Equal rights for everyone is something that our world has always failed at. However, this is the greatest opportunity in the history of mankind to wake up. We pay a deep and often unconscious price for our prejudice to continue to care only for ourselves and those familiar to us. Of course, it’s natural to care for our families, but, how much is too much? It is possible for you to move into greater balance to include more people and other beings on this planet. Even the smallest changes will make a humongous difference in our chance to survive in the world, be more whole in our hearts, and protect our children.
Robert and Dave explore how one of our most deeply rooted American ideals, that all men are created equal, is being violated with endless rationalizations, beliefs, actions, and attitudes. They discuss ways to move in a direction that will get us closer to this core belief in both small and large ways. Through Robert’s psychotherapy practice for almost 50 years, it has been evident that treating others like we want to be treated is not something that is normally associated with mental health. However, this lends itself to the disconnection and increased loneliness we see in our society today. Expanding our definition of family to include more people and beings can improve our individual mental health and the world at large.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 81.
Robert Strock (00:02):
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking, as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view, your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation, and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.
Robert Strock (00:49):
Thanks so much again for joining us at The Missing Conversation where we do our damnedest to address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing and where we’re looking for the most practical, inspiring, and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet and enhance human opportunities for everyone. Today we’re going to deeply explore how our conscious beliefs that all men are created equal is grossly being violated with endless rationalizations, beliefs, actions, and attitudes and what you can do in the smallest and largest of ways to move in a direction that will be more toward what our core heart and soul beliefs. So before we go further into that, I’d like to introduce Dave, my dearest friend for over 50 years and my partner at The Global Bridge Foundation.
Robert, thank you. Seems like when we started these podcasts, it was less than 50 years, so I, I guess we have been doing ’em a while <laugh> and uh, it’s great to be here and let’s go for it.
Robert Strock (02:04):
Yeah, in fact, it’s 54 years, so been a long time. We’re almost 55 now. So I think it would be obvious to all of you that equal rights for everyone is something that our world has always failed at, that it’s so obvious that we care more about ourselves and our families than we do about everybody else. Everybody else, there’s an us and them that’s really, really obvious. And as we take a look into that, the point isn’t to feel guilty, the point is to feel awake and see, which may not be obvious to you now that we pay a price for our prejudice to care so much more for ourselves and our families than others. Now of course it’s natural that we’re gonna care more for ourselves and our families than we are for the world. That’s not the question. The question is, is it a thousand times, 10,000 times more?
Or maybe we can move into balance where it’s only a hundred times more and maybe we can move to some extent to include other beings on the planet closer to how much we care for ourselves. And even the smallest changes could make humongous differences in our chance to survive in the world. Now, some of the more obvious ways that we haven’t had equal rights in America and beyond America, but I’ll start with America, is just right out of the gate how we started off treating American Indians and how much of a travesty it was to slaughter American Indians. Not that dissimilar from what Putin is doing right now in Ukraine and how that stain on our soul is there and how that subconsciously creates a sense of that being somewhat normal. Uh, well we did that in our history or maybe even more sincerely, it hurts and it actually is wounding.
But nonetheless, it set a tone for it being normalized to say nothing of how we’ve treated blacks and browns and people from other countries and how we’ve been prejudiced. Not all of us, we each have our different degrees of prejudice, but it’s without doubt that we each have a chance to lessen that prejudice. And the contention that’s being conveyed in this series is that we will gain in our hearts, we will gain and not feel as empty. We will not feel as alone. We will not feel as disconnected the more we unite with other people on the earth. We can even see quite clearly how much prejudice we’ve had toward women, you know, whether it’s not being able to work, whether it’s feeling a sense of ownership, whether it’s not really appreciating how they’ve represented a half of our soul. And frankly, relatively speaking in America, we’ve done better than most countries.
We can glimpse how utterly second-class citizens, women have made and how it almost ridicules or makes a lark of all men are created equal. In fact, it really should be. All men and women are created equal. Even the statement itself, all men are created equal is a travesty on the premise of what we’re talking about here. All people are created equal. And if we look at being in the 21st century, we can see that the consequences of not treating other races, other nations, other tribes as being equal is really a danger to our survival. And this is being acted out unwittingly. And I believe unconsciously by favoring our religions, favoring a psychological approach that is just trying to help us adjust to the world. The psychology itself isn’t necessarily focused on all men are created equal. It’s based on making the individual feel better inside themselves in spite of not focusing on all men being created equal.
