Thursday, February 18, 2010

Culture: Lack of Balance

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Eve Ensler was on my radar screen even before V-Day came up because of some of things she is saying on the book tour for her current book, "I Am An Emotional Creature". She claims that the United States needs to have more respect for emotions. To me, this underscored my long-standing position that the problem with the United States isn't that it is an emotional world country, but that it is unbalanced and thus unhealthy. That an emotional type like Ensler doesn't feel comfortable in a fundamentally emotional environment is an indictment of that environment.

If this were a thorough academic commentary, time would need to be spent describing how what I mean when I refer to the emotional world--derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Meridian Stretching teachings of Bob Cooley--is not exactly the same as what Eve Ensler means. Most readers of this piece will probably be using the same meaning as Ensler. I don't think it matters much; the argument can be followed anyway.

I think Ensler's assessment of United States culture is accurate. The emotional world should fundamentally be founded on caring. If there's one thing emotional types can't stop doing, it's caring about people. Yet, the culture of United States is not about caring for other people--it's about blaming other people, or identifying them as "other." Rather than establishing and supporting social safety nets, the most political points in the United States are scored by eliminating or "reforming" safety nets. Is it any wonder that Ensler, a quintessential caring person, feels out of place?

One of the other fundamental traits of the emotional world is comfort with money. Indeed, the United States as a country has the "rainmaker" trait of drawing money to itself, and it had it even before it was the world's largest economy. Yet, for a generation the country has been unable to significantly curb its spending, and has created an irrational backlash from a segment that won't allow itself to be taxed, exacerbating the problem. An emotional type shouldn't fall to either of those extremes.

Why not? Because it should be balanced. The balancing type of the past-viewing emotional world is the future-looking thinking world. Visionary, future-looking leadership would put the anxiety of the emotional world in perspective and lead to better decisions. Yet, the public disdains thinking-type politicians as people with whom they would not have a beer. This is a consequence of the current anti-intellectual thread in the populace.

Meanwhile, thinking-world Canada seems to be doing pretty well in terms of caring for its fellow citizens and keeping its budgets in order, the core emotional-world traits. How can that be? Canada may be thinking-world, but it's balanced. Thinking world St├ęphane Dion might be rejected politically, but in the same vote, thinking world Stephen Harper can be elected Prime Minister. Meanwhile, emotional-world artists are celebrated in the media, along with physical-world athletes. (Oddly, spiritual types seem to most often gain acclaim in Canadian media as artists, but that's a topic for another day.)

So how does the United States become a healthier, more balanced country? If it were instead a person, a meridian stretching trainer would try to stretch its body to make it more flexible, and then its "high", healthy fundamental traits would start to overpower the "downsides." How does a country become flexible? I suppose this means trying to do things from other worlds. But wasn't that what the Bush (43) administration was all about, macho, physical-world certitude and adventurism? It only works if both the physical world and the spiritual world (which are balancing) are both exercised, and I didn't notice the spiritual world getting an iota of attention in the past decade. So, instead that was just an unhealthy physical-world diversion.

Right now, the United States is an emotional-world country with an emotional-world president in Barack Obama, and it isn't healthy enough for emotional-world Eve Ensler. What it most needs is direct thinking-world balance. Be watching for visionary, thinking-world figures--perhaps not politicians--to start making an impact. I wish I knew where they might be--the United States desperately needs them.

No comments: