If this last week has not been a shit storm, it’s not clear what it has been. Alton Sterling was shot dead because he was apparently a threat, even after he had been tased, had two police officers on top of him, and a gun in his chest. The next day Philando Castile was shot to death in front of his girlfriend and her daughter. He was pulled over for a bad tail light. The real reason appears to be that the officer was able to see Castille’s “wide-set nose” (that oughta narrow it down) from whatever vantage point he had. To top it all off, Dallas police were ambushed by a trained sniper and gunned down in a horrific spectacle.
It’s a blood bath and media frenzy. What to make of it all? Social media is afire with memes and posts and links and friends arguing back and forth over the state of race relations in America. How does one sift through all this mess? We might have better luck funneling the ocean into a bottle of Smart Water. In fact, the ocean can probably teach us more about St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas than your cousin on Facebook.
The ocean symbolizes the unconscious
According to Jungian symbolism, the ocean is the symbol for the unconscious. What arises out of it? Right now America’s collective unconscious is manifesting some crazy shit. We’re seeing a lot of black men get shot and a lot of white people trying to explain it away. We’re staring at the mirror of our consciousness, but we don’t all agree on how to interpret it. As we grow as a nation, sooner or later, we’re going to have to come to grips with the unconscious demons that are still plaguing us in 2016. Why is it that routine stops are resulting in the deaths of young black men? This is rising out of the depths and we’re starting to deal with it. Or trying our best not to.
Fifty percent of the U.S. territory is under the ocean
Yes, that’s right. Half of the U.S. is under water. What lies in the depths of the U.S. subsconsious? A lot of violence and hatred, that’s what. A long history of slavery and racism is coming to the surface. You didn’t think racism existed? You thought it was all over? That’s because America has been hiding it beneath its surface. If you’re a white person, chances are you have never really seen it up close. But with the incidents in St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas, you’re getting a good look at it. Do you recognize it when you see it?
We’ve explored less than 5% of the ocean
You think these shootings in St. Paul and Baton Rouge are the end of it? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And you have to know that that this has been going on for years. This is just the tip of the ice berg. And since fear tends to breed fear, we may see much more. So much is yet to explore. Or, on the other hand, maybe we will discover our desire for solidarity and unity. Maybe the undiscovered country will show us that we can all come together and put this behind us like protesters from both sides of the issue did in Dallas.
Most of the ocean is in total darkness
Whatever your opinion about this or that is, chances are, you know just a smidgen of all that could be known. We’d like to think of ourselves as informed, but the truth is, we’ve read a fraction of the books, articles and information about the topics we’ve discussed. Okay, if you’re a full-time academic or pundit, you’re probably ahead of the curve. But do you really think the average citizen has time between their job and family the other myriad distractions to be truly and adequately informed about each and every issue? And what perspectives can we know, besides the little subjective reality show that filters everything between our two ears? Let’s speak our truth, but let’s be humble about it. There’s probably a lot we don’t know.
There are still 20 million tons of gold in the ocean
We haven’t exhausted our resources yet. If there’s one thing we’ve witnessed, it’s that humanity has the ability to change and has done so in the past. It happens ever so slowly, and sometimes it seems like we’re moving backward. But we’ve made real progress with minorities, women and the LGBTQ community. It does seem like the bar has been set pretty low (yay! no more slavery, no more legalized rape), but we have a lot of reasons to be hopeful. We’ve made more progress over the past few decades than the previous thousands of years. But we must keep digging.