It’s obvious in our politics that we aren’t treating all men are created equal. Digressing there for a second, we hear a lot about, well we’ve gotta care for the middle class as if that’s the source of compassion. When aren’t even talking about the lower class, not even intellectually, it’s like they’re an abandoned people or the emphasis on family and how again, family is a thousand or 10,000 times more important and how natural it is and how much I care more for my family than I do the world, there’s no doubt about it, by quite a bit, but I’m doing my best to, or maybe not even my best, I’m moving toward my best to include, as I get older and older, the wisdom of all people being equal. And if we don’t see this in the 21st century and see that if we have this us and them, this the Russia and the China and the America all as being much more important than the other countries that we’re setting up the inevitability of war, of terrorism, of fostering global warming, not sharing energy, not sharing a religion that is going to be for all people, a psychology that’s gonna be for all people, a politics that’s gonna be for all people.
And I don’t mean it in some kind of abstract ideal in the extreme, this is a relative change that needs to happen to support our chances, not only of survival, but of being more whole in our hearts, of protecting our children. Our grandchildren are off the charts in danger. There are many other quotes that I could look at that are very similar to all men are created equal. A couple of them are injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. And of course we could say the same for the world or things which do not grow and change are dead things. And we could go on and on with wisdom statements that obviously resonate in the core of our being for almost all of us. But we see how far are we away from that and how we live our life.
And again, the point is not to feel guilty or inadequate. The point is to be motivated to see what are the little and small ways that we can move a little bit toward another person. It might be a better tone of voice ongoing toward wherever we go. It may be a volunteering, it may be a bunch of small things. We’re not looking to get grandiose here. We’re looking to see how we can move toward the very best part of ourself that knows that we don’t know how we created ourselves being here and we’re most likely the people that are listening to this podcast among the fortunate, we’re not in a war-torn country. We’re not in a completely impossible situation. So we’re starting off with privilege. And, so we have the capacity to move in these directions.
I think the question has to be asked, because historically this is not new. Historically we have, and I’m sure further, much further back, but say the crusades that some by some estimates and 10 centuries, 11 centuries ago, killed 9 million people obviously, not comparing to the mobilization of, you know, 70, 80 million people in World War II. So the question has to be asked, is this just the human tendency, condition? Is it built into us to put others down to, to dominate others? Or today’s word would be authoritative, authoritarian. How do we deal with that without getting steamrolled at the same time we’re trying to be kind and human to those around us.
Robert Strock (12:20):
It’s a really critical question. And yes, it is a part of human conditioning and you notice, I’m not saying human nature, it’s a part of human conditioning, to the best of my knowledge, forever and very likely would remain that way forever if we were not going to be killing ourselves as a result of it. And I don’t mean just killing each other in a war, I mean killing all of us. That the being born in a separate body, it’s natural, and it’s natural when you’re being born into a separate experience or a separate family or a separate country or a separate group to care for what’s close to us, to be local. It’s a natural tendency. But when you start to see that we’re in the 21st century and we have out of the 8 billion people, we probably have, depending on how small you have the groups, we have between 2 billion groups and hundreds of thousands of groups.
And you see that in the nuclear age, in the global warming age, in the terrorist age, that we’re going to be killing each other in masses like the taste of what we’re seeing with Putin right now and what we’ve seen throughout history. But we’re gonna be seeing it with the potential for nuclear weapons and a nuclear global warming. And so our human conditioning needs to have a virtual lobotomy, not because we’re idealistic, like the song, Imagine, that we’re just gonna wake up out of our good souls. No, it’s very clear, if we’re grounded, we’re gonna have to see that we’re going to be killing ourselves and each other in mass quantities, not too far in the distant future, very likely in the middle of the 21st century or toward the end of the 21st century or sooner. And as a result of that, we’re gonna be needing to look at how do we become people that are moving in a direction of seeing that all men are created equal and that we need to treat everyone that way.
And just as a glimpse that we’ll be covering later, what if we move toward treating men as equal? So we’re gonna cooperate with how we use our energy, how we use our technology. We’re gonna cooperate with trade, we’re gonna cooperate with wisdom, we’re gonna cooperate with education. And we’re gonna start to gradually see that military fighting against each other is destined to kill all of us. So we need to find a way to gradually, and I do mean gradually, develop the trust that we’re going to either denuclearize ourselves or set it up so that there’s a power that’s greater than any one country that we can gradually surrender to. And that these movements toward all men mattering, which might be a better beginning starting point than all men are created equal, all women and men, all life matters. And that we are not the center of the universe, even though it appears that way.
So if we look closely, we’ll see that there aren’t any really powerful groups or nations that are really coming close or significantly closer to all men and women are treated equally. And there’s perhaps the exception of the indigenous communities throughout the world. They seemed to be more attuned until civilization came and believed they were teaching something superior. So there’s something to be gained from the indigenous communities as they appeared to respect others and weren’t braced for warfare. It’s sort of like we are living in a dream that we’re in the center of the universe and that if we take good care of ourselves, our family, our friends, we’re living the good life, we’ve arrived, that’s our heaven on earth. And of course, even that is rare to be able to actually to take great care of our families in having our families take great care of us.
