By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
6.3.16: National – (Lifestyle): Late Thursday afternoon, when it was announced publicly and shared widely that the McArthur Foundation, a multi-billion grant-making institution, would award $100 million dollars to a single proposal linked to an organization that can succinctly present to them both a critical social problem and a solution to it, I began reflecting on the growing field of competitive problem-solving – I’m a 2014 Semifinalist for Echoing Green’s first-ever Climate Fellowship – and what social problems can’t be eradicated or mitigated solely through a blend of design thinking, impact investing, philanthropy, innovation, technology, advanced manufacturing, place-making and collaboration.
For the most part, social problem-solving is an exercise of the human brain. But there are social problems that exist in our world – like racism, classism, ageism, colorism, transphobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, greed and police brutality – which could be solved in part or in whole by an exercise of the human heart. Social problem solving is accurately viewed as complex, though complexity shouldn’t be the only view of the field. Many practitioners will agree that the best solutions are often the simplest.
A simple solution to various social problems initiated and exacerbated by divisive human behavior is adhering to Luke 6:13, a Bible verse which essentially says: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or said another way: treat others the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t sound like a hard thing to do – showing respect to receive respect – yet so many people have such difficulty doing it in public spaces and political arenas.
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One could argue that there are other Bible verses – like those which make up The Ten Commandments – that, if followed, would subtract from the world many of ills. And they would be right. If everyone, for example, adhered to “Thou shall not steal,” crime, arrest and incarcerations rates in countries would be noticeably lower.
But I’d argued that the treatment of others – no matter the context, whether it be theft, intimidation or bodily harm – encompasses all behaviors, and if one would think to one’s self whether the action they’re considering taking, or the speech they’re considering making, would be favorable if they’re were on the receiving end, not only would crime rates likely be noticeably lower and hate speech dissipate, but altruism and goodwill would flow abundant.
If treating others the way we want to be treated was adhered to, Fox News contributor, Ms. Stacey Dash, wouldn’t have suggested that transgendered people relieve themselves in bushes instead of bathrooms; Mr. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, wouldn’t advocate violence at his rallies; the Philippine president-elect wouldn’t seek to kill journalists who take bribes or engage in corruption; homeless people wouldn’t be looked down upon and brushed aside for grandiose events and staging; and police officers wouldn’t shoot unarmed suspects repeatedly or recklessly place them in an non-padded van while handcuffed without strapping them in for safe travel.
Treating others the way you want to be treated is a simple philosophy. The complex part is actually getting people to change their behavior in order to adhere to it. It’s not impossible, it’s just hard and may require, to some degree, divine intervention.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
About Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
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