ON AIR: Polarization and the Middle Way in a Pandemic with Silas Rose
ON AIR is a pithy monologue by the host of Awake In Relationship Silas Rose featuring commentary on topics arising from interviews and current affairs. As we enter the fourth wave of the global pandemic polarization threatens to derail the public health response and divide family and friends. How can we meet the challenge of the climate crisis if we cant even have a conversation? In this instalment of ON AIR Silas explores the middle way – the rare space where love and our shared humanity reside.
You are listening to awake in relationship, a podcast about intimacy, community and culture in a time of great change with Silas Rose.
Silas Rose 0:41
Hello dear listener my name is Silas Rose and you’re tuned in to Awake In Relationship. This is another instalment of a segment I’m calling On Air where I do little deeper dive into some of the themes I explore on the show and also current in the culture. I really love this time of year, late summer, as it represents a kind of balance point. It’s a natural transition time in the Taoist Chinese cosmology. late summer is considered in the fifth season, connected to the earth element. I’m harvesting a remarkable amount of food right now from my small rooftop garden. I am feeling a great sense of appreciation and gratitude for the abundance of the earth element, but perhaps on a deeper level, a real appreciation for the connections, the seen and unseen relationships that my garden facilitates. It’s become a place of refuge for me, where I am reminded that goodness exists in our world, even when it feels like things are falling apart.
This past year and a half, has really been an intense ride between COVID and the wildfires we experienced here in the Pacific Northwest this summer, it just kinda feels like returning to normal is not in the cards, at least in the near future. At previous points in history, a world war or natural disaster was often the catalyst for social cohesion or group action. This was certainly the case back in the beginning of the pandemic, back in March 2020. I’m of course speaking about the response here in Canada, Canadians tend to be somewhat agreeable, socialistic kind of people. We all washed our hands and wore masks and banged our pots for frontline workers. At the end of the day, even politicians seem to set aside their partisan dogfighting, I think I held on to this naive notion that Canadians are different, that we were somehow immune from the intense polarization and partisan politics that are really kind of ripping apart America right now. But a lot can change in a year. And 2020 was really a year like no other. When it comes to the big issues of the day, like public health or the climate crisis we are deeply divided. And this isn’t a Canadian thing or an American thing. It’s happening in countries all over the world. So not to be too hyperbolic, but what keeps me up at night is really the question, how are we going to have a coherent, functioning society, if we can’t have a conversation about the common ground. We need to somehow find a way back to Earth, which for me is really the connections we have or the relationships we have with our neighbours, friends and family. We need to find a way back to the middle way. I’m not talking about centrism particularly, the middle way is not some central point between the virtuous liberal elites and their opposite, pro gun, pro life, libertarians. I feel it is something much more personal,it is the most basic experience of what it means to be human, and to witness and respect other people’s humanity.
I know this might sound like a serious pie in the sky thinking. But I really believe that we have more in common than what separates us. In many ways, this platform that I’m working on, the podcast, and hopefully in the future programs, will it’s kind of an open source explanation about how do we get back to that fundamental awareness of our shared humanity. There’s been so much chatter in various corners of the internet about the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution, aka the Great Reset. There are of course, many theories about what that means. There is some belief that technology will save us from ourselves. But we cannot solve our environmental and social problems by outsourcing the big decisions to powerful algorithms. I certainly don’t deny the importance of these new technologies to help us navigate into an uncertain future. However, they can’t fix the social problems and basic cancer of polarization eating away at our society, only we can do that.
One of the greatest challenges I see happening at this stage in the pandemic, especially as people become more polarized around things like vaccine mandates and passports is the very real possibility of long term friendships ending, fracturing communities, and creating a new segment on population that feels fundamentally disconnected and alienated from society. If there was ever a time to rediscover or re animate the middle way, it’s now. In our personal lives and also in whatever capacity or role we have out in the world I feel it’s super important right now to resist the culture of polarization and division to ‘not take the bate’, as the great Buddhist author and teacher Pema Chodron says. I hope it is not to saccharin or simple minded of me to say, it’s really all about staying connected to love in this momment we are in.
As always, I really appreciate hearing from my audience, send me a message through the contact page on the website, awakeinrelationship.com. or reach out on the socials, Instagram and Twitter and tell me what you’re doing to stay connected to the middle way. If you’ve been loving the content on the show, I’d really appreciate just a quick review on Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts, it really helps me to grow on the show. Till next time I hope you’re staying with the love and staying connected.