99.9% of Everything Works Just Fine
OK, OK! This all seems great for my own situation, but there is so much wrong in the world! What about that?
Your premise is inaccurate. Of course there are situations out there that are seriously bothersome, but it’s an error to conclude that the world is overall problematic.
Right now, no matter where you are, look around. Can’t you see the perfection? If you’re inside your house or apartment, what do you observe? In the kitchen, is the water coming out of the tap when you turn the knob? Is the heating or air-conditioning working? Is your TV turning on? What about the electricity? How about your smartphone? And your heart? Is it beating? What about your brain? Is it thinking? Is there oxygen in the air? Are you breathing?
Yes, I know. On a personal level, sometimes the car doesn’t start, and once in a while the electricity fails. And I don’t make light of the fact that people get sick and some have physical disabilities. Still, in the numbers game, which is a hard and cold evaluation of the whole package, my 99.9% statistic holds up.
Regarding global affairs: Yes, of course, we humans have a penchant for horribly gumming up the works (ask a Christian in Libya or an inner-city teen). Psychological, political, relational, and personal health dysfunction are evident, yet the vast majority of people in the world are fed and warm and safe.
The idea that the things of the world are good is a revelation to nearly everyone. Why? Much of it has to do with the media which does everything possible to seize our attention. Simply put: Good news doesn’t sell so we’re delivered the morbid, which is invariably more interesting. Most of us equate what we see and read and watch with typical reality. Truth is, what is presented to us in the media is a rooted-out tiny slice of what isn’t OK, and it’s a profound miscalculation to generalize about the world’s condition from that anecdotal evidence, anecdotal evidence propagated by people with an agenda. Unless you live in a part of the world that is a hotbed of dysfunction, your life is probably pretty good.
The other reason we tend to see the world as overall problematic is that when personal bad news crops up, it demands our full attention. But don’t you agree that an immediate problem that sours everything in the moment doesn’t indicate the whole world is a mess?
And this point is critical: If you find yourself in a bad state of mind or outright depressed, that doesn’t mean life isn’t good. It just means your immediate mental comportment isn’t good. Think of the people you’ve seen who are physically attractive and healthy and who have lots of money, power, fame, and a future full of possibilities, but are miserable. Their worlds are, in the mechanical sense, near perfect, but their states of mind stink! Do not equate your immediate negative emotional state with the condition of the world.
This is not something I hear every day. What else can you tell me?
Let’s review this: Because the elements of a system execute according to their own construction to produce a result, you have incredible power if you stay within your circle to work on your own systems, the systems you can actually affect. This is where you can make things better. Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to adjust things outside your circle. (As an aside, it’s my guess that the term “raving lunatic” came about in order to describe people who spend all their time outside their circles, trying to rally support to fix things that can’t be fixed.)
Here’s something further: If you personally don’t like a system’s result, strictly speaking that’s not because of an error in the system. That system is working perfectly according to its construction. If you want a different result from a system, you must go inside it and adjust its configuration. Once you’ve made that adjustment, the system will continue to operate perfectly—according to its new construction—only now it will be producing the result you want.
The wonderful spiritual by-product of the Systems Mindset is that when you see the perfection of the universe, the flawed visions that the media and entertainment cabals thrust upon you—and the immediate problems you may encounter—are much less onerous. When the Systems Mindset struck me so many years ago, I was dumbfounded to realize that my life had been dictated by my certainty that the world was a hostile place, that I was always on the brink of destruction. I had lived my whole life like that! But now I see the world as it truly is: a beautifully synchronized collection of independent systems, every one of which is operating exactly as constructed.
(But here’s the qualification that I touched upon earlier: In this world that is an immense collection of systems, man-caused interference is huge. How can anyone deny pollution and wars as humans disrupt perfect natural systems, as well as human systems that were previously working just fine? There’s no question that the human negative aspects of fear, ego, greed, etc. are the root cause of the interferences. But still, those interferences don’t negate the fact that the systems of the world are dependable, propelled by an invisible force that not only pushes them toward completion of their individual missions, but also relentlessly works to repair any damage. In any case, despite human interference and the resulting damage—and here’s where pragmatism enters—the huge majority of lives are surrounded by perfection.)
And so for you, since 99.9% of everything works fine, there probably isn’t that much for you to adjust in order to obtain the exact results you want. We’ll talk more of this in the next chapter.
If this is all true, we’re talking about a stunningly positive change in my life.
No kidding! The realization that your personal world is in great shape is, to understate it, an exciting revelation. It will be electrifying when you grasp the truth of it and start to observe your life more accurately, when you begin to get your machinery pointed in the right direction and operating efficiently.
Now I see this could almost be a spiritual thing. Is there anything I can do to make the internal awakening come sooner?
Yes, and you don’t need a guru, peer group approval, or blind faith. You just need you. The spiritual is right here, right now, if you choose to see it! Just keep your eyes open and observe the events of your day from your new outside and slightly elevated perch. Your epiphany will arrive when you least expect it.
But what about the past? How about my future?
The past is gone, but value it in a peripheral way for two obvious reasons. First, some of it might emerge in some way to affect your current decisions. So be prepared for that. And second, you’ve learned some things along the way that will prove useful down the line.
But don’t regret the past or wallow in it. It simply doesn’t exist, and for that matter neither does the future (although you certainly want to prepare for it).
There is only this moment in time.
One day soon you’ll acquire the Systems Mindset, and you will feel the truth of it in your belly. Then you’ll immediately begin to act on your new vision, applying it moment to moment, not just because it makes sense and not just because you will see huge improvements in your life, but especially because life, as it is, has become amazing.
I’ll still have personal problems though, right?
Of course, for anyone, no matter their state of mind, problems will arrive, one by one, in sequence and sometimes more than one at a time. But in living via the Systems Mindset you’ll find you’re dealing with far fewer, and those particular problems won’t be as overwhelming as they would have been. You’ll be resilient and powerful, in control.
And here’s something else about your Systems Mindset: When there is a problem within your circle of influence, you’ll be thankful because it will be a red flag alerting you to make a System Improvement so that particular problem won’t ever happen again. You’ll learn that glitches are your friends because they point out where improvements can be made. And every time a System Improvement is made, that system gets more efficient and reliable. (It’s a beautiful thing! Imagine systems getting better and better over time, rather than wearing out!)
But one system can interfere with another system, right?
Yes, indeed! And this is a primary concern: System A gumming up the works of system B. Not limited to greed or incompetence, there are many reasons this can happen, and we must work to insulate our systems from this kind of interference.
The perfect examples of one nefarious system interfering with another perfectly good system? Organized crime and government intrusion into our personal affairs. (Oh, but I repeat myself . . .)