Sunday, October 1, 2017

Our Status Under Human Rights: None of Us is 'The Problem'

Another thing I admire about the Universal Declaration of Human rights is that it is not about who is wrong. 

It does not divide the world into bad people and good people.

It does not divide beliefs into bad beliefs and good beliefs.

It does not divide values or thoughts or gifts or challenges  (or anything!) into bad and good.

It is not about shame or blame.

It is not about punishing or exterminating the bad stuff in human nature.

It does not look for who made some bad thing happen and then make sure they fix it.

It does not hold hearings or gather evidence to make perfectly clear just how much someone else is at fault and we are not.

It refuses to assign labels or call names.

It does not make any one of us 'the problem.'

We are all in the same boat

The Universal Declaration says we are all in the same boat.

Despite our apparent differences, human beings are not enemies but allies:
  • We have a common problem - but it is not each other.
  • We have a common solution - and that requires each other.  

Common Problem
  1. Everyone, everywhere has the same basic needs
  2. None of us does well unless our needs are met
  3. If any of us does poorly, that affects others.
  4. This makes us afraid of each other, and also afraid of unmet needs.
  5. Fear leads to reactivity.
  6. Reactivity in any of us will create reactivity in others. 
  7. All of us are caught in this cycle.
  8. This is how good people end up doing really hurtful things.
  9. The reactivity spiral will never end unless we become aware of it (education, learning).
  10. The reactivity spiral will never end unless the human race takes responsibility for the dark side of human nature and makes a conscious effort to stop its harmful impacts.

Common Solution

Once you understand the problem, the common solution proposed in the Universal Declaration is relatively simple.  The whole strategy coalesces around one basic theme:

Prevent reactivity!

But how do we do this?

Well, in actuality the concept is reality simple.  To prevent reactivity, we need to do the following (as much as humanly possible: 

Prevent the conditions that lead human beings to react from occurring!

But how do we do this?

Anti-Reactivity Recipe

In actuality the concept is reality simple.  It involves two things: 

1. Offer unconditional personhood: 

We need to treat each other in ways that avoid stirring up reactivity as much as possible (e.g., like human family, with respect and high regard)

2. Support access to basic needs:  

Support every last one of us to access the basic needs and resources that all of us need in order to live well feel and be well.

On these two commandments hand all the law and the prophets.  😀

These are the two foundational principles of human rights. 

Everything else in the Universal Declaration - including freedom, justice and world peace - follows from them.

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