I was reading an article recently and the author used the phrase "we live in a VUCA world-volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous." Interesting phrase that brings up the notion that it is crazy out there. I have been struggling for awhile with how to engage the world but engage it from a different consciousness. If we only engage the world at the level of the problem and existing consciousness we only create more of the same. It is not that I don't want to act or that I want to metaphysically explain away problems but I want to be very conscious of the world I am creating for myself and others. Certainly, a VUCA world compounds this issue by making choices and decisions even more difficult.
It seems everyone has an opinion, and I am no exception, and our opinions are treated as the right one so anyone who may see or experience the world differently is wrong. I don't know about you but I don't react well when I am made wrong. In fact I took myself off all social media for a brief period of time because I got tired of everyone telling me how to think, act, and behave and if I didn't there was something wrong with me. Reminds me of the Rolling Stones song Satisfaction.
When I'm watchin' my tv and a man comes on and tell me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke. The same cigarettes as me
Lawrence Peters a congregational consultant I follow had five suggestions for how to engage the VUCA world differently.
1. Resist the familiar. If we do it the way we always have we will get much the same result.
2. Linger longer in the not knowing. I don't know about the reader but I jump to my conclusions based on my own point of view and the suggestion here is to stop and linger awhile in not knowing and judging.
3. Move from explanation to exploration. Rev Tom used to say from prescription to description.
4. Ask questions before acting. St. Francis said seek first to understand rather than be understood.
5. Recognize our reactive tendencies. Peter's suggests if we can tolerate our own immediate discomfort in not knowing we may reach a new place of understanding.
When in seminary I had a mission that was to find the bridges of commonality rather than focus on the distinctions of differences. Maybe just maybe we can be open to a new understanding of our fellow humans. Let me be clear, in case anyone is misunderstanding me. This is not to dismiss hateful or abhorrent ideas or behavior. Hurtful and abhorrent ideas and behavior must always be resisted. But, I need to understand that often my outrage is directed at people before I have even attempted to understand their point of view or experiences. So often it is contempt prior to investigation. Maybe I will just take a breath.