I’m no philosophers and I’m certainly not the most educated individual on the planet, but I have a theory about “problems.”
All problems stem from a skewed value system.
Here’s why I say that:
If you look at the majority of problems–large and small, nationally and individually–they’re more complicated than the surface level “issue” we see. For instance: sexism. What we see is women being treated as lesser, unequal pay, laws skewed in favor of men, and an abundance of inappropriate comments and behaviors.
Let’s call each of these “symptoms.”
When we think about solutions to these problems, what we’re really doing is trying to ease the symptoms. We’re taping Band-Aids overtop stab wounds.
Except if you’ve ever been sick with strep throat and handed a cough drop and a pat on the back, you know easing the symptoms only gets you so far. Eventually, if you want true relief, you need to pinpoint the problem. The sickness itself.
So what’s the sickness?
In my sexism example, you could say people value:
- Power and control (in the hands of men)
- Money and status (for men)
- Reputation (at the expense of women)
These values are the real issue. They’re what need changing if we hope to rid the nation of sexism. In the process, all those symptoms fade away.
How do we do that?
I don’t have all the answers–I merely have observations and opinions. But I envision it going something like this:
acknowledgement –> education –> implementation –> evolvement –> continued action
Every change starts with an acknowledgement that something’s wrong. Then you must educate yourself and each other on the issue and how to move forward. After education comes implementation of change–real tangible adjustments to every day life that together slowly start to ignite lasting change. Like anything else, true solutions evolve and amplify as time goes on and situations shift. But through it all, we continuously act better, fairer, kinder, and with the greater good in mind.
Is it easy? Absolutely not. But until we dig deep and realize the problem isn’t cat-calling and unequal pay–it’s the value system and belief these symptoms are “okay,” we’ll never see real change. We’ll simply continue fighting disease with cough drops.
What’s this mean for me?
Politics are the easiest way to explain my theory, but they’re not the only relevant example.
I believe nearly every issue we face can be traced back to a skewed value or belief. For instance, I struggled hard with seeking out unhealthy relationships involving manipulation, abuse of power, and genuinely just ‘ick.’
Why? Because I didn’t value love. I didn’t value commitment. My idea of a relationship was so skewed I sought situations confirming my beliefs and then wondered why I was unhappy.
For a while, I fought the symptoms. Continuing to seek “better relationships” and cut toxic people from my life. But for some reason, I still wasn’t happy.
It wasn’t until I took a hard look at my own values that I noticed a change. I had to shift and evolve my own beliefs before I could cure the disease–and trust me, it’s a work in progress.
Apply this idea to problems with:
- Career fulfillment
- Romantic relationships
- General life fulfillment
Ask yourself: Could the issue stem from what I value?
The answer? Most likely yes.
The solution? Address the value–not just the symptoms.
Seek to get to the very very very bottom of the problem–and start there. Address the soil, not the flower. And in the process, you’ll see something new start to bloom.