That’s the exception. That’s not even the rule. So we’re talking about, of course, supporting families to take better care of themselves. There’s nothing here that’s anti-family, it’s pro-family plus. But we need to see that we’re living in this dreamlike reality, that what’s of dominant importance by far is taking care of our small unit. And if we can see that we need to keep taking care or expand how we take care of our families and really bring it into the world or else we’re gonna be a part of something beyond our imagination in brutality, what’s happening in Ukraine will look like a small ant or a piece of sand on the earth compared to 50 million, a hundred million, a billion people dying because of a nuclear holocaust or global warming taking over. And we’ll be dealing with this later, but we’re in massive denial, like most of us are about our own deaths.
In the root of my practice as a psychotherapist for approximately 50 years, it’s been evident that treating others like we wanna treat ourselves is something that isn’t normally associated with mental health. But as that has been the way I have perceived mental health to be, that there’s a tremendous willingness when that’s dealt with directly to see that there is a universal wisdom relating to what Dave said earlier, is it our nature? No, it’s not our nature. We have this universal wisdom. We just haven’t been brought into a situation like we are in now to see that if we keep following this conditioning of treating ourselves 10,000 times more important than others, we will be killing ourselves. It’s a form of gradual suicide in the 21st century. We need to wake up to see that the smallest steps, magnified times 8 billion, could be creating a tidal wave of goodwill for humanity.
And I have not met anyone. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but I have not met anyone that doesn’t realize that it would be wiser to treat everybody else better. It would be wiser, maybe not realistic in today’s world. As a matter of fact, not realistic in today’s world that we could stop the separation of countries and warfare. But that we can see that if we got to the point where nuclear war was right on the verge or global warming was truly wiping out tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people, that it would make sense for us to follow this wisdom that we’ve seen presented to us in all kinds of ways, like all men and women are created equal. This is something that could be called a psycho-spiritual lobotomy, where our brain is truly being moved in a different way, cuz what we’re seeing in front of us isn’t just a daily life and let’s get more money in our bank account and let’s just take care of ourselves, or let’s get a better hut, or let’s just improve things.
It’s that we are seeing that death is around the corner, not only for ourselves, but for humanity. Now as I say that, just see what your reaction is to that. See if you go, yes or maybe, or I don’t really wanna look at that, or I’m much more interested in my life. Just see what your thoughts are. Do you think I’m being hysterical? Do you think I’m being dramatic? Or do you think it’s realistic? When you look at the forces that are there today and the immense power of nuclear weapons and the immense power of a Putin, or the immense power of China attacking Taiwan or the immense power, if we don’t stop Putin of it going on and on until we finally do stop. And when we finally do stop, who knows what kind of dangers we’re gonna be in? So this psycho-spiritual lobotomy, or let’s just say a lobotomy of the brain or let’s just say a way fundamentally where we as human beings see the importance of being interconnected, the mandate that we see and that we act and we think like we are connected in a way that is much more than we have in the past.
Yes, I believe that is part of our nature cuz I haven’t met anybody who doesn’t understand that. And it’s a greater understanding now than it’s ever been. Mainly, I believe, because we are glancing subliminally, for most of us, the dangers of life as we know it ending, and certainly for those of us that are parents or grandparents, know that there’s incredible endangerment for our children and grandchildren. When we think of protecting our family, there’s an incredible irony that some people are starting to glimpse, that can you really protect your family when the whole world might be falling apart? Are we not putting blindfolds on ourselves to think that we’re protecting our family by amassing more wealth and not really doing what we can? And it doesn’t matter what situation you’re in, whether you’re in poverty, then it means be nicer to your fellow friends that are around you in poverty and work hard and persevere and develop good attitudes and vote and get involved and don’t be passive.
Or whether we’re someone that has some free time and energy or some extra money or connections or political involvement. Wherever we are, wherever you are, you’re looking for the small little steps that you can take. Don’t let yourself get off the hook by saying, well, what difference can I make? I’m only one person. How many billions of people have thought that and are thinking that now. We can’t afford that luxury of I’m only one person, I’m only one family, what difference does that make? How much have you thought about this? How much is this in your present consciousness? And what’s your attitude? Do you think that you will carry this with you? Or do you want to pretty much just live your life and not be bothered with these thoughts? Be honest with yourself and see that the main message here is not idealistic. The main message here is not grandiose. The main message here is one of interconnection and danger and opportunity and the capacity for mankind to be more fulfilled, inspired, and have a sense of purpose that in our small steps toward interconnection, each of us has the potential to be opening our hearts, finding our wisdom, and being more connected. This is the greatest opportunity in the history of mankind to wake up and to be fulfilled and inspired.
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