are swinging between the two extremes of experiencing ourselves as separate individuals in competition with one another and experiencing ourselves united in oneness and cooperation.
So rather than getting depressed that we go back and forth between these two extremes, let’s focus upon our upward arc. As we move back and forth between equality and inequality on economic levels, we have also continuously evolved to higher levels of overall equality which have remained. Humanity has for the most part eliminated slavery, brought equal rights based on race and sex, has up leveled the basic standard of living around the planet, is moving towards equality based on sexual preference and more.
As we view life from this higher vantage point, it tends to make us optimistic that human evolution is moving ever upward and higher. Yes, there are still situations – including the current economic inequities – that are less than what we know is the highest possibility for a collective humanity. Yes, we should notice the gap between our current reality and are highest vision and take steps to move us towards a positive future in creating a world that works for everyone. But let us also knowledge with love the upward path that we have walked already as we turn our eyes with love up the spiral towards a future where we live more from our sense of oneness.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!