Humans are social beings who seem to know little about being alone and little about being together.
They who give the food, do not the master make.
Getting out of one’s own way often means losing one’s way.
Human interaction is a major risk. If it’s an intimate interaction (not just limited to romantic interaction), the guarantee is we will break hearts and we will have our hearts broken. How to deal with such a thing without leading with our lizard-brain, no offense to lizards, is the part of the landscape. So is courage, since sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Humans have all kinds of tricks in their inventory to blame someone or something for taking the risk and not having it work out as expected. We can be bullies and we can be bullied, whether near constant emotional neediness from adults or near constant king-of-the hill behaviors. It’s like a defense mechanism or a talisman to keep one safe. Only it doesn’t.
And of course, every culture has their own notion of a successful human interaction, whether at work, with family, friends, or intimacy, and each person in that culture tends to apply that standard in their own way. Peacock feathers, red-monkey butts, physical displays of power whether beauty or brawn, intelligence (whatever that is), emotional stability (at least mostly), sensual or sensuous (they’re very different), monied, humbled, etc.—are these the racks on which to hang our hats? We’re not so good at subtle beauty, peace, and kindness. Besides, beauty, peace, and kindness come in a myriad of forms. However, like predators activated by motion, we seem to need blunt-force to get our attention. Hence, the bullies can rule—because they can take it by one kind of force or another, and that gets our attention.
And the point is? Democracy is exactly the opposite—there is no royal rule, no sovereign. Democracy is an attempt to shift off the bully-grid, to actually have a contributing voice instead of a commanding one. Perhaps the reason democracy is under attack even by those bullies who supposedly embrace democracy, is because we haven’t yet shifted our minds about the “exciting” need to watch power or have it, or to watch the train wreck and think it doesn’t involve us. In case one hasn’t noticed, we are involved no matter our standing.
As I well know on a personal level, behavioral changes can be difficult. Mostly we do not argue and may not even know what the real underlying issues are. Without that knowledge, we continue to band-aid up. The risk worth taking might be the courage to face loss (losing face?), look for substance, note we’re all weird in some way, quit attempting to solve problems via the blame-train, realize our of idea help may not be what others need, etc.—it’s a big list. Maybe it boils down to stop doing the same things in the same way (lipstick on the pig?) and quit hoping others finally get it so we can all change for the better (better is just one kind of “manifesto”?).
The solution, at least as far as I’ve gotten and as I’ve previously espoused, is to establish a basic floor of thriving for all. Technology is needed and it will help, but it will help best if we realize we need and are able to shift what gets our attention. There may be some delirium tremens involved for some—withdrawal as we lose our former minds. We have a gift in that we’re not just boxed in by a limited, non-adaptable behavior—the Panda Bear Effect. The thrill will not be lost, only shifted. And isn’t that what the point of democracy really is?
We’ve got to let go of our blanky and grow up—and it’s easier with some help and true understanding. Within that heaven, surrender is sweetest and easier to swallow. And yep, I’m one of the ones who can use some help.
The Bumper-Sticker Corner
This is a series of five separate, but related stickers:
Who are we?
What will we do?
How will we live?
How will we live together?
How will we die?
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