Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 4

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide.  See the divide play out in your life as well!

The Ethos of Progress

Even though I was in the throes of helping my daughter and son-in-law care for premature twins  just home from the hospital, I continued to think about the fierce divisions in this country that have intensified over the decades. In between diaper changes, I contemplated the divisions that had always simmered between different constituencies in the U.S.

4.1 progress vs. preservation

Progress vs. Preservation

But despite differences, the key uniting story that has knitted this country together is the ethos of progress. We could all get ahead economically if we worked hard and played by the rules.

This ethos has worked in the United States since its founding. Americans needed this guiding purpose to conquer the frontier, vanquish native people, and build the concrete jungle that is our current way of life.

02 American Progress, John Gast

American Progress by John Gast

We did so without thought of the consequences or our own well-being, let alone the environmental consequence. In fact, Americans have found this ethos is so wonderful that we have exported it around the world to some who have eagerly embraced, while others have been more skeptical.

This ethos of progress is enticing but dangerous, since the chances of it continuing unabated is slim. Also, the meaning of progress has been changing, especially among rural/urban, college/non-college educated, white/people of color, and religious/non-religious citizenry. Yet, our political leaders (on right and left) continued to preach the same ethos, but it was not resonating with a large chuck of voters.

12.3 white identityTrump was able to speak to the disaffected voters, the white, rural, working class, and non-college educated voters in ways the college-educated citizenry were unable to understand. Instead, they wrote him off as ignorant, racist, misogynist, homophobic, and other judgmental attacks that fed into more divisiveness. The spiral of anger, distrust, and misunderstanding entered a whole more divisive level.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

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Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 3

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide.  See the divide play out in your life as well!

Election Day 2016: the Aftermath

3.1 ship.JPGWith no sleep, I stumbled through the cruise ship’s farewell breakfast buffet. Everything seemed to be normal. Even the breakfast server seemed unfazed and a bit baffled by my passionate declaration of dire consequences awaiting the world and the cruise industry because of the election.

All of the pessimistic warnings came to naught but I was in enmeshed in an emotional and irrational fury. I gathered my baggage and took the bus to the airport. I chatted with several people; some who were as stunned as I was while others said they thought Trump would be a good president and his ideas were sorely needed. I thought they must be delusional and not know that dangers lurked below the surface.

3.2 Trump with Kelly Ann Conway, election night

Trump with adviser, Kelly Ann Conway, election night 2016

My son, a political junkie, called me at the Venice airport to hear my thoughts on the election and rant a bit, well, a rant a lot, about the events. He attended an election viewing party with his neighbors near Arizona State University in Tempe, and they all staggered home in disbelief. He hoped I didn’t have any trouble getting home from Europe to the U.S., as if perhaps Europeans would seek revenge on an average American citizen who could have possibly voted for Trump. Actually, I made it home safely and without incident.

As I made my way back to the United States, my depression intensified as the political reality sank in. What could have happened? I read everything I could about the election to see why the key Rust Belt states went for Trump, although by a narrow margin. What was his appeal? I started t3.3o realize that I had missed, along with many other people, an important trend in American culture: an intense dissatisfaction with the prevailing powers by a large swath of the American public. I was fascinated with this shift and was committed to understanding more about it.

My investigation into the question about the cultural divide, however, would have to wait several months; more immediate events were at hand: my daughter prematurely gave birth to twins, a boy and girl. My help was needed in New York City for several months. I happily switched my attention from politics to grandmotherly duties.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

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Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 2

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide.  See the divide play out in your life as well!

Election Day, 2016

2.1Election Day, November 8, 2016, dawned bright and sunny. The promise of electing the first female U.S. President emitted an optimistic feeling floating through the air. I even got wind of it in middle of the Adriatic Sea, where I was just finishing a cruise ship lecture series. I arranged my evening to watch all the election returns in my cozy cabin, room service at my fingertips, as the cruise ship steamed its way to its final docking port in Venice, Italy.

As I settled into my viewing, I was disturbed to find that some of the early election returns were not going the Democrats’ way, as I confidently assumed would happen. North Carolina and then Florida fell early on to Donald Trump. But I confidently felt the “Big Blue Wall,” the Midwestern states that had been strongholds for Democrats for several decades, would come through.

Big Blue Wall for Democrats

Democratic “Big Blue Wall”

As several of those Midwestern strongholds fell into the red column—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and even Wisconsin—the electoral map looked like it was hemorrhaging! Although my home state of New Mexico faithfully fell into the Democratic column, its five electoral votes didn’t make a dent in Trump’s electoral juggernaut.

