Is The World Broken? (Part 1)

When it comes to creating transformation, whether or not the world is broken is a very important question. The reason why this question is so important is because transformation is created out of the ability to see wholeness and light where others only see darkness, brokenness and concealment.

According to the creation story (in several different religions), God created the world perfect and whole. Well, not quite. Contained within this perfection of the newly created world was the ability to mess things up. Specifically – the ability of people to mess things up. Before the world was created, (when everything was undivided Godliness) the possibility for any concealment of God was nonexistent. There was no idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ because all was pure Godliness.

When the world was created, the potential to conceal Godliness and light (the potential to mess things up) was also created. We as human beings were given the unique ability to make free choices. We were given the ability to choose actions that would reveal the divine light in the world, or choose actions that would conceal it.

This ability that we humans were given to exercise free will took roughly two forms; one type of free will was the ability to choose between actions that were ‘good’ and actions that were ‘not good’. To put it simply, a ‘good’ action was an action that would create peace, harmony, kindness and happiness in the world (an action that would create or reveal wholeness.) The other form of free will was the ability to choose one’s perspective. This means that one can choose to see the outer world (with all of its challenges and joys) as being of a spiritual/divine/intelligent/purposeful/perfect nature – or not. In short, the two types of free will include the choice to create the divine (to take action), and the choice to bear witness to the divine (to choose a perspective.) (Please note: the term ‘divine’ is a shorthand term used to refer to an underlying godly, spiritual, intelligent, purposeful or perfect essence or source in the world.)

From this point of view, the world is neither whole nor broken, at least not without our participation.  Just like in physics, it takes the observer to determine whether light will show up as a wave or a particle. Similarly, it is only with the participation of human beings and their choices that the world shows itself as being either whole or broken – depending on our actions, our choices and our vision (our perspective.)

When looked at this way, the entire creation of the world is a question, posed by the Divine: “I have created a world here; is it, or is it not good?” An analogy would be a parent who creates a beautiful object. The parent gives it to their young child who has been admiring it. Now the parent steps back and watches. Will the beautiful object become a treasured possession that is handled with care, love and gratitude? Or, will it become (through choices that the child makes) a heap of broken and worthless shards on the floor? When the parent steps back and waits, a question hovers in the air. It is a question only the child can answer. The choice of the child will say something in the future about both the object and the child.

As a counselor, I have a saying: “The therapist does not get to be fixed and the client does not get to be broken.” We are either both broken (i.e., ‘human’) or we are both fixed (i.e.,’ perfect’). We are all human beings with the same capacity for wholeness or brokenness, revelation or concealment.

So now, let us return to the original query – is or is not the world broken? Someone who creates transformation is posing a definite answer to that question. The world is whole. The world is essentially divine. The world is good. People are (in essence) good, if not now, then at some point in their journey. If not in this lifetime, then at some point in some future incarnation. If not in whole, then in part. Goodness can be revealed in the world. Goodness can be created in the world. The divine can be recognized in the world. We have free choice. Other people have free choice. Those who are further on the path can positively influence those who are finding their way. Human beings have the capacity to transform, and to be transformed.

Why do we know this? Because we say so. And in saying, (and in seeing, and in acting) we make it true.


Miriam E. Mendelson, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Transformative Development, Counseling, Consulting and Mediation in NYC and is available for speaking engagements, individual and family counseling and business consultation. Click here for a complete list of all Miriam Mendelson’s articles. Column feedback and questions are welcome:
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