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A Divided Nation — Our Existential Crisis

Written by EHNW Board, following the 2016 election

As an organization our vision is to impact the world through existential-humanistic values. These include authenticity, integrity, responsibility, inclusion, and awe. In this spirit, the EHNW Board would like to share our thoughts on the crisis of identity our country is presently undergoing.

During our post-election time, we as Americans face an existential crisis. As we engage in the current political changes, many of us are fearful, angry, and disheartened and many of us wait with hopeful hearts. There is renewed urgency to secure hard-won values that we hold passionately. We ask ourselves, “who are we as a country?” “What will the future look like for our children?” Collective and individual actions taken today will influence and shape our future. Although we cannot control our country’s destiny, as existentialists, we recognize the potential and power of each intention, choice, and action.

As existentialists, we acknowledge and actively advocate for groups within our shared humanity who are denied, ignored, and marginalized due to race, sexuality, religion, and class. We are called upon to responsibly join with others to become an active voice for our diverse communities. We are also concerned that issues, such as climate change, which effect the international community, will not be recognized. We acknowledge and actively advocate that these issues are of vital concern.
The ambiguity and uncertainty of our present political climate compels us to face our existential vulnerability. This can be terrifying. We need to have the courage to be with our existential vulnerability, and in so doing, we will begin to make meaning of the crisis in our national identity. Our work ahead is three-fold. We need to know our authentic selves, educate ourselves about these issues, and become allies to those in need of support.

Our humanistic values emphasize unconditional positive regard towards everyone. This attitude helps us cultivate an understanding of those who hold different views from us. We believe that although there may be strong differences in points of view, ultimately we are all part of the human family and we are all intending, in our own way, to help humanity.
We also have a deep faith in the resiliency of the human spirit. Resiliency may be expressed in something as simple as the choice to be curious and open, rather than to judge and polarize. This can mean stretching ourselves to be inclusive and not shut others out. This can be a struggle. We want to embrace the complexity of our human experience. These attitudes can create the potential for open dialogue, increased empathy, successful negotiation, and mutually satisfying solutions.

As existentialists, we recall the freedom available to us in every moment. We can stand in awe of these tumultuous changes in our world. Our intention is to live a life of integrity aligned with our existential-humanistic values. We strive for integration of these values within ourselves and within the context of our world.

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