Identifying and rectifying “people problems”

Everywhere one looks or to whatever or whomever one listens, the primary topic of discussion includes “problems” whether personal or worldwide, perpetrated or self-imposed. Whatever the situation or its magnitude the cause most likely boils down to “people problems.”

This thought first peaked my curiosity through an article written many years ago by Eric Butterworth entitled “Truth in Black and White” from The Voice of Unity.

It began with the statement: “There are no race problems, there are only people problems. The statement has since been the topic of many group discussions, especially in our former “E’ Racism” group (reformed as LAAM-Local Association for Advancement of Mankind) in order to address a broader range of people problems from a wider viewpoint. This group continued to meet weekly following the Presidential election that sparked racial tensions from the election of America’s first elected President of African-American descent, Barack Obama.

Few indeed are the household, organizations or groups of any kind that will not encounter problems whether occasional or persistent, regardless of make-up, stemming from personality and other differences. How easily can people of same races or even same families be pit against one another for any number or reasons. It is a major part of the “slave control” theory introduced by Willie Lynch centuries ago: to the new slave owners building this new nation. “Find out their differences; magnify them and then pit them against one another. You can then be able to control them for hundreds of years if not thousands! It’s so easy even a child can do it.”

The concept itself is certainly not new. It’s the same old “divide and conquer” theory that remains effective today. It narrows the playing field for many egotists and people of “perceived power” or in powerful positions who seek to protect their turf.

An ever-present example of such “people problems” is war, on different scales, perpetually waged throughout the world based upon greed or some form of prejudice whether tribal, racial, territorial, religious or other, becoming more costly with time on the economy and human lives with the ever-increasing sophistication of weaponry.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We now have guided missiles and misguided men;”-creating bigger and more devastating people problems under different altruistic guises.

This brings to the forefront another theory that innocently attributes to people problems, according to the same article by Eric Butterworth. It stems from the perceived humane attitude that “I am my brother’s keeper.” In order to be a keeper someone has to be kept. Not really an amiable situation of mutual respect, he reminds us. Therefore, whether a brother is fairing well or is in some humiliating position and in need of assistance, you are not just his keeper-you are still your brother’s brother!

As there are no problems that do not have spiritual solutions, perhaps we each can best contribute to problem-solving by striving diligently to identify and eradicate our own attitudes and actions that contribute to “people problems.” Remember, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!”

Once we learn to moderate “people problems” all of the others will gradually moderate themselves as, according to the Baha’i Holy Writings, “The transformation of any race, nation or world society ultimately depends upon the initiative and change of character of the individuals who compose it!