When everything looks like a nail

There's a saying in English: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

And when you have a lot of weapons, and a culture that glorifies weapons, the answer to every social ill appears to be more weapons, and using those weapons.

This is the mass mania that explains American culture today. 


Under this bizarre logic, the answer to school shootings is more guns -- everywhere. 

Similarly, the answer to international problems is greater military might. How else to explain the $716 billion that the U.S. intends to spend on its military in 2019?

Combined with a 25% cut to the State Department, American government leaders want more cruise missiles and less phone calls. 

When all we have are hammers, everything begins to look like a nail. 

When all we have are weapons, everything begins to look like a potential target for more gun sales, a military invasion or a cruise missile strike. 

This glorification of weaponry comes at the expense of dialogue. Dialogue is seen as weak and unnecessary.

And so in America today, we have a culture that doesn't know how to talk to each other. Democrats and Republicans are mortal enemies. Online dialogue descends into trolling and verbal threats.

On account of the hatred, otherwise good and decent people stop talking to each other because they want to avoid conflict. No one likes to live in a putrid culture.

So they talk about other things. Inane things, mostly, to avoid having to fight. We reach for the Entertainment section of the news, and want to talk about the Kardashians, because to talk about anything else risks a giant flame war.

Our politics suffer as a result. We permit the powerful to do what they want, because it becomes impossible to marshal the energy to deal with a culture that glorifies trolling and abuse in political discussions. 

We can counter act this. But it will take the strength and the energy of a Hero to do this.

When I talk about walking the path of the Hero, I mean that we have to begin to cultivate spiritual qualities to deal with the crises of our times. We need to develop the type of patience and compassion -- and the strength -- that people describe about saints and buddhas of old. 

The challenges that lie before the world are immense. It will require the efforts of many people who have chosen to walk the path of the Hero. 

The alternative is to let the violent and the insane rule the Earth. 

The alternative is to let the hammers hit every nail it can find.

And if we let this happen, there won't be anything left.