In preparation for tomorrow's lecture for the Writing Spiritual Memoir class, I have been struck by the following definition of culture from Seneca First Nation member and psychologist Terry Cross: "culture is one group or people’s preferred way of meeting their basic human needs.”
I wonder what basic needs a dominator culture tries to meet—the authoritarian, repressive, warring strands that have been showing up in culture.
Retaliation is not a basic human need. Love is.
Excluding is not a basic human need. Belonging is.
Punishment is not a basic human need. Understanding is.
How do we meet the deeper needs for love, belonging, acceptance, and peace that are foundational to being human—or, shall we say, to having a human experience in a sentient, interdependent universe—when there is fear around claiming them? How do we return to a remembering of our interconnectedness when the paradigm we inhabit emphasizes cool individualism, and our lives have only partially retrieved our true relational embeddedness? Without such a relational paradigm to uphold us, we are all trying to survive—having arrived into a canny illusion of such lack, such incompleteness--sometimes striving merely to complete the picture, close the gaps.
I feel the grief. And then something rises up: a memory, a welling up.
Even if it seems that the world is constantly trying to take away or push back on our wholeness, it is a good thing wholeness is there, always—without beginning or end—sourced in a stream that resembles most closely, perhaps, love. Even with all the unresolved/unaddressed grief from the illusion of alienation, this is our inalienable right—beyond any frameworks of knowledge. Can we shape our cultures to reflect it?
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