eThoughts : Keeping One’s Head Down and One’s Attention Up

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Sometimes it may seem like all I write about is a form of lament. Actually, my natural pattern is this grin—it’s all really pretty funny. It’s like the mother lode of comedy “out there” or “in here” what with humans running around trying to survive and thrive and really monkeying it up along the way—no offense to monkeys. But good stuff we do do (no pun intended) and it just adds to the grin—at the same time it delivers this hint of what is not only possible, but probable in our lives.

Okay—enough of that!

Here’s a surprise: Some days I’ve just about had it with interpersonal interactions. I wonder when we’ll learn that judgments, while necessary, do not have to be denigrations.

Yes, yes—serial killers and pedophiles are dangerous folks and we would be unbelievably remiss to not only recognize who they are, but to do something to put a stop to those behaviors. However, those folks are still humans, whether we are comfortable with that or not. In fact, one could make an argument that such folks may have, in part, developed such behaviors because of denigrations by others in the first place. No, no, I’m not blaming society and holding serial killers and pedophiles harmless. However, I do suspect there is some kind of interaction between how we treat others, how that becomes interpreted, and subsequent behaviors.

The point is not about the minority of folks who really go sideways, it’s about the rest of us who may be inadvertently and unintentionally (sometimes anyway) making our own lives and the lives of others a bit miserable.

Look, when the going gets tough, “bedside” manner becomes important. We’re all somewhat tired—the world is a much smaller place nowadays and bumping into all the human doings, not to mention nature’s doings, can be exhausting. Sometimes we need some “escape” and getting others out of our face is one way to escape. Personally, I think ongoing escape just makes things worse in the long run. Worse we don’t need. So maybe we need to train our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (our fright/flight/fight and calm-down biology respectively) to behave more appropriately—sort of like disease can help train our immune system. It works you know. Everything is not a saber-tooth tiger trying to snuff the life out of us for which we are endlessly trying to calm down about.

Okay, many of us don’t know about the learning capacity of our nervous system—we can and do effect changes in our biology. It takes some heightened attention and some deep calm for such training, not just the garb of authority. But consider the collective “nervous system”—another trainable entity, albeit much more difficult. Think about herding cats. Even the individuals most adept at training their own nervous systems can and do get into trouble around the collective nervous system.

Tis true that context can change the way we are. Tis also true that the way we are can change the context. We’ve tried for all of human existence to change ourselves as well as the context in which we live, both environmentally and socially. Nonetheless, it looks like our nervous systems, individually and collectively are still tied-up in knots.

Somewhere in a land between “off with their head” and “it’s all okay,” is us waiting to happen. That’s us, not just one of us. We’ve had the “ones” and it’s been good, but it doesn’t take much looking around to notice the “us” is not so “us” despite the model “ones.” I’m no burning-bush, but sometimes if the “devices” of our survival aren’t working, we may need to toss them out altogether and start over again. When and if we do that, we’d better keep our heads down and our attentions up. But this I do know: We can both be individually and collectively better and we can do it without killing off, literally or metaphorically, any more of us. Namby-pamby land? Hardly. Such a people in such a world can be filled with warriors, humor, empathy, and beauty—even though we all die.

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