Could Improved Communication and Understanding Help Us Resolve Problems in Our World?
We live in a world with immense and seemingly intractable problems, most notably warfare, poverty, corruption, oppression, disease, and environmental degradation. Each of these problems is either caused or made worse by people misunderstanding, fearing, and hating other people. There is a tremendous amount of unnecessary conflict and suffering in this world, and there is a common root cause for much of it, which is that we lack mutual understanding, agreement, and cooperation. For example, even if someone is working on a basic problem in the world such as the climate crises, poverty, or infectious disease then their work might grind to a halt because of fundamental problems in communication and understanding. The truth is that we are not doing enough to try to address this root cause. In order to make progress in any of the areas mentioned above, we need greatly improved understanding and communication and a way to break free of our tribal, nationalistic, and partisan instincts.
A Clash of Worldviews
We recognize that people who have vastly different worldviews are often unable to understand each other. Such disparate groups also have seemingly incompatible ethical and moral frameworks and contrasting political ideologies. They appear unable to productively communicate because of the mental walls that divide them. The problems are made worse by weaponized news, deliberately false information and hyperpartisanship.
These trends could lead us towards more conflict and instability with a continued rise of nationalism and autocracy around the globe. In fact, unless we take a serious look at how we are thinking and communicating, the very idea of free and open societies will be at risk.
Bridging the Divide Between Outer and Inner Worlds
We all have an outer world in which we interact with each other and an inner world where our thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires originate. These worlds are often disconnected from each other. Other people don’t understand our thoughts and feelings, and we don’t understand them. But what if there is a way to bridge this divide? The key is to begin with an understanding of ourselves and how we come to know things. We need to better understand how science works. We need to be able to sort out fact from fiction because we are constantly being bombarded with information. Finally, we need innovations in communication. When we put this together, we will develop both inner awareness and societal understanding, which will help us avoid conflicts and work toward peaceful coexistence with people of different backgrounds in life.
We recognize that human beings have differences in thought and opinions on all sorts of matters, but we also recognize that empathy and reason are the keys to forming a constructive middle ground where there is less conflict and greater peace. This requires that we straddle the frontier where the mind meets the social landscape and that we work to promote enlightenment for people of all ages.
Lifelong Learning for All Citizens
We hope to inspire people to improve their lives, their community, their nation, and their world. Our approach is to help organize local community events that aim to educate people on these matters:
• How science works and how to discern legitimate science from pseudoscience. We believe that when someone understands the scientific process and how scientists do their work, they will more likely appreciate and accept consensus scientific views.
• How journalism works and how to discern credible information from misinformation. We want to help people sort out fact from fiction when they are constantly being bombarded with information, not all of which is true.
• How to develop greater self-awareness and mindfulness. We believe that such people will have more success in expressing their thoughts and feelings and will also understand other people at a deeper level.
• How to recognize that all people, even those who come from different walks of life, have shared core values. All people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and class background can find points of agreement if they can effectively communicate with each other. People who identify their shared core values are more likely to live in peace with others.
Leadership Training: A Corps of Wellness Practitioners and Event Facilitators
If we want a more stable, prosperous, happy, equitable, and free society, then we need competent, compassionate, and just leadership in all areas of public life. The idea is that every community, whether physical or virtual, should have leaders who become familiar with a wide range of peacemaking, sensemaking, mindfulness, and interpersonal relating practices. We are seeking to establish a network of such community leaders through partnerships with local community organizations.
The Importance of In-Person Meetings
We believe that the solution to our greatest societal problems begins at the community level with an integrative approach. Recognizing the importance of in-person meetings and the need for more face to face and eye to eye communication, we plan to help organize and facilitate a wide diversity of events, including:
Public discussions on current events, politics and philosophy – affording the opportunity to practice constructive, peaceful dialogue.
• Art and Culture
Opportunities for participants to be in inspiring venues, see exhibitions, experience intriguing concepts through art and cultural events, e.g., dilettantes, book and film clubs and art exhibits.
• Outdoor Recreation
Wellness events merging fitness, natural beauty and ideas in a way that brings together exercise and education.
• Mindfulness, Meditation, and Authentic Relating
Events that are based around forms of practice that are oriented toward to inner awareness and inner development.
• Community Service
Public service events, e.g., trail cleanup or activities coordinated with city, county and school district services.
For more information, or if you would like to contribute in any way, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org