Thursday, July 14, 2011
"LIfe Like A Wheel"
Eastern religious thought developed the concept of "The Great Mandala"; an idea that has, as its basis, that life is but a series of "circles" or "wheels". The inner circle is of course, the "self". It then permeates outward to wider circles of family, community, etc. Although I know little about Sanskrit the idea is thought provoking because it is so basic for identifying how our problems develop and how, if we are to resolve them, we must value the importance of all facets of the "wheel".
Consider this; our society can certainly be thought of as a series of wheels, each spoke providing support to the overall strength of the wheel. The family is the "hub" of the larger societal wheel and is strongest when all the spokes (family members) are secure and well tethered to the whole. The same is true with the larger family of community. The health of the community is dependent on the health and security of each individual spoke of the community wheel.
In the past few years there has occurred major breakdowns in the spokes of our common wheel, the breakdown of the nuclear family, major disruptions in our communities and a growing neglect in our caring for each other.
This has not always been the case.
From the founding of our nation until 1965 our very survival depended on everyone working hard and contributing to the common good. An agrarian farmer need everyone in the family to work the farm to survive. An urban factory needed every worker to be productive in order to compete and thrive. Moreover, those who failed to contribute would surely starve; there was no social safety net to allow one the luxury of loafing. I can't think of a better incentive to inspire work and productivity than starvation. This work ethic and a healthy morality saw both the family and community through tough times.
When economic conditions were such that the mass of our people suffered, those conditions taught valuable lessons. Folks learn to live leaner and scared themselves into saving for a rainy day. Those commonly referred to as The Greatest Generation certainly learned that by enduring the Great Depression and the threat of world-wide foreign domination. Those lessons spurred that generation to working so hard as to propel America into an era of prosperity heretofore unknown in human history.
In the last three years or so our nation has had to weather some pretty severe economic storms. I've been wondering lately if, in the long run, that is not a good thing. Perhaps families are now having to unite more strongly in order to survive these difficult times. Perhaps those who spent unwisely and saved little will have learned to live leaner and save for a rainy day. Perhaps they have learned that a home is not a financial instrument to be pawned for second mortgages to finance swimming pools and annual vacations. Maybe families, not diverted by material quests, have turned back to enjoying themselves as a family unit. It would be nice to know that these tough times have strengthened the family unit and enhanced our willingness to save for the future. This would certainly strengthen the "central hub" of our larger community!
Business too needs to begin thinking about more than the bottom line; provide good jobs, help solidify the community, think "country" over excessive profits
Government needs to scale down, increase audits for program fraud and abuse, get out of the notion that they can create wealth or create jobs
America itself needs to start putting America first!
Perhaps, if the many smaller "spokes" are strengthened the great "Wheel" of family, community and country can once again roll onward to a better future.