Regardless of what is happening specifically in one place or another across the world, we cannot help but see ‘signs of the times’ that Dr. Wolfensberger helped us become keen to. Devaluation is universal, and each of us holds devaluing thoughts and ideas about groups of people. We may wish we didn’t, but we do. Sometimes such negative and harmful thoughts rise up unbidden in our minds. However, we hope that we catch ourselves, that we recognize it, and that we quiet that voice, recognizing that we can be our better selves when we set our minds to it. When the tenor of the statements made by some of the most highly influential people on the planet reinforce those negative stereotypes, they likely give us permission to be less than our best selves, or maybe even our worst. They can spur us quickly from thinking bad thoughts to doing bad things to people.The impact of that across our global society, where an idea or a statement can cross the globe in seconds, and encourage our “collective bad selves” is a terrifying prospect to me. We need to help each other quiet our worst selves.
One of my meditations in times of trouble for people I am trying to stand by, with, and for is to ask myself, “What would it take for me to do really bad things to others, for me to violate the principles I try to live by? To translate bad thoughts into bad actions against other groups of people?” This is a hard set of questions to ask, and harder yet to answer.