Despair or hope?

David Markham

As mob violence became more widespread and effective in enforcing racial subjugation, lynchings became more public and more macabre. Huge crowds would gather for the planned events. Hanging proved too quick and efficient a means of death. Instead, lynch mobs turned to genital mutilation, dismemberment, and burning, like something from the medieval era. Crowds would clamor to take souvenirs of the hanging tree, rope, and even the fingers and skins of the victims. I remember the first time I saw postcards depicting a lynching. A young white boy smiled at the feet of a hanging victim. Lynchings became violent public spectacles that united the white community while ensuring the subservience of African Americans.23

Seidule, Ty. Robert E. Lee and Me (p. 84). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

I have seen the postcards and pictures of the lynchings too. The visceral reaction I experienced was the same when I’ve seen pictures of the Nazi concentration camps. It has led me to despair in wondering “What kind of a species of animal are we that we can do this to one another?”

I do not have an answer but I do know that we are capable of becoming better than this. What will it take to push the evolutionary project forward to develop healthier functioning human beings? Will it take better politics, better religion, better economic systems, better social systems, more spirituality, all of these things?

It seems to me using Ken Wilber’s AQAL model that it takes primarily growth in the interior realms of spirituality and culture. As advances are made in the interior quadrants, we will find the development of different kinds of social institutions and even a rewiring of the human neurology. One thing for sure, there is no quick fix, no silver bullet, no magic key.

Each one of us must take responsibility for our own interior spiritual development and join with others with similar goals to create our preferred society and world.

  1. What do you do in this regard?
  2. What kind of spiritual practices do you engage in?
  3. What kind of fellowship and emotional support systems have you created that facilitate and nurture positive evolutionary movement?
  4. To whom do you look for spiritual leadership and inspiration?


David Markham

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