A Letter from the Founder & CEO of Singula Institute, Marc S. Lener, M.D.
Dear Singula Community,
This period of time has been an incredible test of our virtues, of our fortitude, of our connectedness, of our separateness, and of our human rights. We stand behind individuals who have long been disenfranchised, stigmatized, and disempowered based on things that were not under their control. At Singula, we fight against this type of institutional injustice and painful stigma.
In a tweet by Nature Human Behavior: [#GeorgeFloyd’s killing is not “an isolated, tragic incident perpetrated by a few bad individuals”. A syllabus of essential readings compiled by JSTOR puts #GeorgeFloyd’s death in its rightful context – that of institutionalized racism.]
We encourage you all to educate and relate. It reminds us that that the work needed to be done is achieved individually and collectively.
As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, the essence of “the work” is to help people deeply understand themselves, understand the ways that the environment impacts them, and in turn, how they impact their environment- with and without illness. This process of deep reflection allows us to see where we are, see where we need to go, and build a way of getting there. Within a developmental context, these problems are solved differently at each stage of a person’s life. As it is with a person’s journey from life until death, the journey of our country has followed similar stages of maturation, since its beginning, from colonization to independence, and onwards. I have conveyed these stages in a poem that I wrote, following Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of lifelong development, entitled, “A Reflection of Self through Society’s Mirror,” posted below.
Lastly, I would like to share a message of hope from a statement by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis published by The Atlantic. Mattis, a four-star U.S. Marine Corps General, served as President Donald Trump’s 26th Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2018.
General Mattis writes: “We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country… Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.“
Real and enduring change at the individual and collective levels do not come easy, but it is possible. We wish you all well, with unity and hope, during this historic moment of change.
“Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive.”
– Erik Erikson
To take a chance, to trust oneself, to start anew, to create a mission and form an image of an ideal future, to venture out to attain it.
Starting over is hard to do.
To cut the cord, to earn and gain independence and autonomy from the past, to stand and unite for a higher power and an ideal future, to form a clear vision with pride.
Building a vision is hard to do.
To sculpt the voice, to take the initiative, to learn from mistakes and failures, to learn from successes, to keep to the vision.
Building a path is hard to do.
To remain steadfast to the vision and industriousin the goals, to revise the mission based on failures and successes, to innovate, to grow.
Building a foundation for growth is hard to do.
To spread the word, to demonstrate the accomplishments, to revise the mission and the vision, to fuss with the details, to form a sturdy and flexible platform from which the vision is realized.
Building identity is hard to do.
To bring people together from afar, to share vulnerability, to allow for intimacy, to build something bigger through collaboration, to fight about rights and wrongs.
Building a team is hard to do.
To be generative- creating a better future, to care for others, to impart pearls of wisdom, to leave the world better than arrived.
Building legacy is hard to do.
To reflect on life’s work, to judge the rights and wrongs of the vision, to being whole with integrity and relish with fulfillment, or to fester in regret from an unrealized vision.
Letting things go is hard to do.
To take a chance, to trust oneself, to start anew, to create a mission and form an image of an ideal future, to venture within to attain it.
Starting over together is hard to do.