Bill Cottringer

“The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.” ~Max Born.

Last Month, I published an article in Security Management magazine, entitled “The Two-Way Manager.” This article was about the divide between employers and employees and the differences in values needed for personal and organization success. After the recent election results and loud public reaction on social media happened, I can see this divide between employers and employees is just the tip of the iceberg. Now the whole iceberg divide has been exposed with the election results and people’s reactions. I think it is important for the self-help industry to start helping the masses understand what this divide is all about and how to do what they can individually to start healing the divide with thoughtful reconciliation.

There are certain experiences and realities in life that are as close to being “opposite” as they can be. For example there is birth and death, silence and noise, and stout green leaves on living trees and falling yellow, red, crimson, brown and orange leaves on the ground. But our language and thinking has evolved to the point that we have divided everything into this or that quality judgments such as good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, brilliant vs. ignorant, honest vs. dishonest, and pleasurable vs. painful.

It might be a good time to pause and think about how we got to this divide. We are all after one thing in our lives—to enjoy a sure sense of genuine happiness, meaningfulness, wholeness and peace of mind. From this common denominator is where we start on many different paths in searching for what we want from life, choosing how to do that, getting different results from our efforts, and judging those results with different definitions of what we end up with in hand as opposed to what we left in the bush.

At the end of the day, all we really come close to knowing for sure is a vague sense of what we are experiencing from what is happing at the moment we are in. In the process of growing our minds and consciousness, we form beliefs about the experiences we have. But each belief takes on an existence of its own in assuring us what we choose to believe is in fact true and an accurate and complete rendition of the reality of the real experience which we originally chose the belief to represent. Something important is lost in this translation.

Now if this situation wasn’t bad enough, we went ahead and developed language to be able to talk about our beliefs, which in turn were supposed to represent the actual experiences we were having, that we may or may not actually understand, but sure as heck can’t talk about with any degree of accuracy or completeness. Here is where all the difficulty occurs in understanding the realness of the divide. Consider these divisions in just a few beliefs that make up the present divide:

• Leaning towards having optimistic hope in a better future vs. leaning towards being pessimistic with fear things will only get worse.
• Believing entitlement with free helicopter rides is the only road to curing inequity vs. believing in a tit for tat arrangement with step-stools being a better way to enable people to achieve their potential.
• Thinking conflict should be avoided at all costs vs. thinking it is the only way to reconciliation and healing of the divide.
• Believing everything happens for an unknown good purpose vs. the purpose being our own private creation.
• Trusting in life to proceed on its own with our small individual contributions vs. if we all don’t do something right now, the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

This list could go on and on, but the point is that we have gotten to the precarious point of letting our beliefs adversely control us and our relations with each other with unfounded fears, rather than taking the wheel ourselves—by becoming more aware of what is happening to see what the answer is. This is a very precarious situation we might want to consider reversing, because that is exactly what this election is trying to show us, past the noise of which we are presently over-preoccupied in hearing.

Beliefs are not true reality (no matter how convinced we are about their certainty) and words cannot capture the essence of these beliefs about virtually unspeakable experiences, and in the end the divide and differences that appear to be so real right now, are more imaginary and exaggerated than anything. This is utterly preposterous to digest, but just consider the value of admitting to yourself behind d closed doors that all you think you know just might not be so. I can try to make this a little more relevant by telling you young children are born with all the wisdom we work hard to regain during our lifetimes by questioning our beliefs and ability to communicate them.

In order to accept and enjoy the grace of the happiness we were born into, we have to get closer to perceiving reality the way it is, not the way we allow illusions to hide and distort it. A start here is to realize we have inadvertently created the divide with our thinking and can’t un-think it, until we relax our grip on our beliefs and start questioning them on the road back to reality. Not taking our beliefs quite so seriously, with the few exceptions we are willing to die for, is a good start. I stand ready for the push-back I will likely receive from this article.

“When we settle for the realization that we can only have faith that our beliefs are true, we have finally become honest with ourselves.” ~The Author.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), and Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net