In this 21st century, society reflects misery and discontentment. The cause may spring from attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values founded on desires and expectations of family, education, and culture. Society may be systemically out of balance.
I experience many men and women in our dangerous era who appear to adhere to a culture of violence, punishment, retribution, threats of damnation and hate-mongering. They grow angry when offered options of education, problem solving, conflict resolution, negotiation, compromise and other life skills.
Children need to learn these abilities from the moment they interact with another human being. Parents provide the best opportunity to instruct them. Teacher and of course, schools should teach life skills from K-12 and beyond.
Religious teachings put a society out of balance because of dogma and doctrine. The underlying teaching of religion, that god made the Earth for human beings and that man shall have dominion over all that swims, crawls, and flies, creates the foundation upon which we think and act.
Putting man as master of a pyramid creates a notion of entitlement to use, abuse and waste all that is below. The structure of the pyramid includes man at the top, wives, then children below. Different looking or thinking people reside lower in the structure. Different clans, tribes, nations or continents fall below the apex.
The pyramid structure results in a system of competing interests and ends in wars within groups and between groups.
The "holy" war gives fodder to one of the oldest ways for humans to think about war. From ancient Israel in the Old Testament for Jews, in the New Testament for Christians, images exist of divinely authorized campaigns against those who did not belong to the tribe or who thought differently than they. Throughout the history of western religion, the notion of war fought for religious dominance reigns supreme.
Religious values contain ultimate values. To fight in the name of religion is to fight in honor of something that is holy. On the other hand, the opponent holds values that contain different preference. The opposing sides fight in the name of their various values to the death.
Religions that foster violence foster cultures living out of balance. Animals may fight to the death as a natural order of things. Homo sapiens developed a more sophisticated brain through evolution and can think and reason. They can discuss differences and find common ground. Man can think in terms of the benefit of the planet and the life on it.
Living out of balance means family violence continues as a "standard" part of the culture. Communities and police fight against each other. Laws and policies and practices take money away from small business and wage workers. The income gap grows; civil strife develops, and families continue to live under high stress.
Twenty-first-century life needs a fundamental change in its structure. Its system needs to develop a vision of health of the Earth.