We’re living in an age when information technologies make it easy for relatively small numbers of people bound by a common enmity to find each other, no matter where on earth they are, and then coordinate to deploy violence. Hatred, even when diffuse and far flung, has increasingly lethal potential.

What causes all the hatred? At some level, it’s always the same thing: human beings operating under the influence of human brains whose design presupposed their specialness. That is, human beings operating under the influence of the reality-distortion fields that control us in many subtle ways, convincing us that we and ours are in the right, that we are by nature good, and that, when we do the occasional bad thing, it’s not a reflection of the “real us”; whereas they and theirs aren’t by nature good, and when they do the occasional good thing, it’s not a reflection of the “real them”.  And it doesn’t help matters that these reality-distortion fields often magnify, even out-and-out fabricate, the threat posed by them and theirs.

So, yes, we need to reject the core evolutionary value of specialness of self. Indeed, there’s probably never been a time in human history when this rejection was more vital.

–Robert Wright


When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling that something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment if sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get a chance, experiment with this. 

Excerpt from The Pocket Pema Chodron