2.3 2016 Electoral College VoteI could not believe what was happening. The MSNBC commentators were equally stunned, with a pained look of disbelief etched into their tired faces. The Fox News channel journalists (I could only get two news channels on the ship) were equally stunned, but understandably jubilant at the prospect of President Trump.

The surreal concession speech by Hillary Clinton was painful to watch, as her sobbing supporters huddled together. Clinton’s purple pantsuit evoked a sad reminder that 2.4 Concession Speech.jpguniting the nation would not happen under her watch. Trump’s acceptance speech was equally surreal, as the stunned family perhaps wondered a bit what they got themselves into.  My beliefs and hopes were collapsing around me. I was eager for a woman around my age to be President of the United States. This was not going to happen.

Hillary Clinton was smart, competent, experienced, and thoughtful. Although not a charismatic leader, and saddled with baggage from her and her husband’s past actions, I thought her strengths outweighed her weaknesses. Her lack of an overall, unifying vision for the country was troublesome, but I thought she would be a good transition president to a future that was uncertain and in the process of being defined. Now we had a president with no political or military experience, and appeared to be more determined to wreak havoc rather than build enduring systems.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

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Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 1

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide.  See the divide play out in your life as well!

Family and the Divide

1.1

l-r, Joyce, Pam, Sally, and Cindy Ames, late 1950s

I knew the upcoming presidential election in 2016 would be a rough one. I knew this, not because of watching CNN or Fox News or reading the New York Times, but because in a phone conversation in August 2016 with my cousin Joyce she told me that her sister Sally was voting for Donald Trump for president. I was stunned! Sally had consistently voted Democratic for many years, she was an Obama and Bill Clinton fan.

I was still reeling from the Sally shocker when Joyce told me that her other sister, Cindy, also a reliable Democrat, was voting for Trump as well. Joyce and Sally lived in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois, once an industrial powerhouse, but now part of the crumbling rust belt. What was going on here? Why the sudden switch from the Democrats to Trump? This seemed to be a bigger story than a few of my cousins going rouge.

I have been a consistent Democratic voter ever since I cast my first ballot in the 1972 presidential election. Although I tend to support more moderate Democratic candidates, I always liked the fact that they seemed to be more in favor of the ordinary person than1.2 Democratic donkey the business elites. I have been an educator in various capacities since my first teaching job in 1972, and Democrats usually supported public education and teachers more than Republicans. In the 2016 presidential election, I was firmly in the Hillary Clinton camp.

I watched the presidential debates with keen interest. Surely, voters would be offended by Trump’s prowling around behind Clinton during one of the debates. But his favorability ratings held firm. Certainly voters, especially women, would be aghast at his abusive language directed towards women and allegations of sexual misconduct in the Hollywood Access tapes. However, the outrage seemed to blow over and he escaped largely unscathed among his supporters.

3.1 President Donald TrumpJust presenting a laundry-list of inappropriate behaviors that Trump committed only seemed to spark a collective yawn among supporters. There was a deeper connection that Trump was able to make with his base that transcended inappropriate behavior and unethical business practices. What was it? I still couldn’t figure it out.

I wasn’t too worried though about the nomination of Trump to the Republican ticket, I thought it was a political aberration and would soon go away once common sense was restored to the American public.  After all, Clinton was ahead in the polls, and they seemed confident to have the pulse of the American public statically calculated down to the last electoral vote.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

 

 

 

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Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 8

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in learning about the trickster archetype in this series of blogs. The trickster is surfacing today in our uncertain times. What does the trickster represent and what can we learn from him?

1.1Beware of the Trickster

We are living in uncertain times. Our divisions seem to be intractable. It is a time for us to be attuned to strange occurrences and alert to messages from questionable leaders. Tricksters are most visible when people are in conflict and trauma, whether on an individual, national or local level. Now is such a time!

Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 3

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

The trickster is a universal archetypal figure found through the history of humanity. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term archetype and defined it as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious.  The trickster is one of the most reoccurring of the many archetypes found across time.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung 

Symbolically, the trickster for better and worse surface surfaces at a particular moment in our history. It is at this moment of intense divisiveness and passionate anger that the trickster it is showing its archetypal energies.

