Our current system of enforcing standard behavior in public through fear of social reprisal (aka performing only the public self and considering the rest personal or inappropriate) is unsustainable. It separates and puts at odds personal and collective interests. Eras end through this predictable cycle when it goes unaddressed outside crisis.
When our population expands, our technology increases, and our power is concentrated, we become removed from the people we impact. Factions develop and mutually radicalize on the slights or perceived slights or made-up slights that always occur between representational members of opposing factions. This increases the socially perceived threat of radical action by angry external unknowns.
We turn away from this fear, falsely hoping that ignoring its existence gives us time to enjoy our lives by forgetting the fear still exists within us. But when we provide a safe-haven for fear, we lose our ability to be comfortable, relaxed, and rational in our functionally uncontrollable reality. Through ignorance, the systemic cause and material effect metastasize, increasing the amount of time we spend actively fearful and the amount of energy we expend pacifying fear.
The world we ignore as “personal” or “classified” or “inappropriate” or just plain hard for us as humans to think about is to be faced, head on, with eyes and heart open to receive information without bias and deliver empathy without judgement. This is how we open ourselves and our society to peaceful reckonings, reparations, and revolutions. This is how we intentionally construct a world we’d choose to live in.
We face our fear and let it pass through us, following its path with our mind until we learn enough to empathize with what we previously feared. Doing so we free ourselves from the blindness that comes from personal fear. Minds free from fear are free to work together, for, in reality, there’s nothing to fear, not even fear itself. If we’re brave in the face of physical and emotional danger, secure in knowing who we are to our core, and true to one another, we can reduce suffering in the world we’ve sentenced ourselves to and save the future from repeating the cycles of the past.