Birds of a Feather

A 12-pound hawksbill turtle crawled up to die on a wind torn beach. An autopsy revealed that half of its weight was from man made products. Its stomach and intestines were filled with multi-colored beads, part of a comb, two golf tees, a toy wheel, rope, balloon, part of a plastic bottle, a plastic toothpaste cap, the top of a plastic medical syringe, baggies, and a plastic flower.* Its contents were carb-free, but had no nutritional value. (As referenced by Paul Varo Martinson in World Religions: The Problem of Imaging Christ, Imaging Christ: Politics, Art, Spirituality, ed. Francis A. Eigo, Villanova, PA: Villanova University Press, 1991, 111).

Apart from the environmental and ecological fallout associated with the turtle’s poor food choices, this unfortunate occurrence speaks to the message we have been sharing with you.

It is a message which says: Until we are open to personal and spiritual transformation and to the transformational conversation which goes along with it, we risk having our spirit choked with the plastic half-truths of artificial thinking and conventional theology which can clutter half, or all, of our thinking.

We invite you to ‘get over’ carrying around plastic thoughts and attitudes like the plastic mush in the turtle’s stomach before it sends you crawling up on beaches of convention instead of soaring up mountains of enlightenment.

This ‘Get Over It’ message is based on the book by the same title. It is designed to help you move from plastic to platinum in your thinking – from blind acceptance of conventional thinking to the unlimited openness and joy of transformational thinking.

The phrases we’re encouraging you to ‘get over’ in this article usually come as a pair. They are: “Birds of a feather stick together” and “opposites attract.”

We’re offering you a bird’s eye view of these worn out beliefs which we believe are flying out of formation. These two phrases, we think you’ll agree, have been winging it for some time.

The “birds of a feather stick together” phrase has been around a long time. It has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. It initially appeared in 1545 in William Turner’s version of his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox: “Byrdes of one kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”

No such origin can be found for “opposites attract.” However its origin may be closer than we think. It is actually a social science concept called “common belief factor.”

It springs from the word “heterocentrism.” “Hetero” is the Greek word for “different.”Centre” is Greek for “centered on” or “drawn toward.” To use a similar analogy, a “heliocentric” plant, like a sunflower, is a plant that grows toward or is drawn to the sun.

It reminds us why we are no longer total, absolute vegans. It seemed that whenever we sat in a chair near the window we started leaning toward the light.

So, something which is “heterocentric” involves two or more UNLIKE things that are magnetized towards each other.

Do opposites attract? Do birds of a feather flock together? What does the latest research literature tell us about that? In one of the most widely attempted studies ever undertaken on these questions, researchers at the University of Iowa found

Before we share their findings if you are looking for the perfect soulmate or business partner you may want to read this very carefully. Researchers at the University of Iowa found that people tend to hang around people who are similar in attitudes, interests, philosophy, religion, and values.

However, it is the complementary nature of our make-up that seems to be more important in creating enduring and happy relationships. Those similarities include character traits like: assertiveness, introversion and extroversion, compassion, even-temperedness, sense of humor, and so on. (The findings appear in the February issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 88, No., 2, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Other than that nothing is certain. The concepts of ‘birds of a feather flocking together’ or ‘opposites attracting’ seem to boil down to one thing: the power of choice.

There is no automatic, incontrovertible, mindless magnetism that pulls people together. If that sounds like fowl language we invite you to consider the fact that in order for these two sayings to be absolute sayings they would have to be true in all circumstances.

People who are the same don’t always hang out with each other. Opposites aren’t always attracted to each other. We choose with whom we flock, herd, swim, swarm, or hibernate.

We like to do things with Unitics and other truth seekers. We also like to flock with: dancers, people who love the performing arts, open-minded people, high energy people, philosophers and metaphysicians, possibility-thinkers, healers, and frozen custard lovers, good conversationalists, movie goers, people who love to travel, people who have a good sense of humor, and banana pudding lovers, to name a few.

With whom do you flock! In what ways are important people in your life opposite from you?

Drs. Bil & Cher Holton are Spiritual Leaders at Unity Spiritual Life Center in Durham, NC, where they practice positive, practical, progressive Christianity. Visit their website at Unity Spiritual Life Center and sign up to receive a complimentary 4-week e-course.

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