Neither the right nor the left have all the answers in coming to grips with the shadow side of America. They both can add valuable insights to the conversation but it also requires listening from both sides, a skill has steadily declined over the last several decades. Perhaps the trickster is revealing a turning-point, an interim phase of chaos turning eventually into the new.

turning pointFrom a historical perspective, the Trickster is an agent of change, often when a society (global, national or organizational) has gone far in one direction and discontent has begun to accumulate.

He evokes our shadow side and while we may be horrified or entranced society is provoked into a shift. Often this is a paradigm shift. The Trickster – stupidly clever, maliciously reassuring, destructively progressive, and unconsciously rational – often emerging to channel subliminal forces unknowingly and thrust us into the future.New Picture

Trickster is the archetype whereby we explore how our appetites that sometimes lead to a new cultural order and sometimes to chaos. It does seem that an awakening is due and that it will probably be painful for us. Chaos looms in the moment. Over the long run, however, increased participation could be very good medicine for our democracy.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and

their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

Posted in archetype, awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, mythology, politics, populism, trickster, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 7

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in learning about the trickster archetype in this series of blogs. The trickster is surfacing today in our uncertain times. What does the trickster represent and what can we learn from him?

Beware of the Trickster

New PictureWe are living in uncertain times. Our divisions seem to be intractable. It is a time for us to be attuned to strange occurrences and alert to messages from questionable leaders. Tricksters are most visible when people are in conflict and trauma, whether on an individual, national or local level. Now is such a time!

Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 2

The trickster is a universal archetypal figure found through the history of humanity. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term archetype and defined it as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious.  The trickster is one of the most reoccurring of the many archetypes found across time.

Trump’s election to the presidency was disturbing to many people; he was bringing to the surface many of the darker elements of American culture that we were forced to confront. Although there are many good qualities about the U.S. and its people that are too numerous to list, there is also a more disturbing side of the country, the shadow, that lies below the surface that we try to keep unseen and from coming out in the open.

3.1 President Donald TrumpThe trickster serves as a mirror of our country in some ways. But with the election of Trump these darker elements were exposed by his actions and behaviors, laid bare for all to see and witness. Emerging from the shadow are the darker elements of our country—exploitation, greed, deceit, and discrimination—employed to build this country, just as Trump used these elements to build his personal financial empire.

Although these seedy qualities are part of human nature, we have imagined that our country was different and they were not part of our collective spirit. But these elements are part of us, and Trump has laid bare this unsavory side. In this country, we are in the throes of a moral, individual, ecological, spiritual, and social malaise that is weakening and threatening to destroy our moral and social fabric.2.1 Kokopelli

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

Posted in archetype, awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, perspectives, politics, populism, trickster, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 6

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in learning about the trickster archetype in this series of blogs. The trickster is surfacing today in our uncertain times. What does the trickster represent and what can we learn from him?

Beware of the Trickster1.4

We are living in uncertain times. Our divisions seem to be intractable. It is a time for us to be attuned to strange occurrences and alert to messages from questionable leaders. Tricksters are most visible when people are in conflict and trauma, whether on an individual, national or local level. Now is such a time!

Lessons from the Trickster Archetype, Part 1

The trickster is a universal archetypal figure found through the history of humanity. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term archetype and defined it as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious.  The trickster is one of the most reoccurring of the many archetypes found across time.

So what lessons can we learn from our love affair with the trickster? The trickster is a transformer who appears when a way of thinking becomes outmoded, needs to be torn down, and built anew. He signals a wake-upNew Picture call and a warning as to what is going on in the shadow lands of the American and global psyche.

The trickster prods us to question things, to not accept things blindly. The presence of the trickster signals a dangerous time, but he also signals a golden opportunity to become more conscious of ourselves psychologically, and to potentially heal our divided selves. This is the hidden meaning and value that the trickster brings to us.

Jung would say the trickster is a manifestation of our own collective unconscious. The archetype relates to our “shadow side”, loosely those darker aspects of ourselves that we don’t acknowledge but which are often the source of creativity, and which need to be consciously integrated in order for us to function with more authenticity and purpose.

mirrorTrump’s ascendance is a call for the nation to take a long, hard look at what the trickster is mirroring to us. When we glance in the mirror we see an idealized version of who we are but when the trickster holds up the mirror that image is different. We see the reality but the ideal, but hopefully we all will gear up to improve the real image to one that is more the ideal.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

Posted in archetype, awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, mythology, perspectives, politics, trickster, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment