Self-awareness leads to an understanding of oneself, ones’ nature, the nature of reality. As difficult if not impossible as this task may seem, it is a worthy goal of the metaphysician within us all. Healing requires an understanding of our true nature, in particular the relationship between mind, body and spirit, otherwise how could we possibly know how to go about it? And since all healing is self-healing, therefore the expressions self-awareness, self-healing.
This may seem like a bit of a leap, but perhaps nations should practice serious introspection themselves. Perhaps the USA could have avoided the fiasco in Iraq if we would have tried to understand our own beliefs and motives at a deeper level. I am certainly no expert in politics, history, or the nature of intelligence gathering, but clearly we blew it when it came to what was happening with Iraq.
I was personally against the war in Iraq for one reason only–the fear of what has occurred–becoming bogged down in the local, historical, religious conflicts which are not our business and which we failed to comprehend prior to our actions. This ignorance, this lack of awareness has sadly led to the death and disability of numerous innocent individuals on all sides.
American leaders need to understand that our beliefs are not those of the world. Clearly democracy is the greatest form of government. Yet it cannot possibly survive without the entire historical, cultural, intellectual foundation which Western civilization provides. Other cultures may or may not be capable of nourishing it–and to plant something in soil and conditions which are unfavorable to it, is absurd and self-defeating.
If we are ever able to overcome our stupidity and hubris as a nation, we need to realize that we don’t know what is best for the rest of the world. It is painfully clear that we didn’t understand the Iraqi culture, just as we failed to understand the Vietnamese situation.
We need to become more humble, less certain that we know it all. It has been noted by many observers that our actions in Iraq might have proven successful after our initial victory over Saddam if we had understood how to transition the leadership into the Iraqi’s hands. The initial appreciation of our efforts gradually were poisoned by our failure to understand the minds of the multiple communities who resided there. We blew the occupation because we didn’t understand our own beliefs and motives. It seemed as if we truly believed that we knew better than the Iraqi’s how to run the post-Saddam situation.
We need to come to the realization that we cannot continue to launch military action against nations and cultures who do not view the world through American eyes. We will continue to lose wars and waste lives unless we become more aware of the mind-set of other nations and cultures.
If we are to avoid such horrendous mistakes in the future, if we are to repair our sense of appropriate actions in the world, we need to look within ourselves and become more aware of the nature of the world in which we live.