April 2, 2023: Inflammation

A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. Leonard Cohen

A scar is a wound healed. That which festers is a wound unhealed. Hoo-nōs

Cleaning the wound is often more painful than the cut itself. Brandon Sanderson,

The human body and the body politic share some common ground. A sense of wellbeing, including supportive environs, are conducive to thriving. A sense of diminishment, including constrictive environs, are conducive to mere surviving. The former reduces inflammation of those bodies. The latter increases inflammation.

Polarizing postures ratch-up inflammation and create distancing from ourselves and others. For instance, to purportedly be pro-life and yet not do much of anything about school killings. Or bullying. Or hunger. Or health care.

Hearing claims that all disparate groups include well-meaning people can be wildly misleading. Yes, it is likely true, but to assume there are equal numbers in the general statement is equivocating, blurring the lines between truth and fiction, because it assumes an equality. A few good people do not make a body politic healthy. On some level we know this. We also know that continued equivocation is itself inflammatory.

Is it true that justice needs to be equally applied? For instance, why would we worry about a person in a position of power who is accused of a crime when so many others get away with crimes? 1) We are not all equal, though we are all human beings. 2) Many are harder to catch than one (think speeding—only some get caught). 3) It is not the same kind of crime to break into a store as one who breaks the law to secure a position of power. Perhaps there would be less inflammation if we operationally defined what we mean.

We all know that in a war, a president doesn’t go into the battle. Others do. In a wide-spread disaster, presidents get priority over others. We all know first responders sometimes have to choose who can and cannot be helped. Even if there are equal injuries, proximity matters: a victim too far away to be reached will not get help before someone who is closer. Equality as a category is flexible. Being human as a category is not. It is inflammatory to presume otherwise.

It seems to me that if one breaks a horse, one has a broken horse. If one conquers another, they get the conquered. However, if the horse knows it is safe, the horse is “domesticated” yet still a horse, rather than a shell of itself. If a people are truly safe (as opposed to the delusion of safety), there are none who are conquered.

It seems relatively easy to figure out that hiring the emotionally and cognitively wounded will result in wounded policies and lead to a nation (or any organization) festering. It is also relatively easy to figure out a population with festering wounds, will hire the festering-wounded who promise to heal. However, such bad hires now have a platform and a power to seek revenge for their wounds. Clearly not a procedure designed to heal, but to bring others to their knees as well, to create a brand of winners and losers.

It seems to me the radical left, sometimes in their fervor to help everyone, don’t mind those who get left behind. It seems to me the radical right, sometimes in their fervor to not get run over by rapid social changes, don’t mind others losing their lives. It seems to me in either case, we’ve got a lot of folks dug into the notion of making things right by whatever means. It seems to me we are doing a lot wrong in sticking to such plans.

It is inflammatory to think of permanent solutions as the only hope and do nothing in the interim. There are all kinds of temporary measures that can be taken when things are not going well. If one is sick, take the medicine. If one child in a family is hurt, they get the attention. These are not permanent measures, they are an attempt to mitigate what is presently afoot.

When we reduce the inflammation within and between us, we can focus more on improving rather than trying to hang-on. We can become better than our upbringing, better than our education, better than our organizations, better than our history. That’s what learning and thriving are about—helping folks to become better (there is no best except in a temporal, transitory sense). After all, the point of democracy is the ability and the means to self-correct and to promote thriving for all.

Stop the steal, for sure—though it wasn’t the vote that was stolen, it was and is the attempt to steal civil behavior from us.

The Ponder Corner: Premortems, Present-mortems, and Postmortems.

Before the Fall:

Pride asks who’s right? Humility asks, what’s right? Henry Cloud

During the Fall:

Reminds me of that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, “So far, so good.” An old story of many variations. This one is from the 1960 movie, The Magnificent Seven.

After the Fall:

How many crimes have been committed for no other reason than that the perpetrator could not bear being in the wrong! Albert Camus

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