Open Bar: Legal system is criminal in its neglect of the elements that link us (column)
December 5, 2018
The human brain is a complex computer that far outpaces our capacity to comprehend its workings. We do not deserve the neurobiological gift we have received because we persist in being small-minded, in being petty and in trying to bring order to a life that is inherently chaotic.
Labels help us make sense of the world, but that is a crutch that we do not need because we are not so injured. Our brains are capable of understanding that matters are not as simple as a name. Everything is everything.
When we lash out and when we hurt others, we are only cutting ourselves because we are one humanity, one body. And, we are recent visitors to this planet. The environment that sustains us is interconnected to such a degree that it is an organism that beats with one heart. When one leaf moves, when one wing flaps, when one mineral is extracted, it has extrapolated effects on everything else that exists. The butterfly effect is not just a bizarre Ashton Kutcher movie.
And yet we try to exist in our silo, in our little family units, in our cliques, in our tribes, in artificial creations that totally ignore this reality. Quantum physics has taught us that we are just assortments of atoms, that electrons are jumping around all the time, that we can't even accurately trace where they are. That we exist in corporeal form is just a happy accident. We are so egocentric that, despite objective evidence to the contrary, we posit the primacy of the individual.
With this fallacy as background, it is little wonder that we are creating structures that will inevitably spell our doom. Democrat and Republican are arbitrary demarcations on the sociopolitical spectrum. We treat them as gospel, even though it is obvious that on a personal level we are much more nuanced, that there are parts of us that might understand the unified nature of our existence, that we can be conservative on one day or issue and liberal on the next.
The commonalities of religion far outstrip their differences. Theologically similar, but doctrinally apart creates a rift that need not exist. By concentrating on the outliers, we miss the unifying quality of religion and spirituality. The single thread of the Golden Rule courses through each sect and even weaves in atheists and agnostics. That lineage could be the tie that binds, but it instead has become a fuse to explode centuries' worth of powder kegs.
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The legal system is criminal in its neglect of the elements that link us. It pits people against each other for reasons that are, at best, trivial. There are so many chances for it to repair the damage, but the incentives to persist in the fiction of separateness are too great. Mediation is the only dispute resolution mechanism that begins to understand that the warring parties are really just two sides of the same coin. And for this reason, it is the bastard child, too smart, too sensitive for its own good. Mediation is the prophet yelling on the corner that speaks truth that nobody wants to hear.
You may be tempted to call me a Zen lunatic at this point, but please understand that as a Japhy Ryder fan, that is a high compliment. To recognize the connections between us all is not an insult.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Alpenglow Law LLC, a local law firm, and the owner-mediator at Voice of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.alpen glowlaw.com.