A new American conscience has been emerging for some time now. For my generation it began in the 60’s with President Kennedy who worked with Sargent Shriver to develop the Peace Corps because he dreamed of eliminating poverty and creating world peace. It hasn’t happened yet, but many lives have been changed for the better.
Dr. King had a dream about universal justice and tried to establish it through tolerance and non-violence. Many were inspired by his dream, and after the chaotic time during which his life was taken we began to realize it, especially in our schools and places of work. Sure, tolerance and justice and still don’t always prevail, but hey, when have they ever? Personally, I see promising signs. Look at the legal shows on television. Many of them treat complex issues about justice in very responsible, intelligent ways. As I see it, our collective vision of a more just society is getting clearer and we’re working harder to make it a reality.
The tragedy of Sept.11 brought out the soft sides of New Yorkers. A year later my husband and I were stuck in a New York traffic jam. Amazingly, no horns were blaring. Most amazing of all, our taxi driver apologized for the traffic. I couldn’t believe it. “You’re apologizing for the traffic?” I said. “You realize you’ve just trashed a national stereotype don’t you?” He said with utmost sincerity, “It’s because of 9/11. Mayor Bloomberg told us taxi drivers we’re ambassadors for America and we can change the world’s opinion of us by being more respectful to our fares and each other.” This guy and his crusty peers were dreaming about being nice!
Enter the tragedy in Tucson and the ensuing outpouring of compassion. We all have it in us, you know. It’s because of the Queen archetype which motivates us to bring about lawful order and moral virtue through caring. And our most conscious leaders, like Pres. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver and Dr. King and Pres. Obama and even that taxi driver who saw himself as an ambassador of kindness, have responded to our crises over the last 50 years by birthing her into our collective awareness.
Many of you are cynical about how long this will last, but the truth is, when humanity dreams of a better way we dig in our heels and go for it. It’s a law of nature, the way we’re made. Look at the worldwide changes since King John signed the Magna Charta. Sure, that was 800 years ago and a lot of truly nasty stuff has happened since, but once the seeds of democracy were sown they sprouted and flowered and spread around the globe like kudzu. They’re still spreading.
Humans are not irredeemably bad. We each have the capacity for good and evil, and sure, we can go either way. But beneath the messes our egos keep making, the Self, archetype of wholeness, prods us to keep growing, to become more conscious and morally mature. This urge bubbles up when crises lower our resistance to psychological realities. It’s why we create religions. Nobody makes us do that; we do it because we must. Nobody made Pres. Kennedy create the Peace Corps, or Dr. King advocate non-violence, or that taxi driver be nice. The Self gave these people dreams and they activated their Queens to manifest them.
And therein lies our hope: We can kill our leaders, but we can’t kill our Queen. Long may she reign.
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It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave