Perhaps we are not truly civil because we do not want to be. Hoo-nōs
I heard another attempt recently—it is a daily thing that’s likely been around from the dawn of sentience—to explain why this being or that being or this group or that group is representative of the mess or the solution. It’s a tired position and largely a contribution to division.
We can create and have created some good civil principles. To the extent we live them may be to preserve our own space. In actuality, we might simply have some form of oppositional defiance disorder. We want to belong, but we also want to do what we want, yet don’t want that “ultimate right” to extend to others, unless it’s transitory. We reserve the right to stamp our feet and jut out our chin and issue righteous edicts— “adults” stuck in the “terrible twos.” The difference between an adult two-year old and an actual two-year old, is the recovery time. In the adult two-year old, the recovery is not so quick or not in evidence at all.
We can moralize and hypothesize, we can point and we can punt, we can punish and we can shame, we can hand out medals and honors and build statutes until wooly mammoths return, but it’s rhetoric, not behavioral change. The bottom line just may be that we’re in a civil war because we like it—and we like saying we don’t. It seems to help us feel like there are winners and there are losers and that seems to be the most important thing—after all, there are apparently only two categories.
The Bumper Sticker Corner
Separate but related, Adult-Toddlers’ Rules of Possession (okay, I changed the title a bit).
If I like it, it’s mine.
If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
If I’m building or doing something, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
If I saw it first, it’s mine.
If you are playing with something and you put it down, it’s mine.
If it’s broken, it’s yours.
In the spirit of this post, all of it applies to others, not to me. So there! Neener-neener!
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