September 1, 2022: Things of 4 (or 5)

Army, Marriage, the Church, and Banking: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Fermín Romero de Torres, a character in The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafrón

Conquest, War, Famine, Death. One wording of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse in the Christian Bible.

Predators, pathogens, parasites, food supply. Charles Elton, The Serengeti Rules.

Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling (Withdrawal), Contempt. The Four Riders of the Relationship Apocalypse. John and Julie Gottman.

Biology, Environment, Psychological and Social Relationships. Four considerations of the Quadrinary (like binary, but with four elements) System. Hoo-nōs

The fifth rider has been called Us, though it’s not strictly referring to population size, more like fear as the mental-emotional alpha, especially neurotic fear.

The following example is NOT about a person or persons, but about how we tend to “conclude” without considering at least some other contributing variables.

I was recently reading an article calling out an individual for their “draconian” mistakes. The problem for me was the attempt to make equivalences when there were none. The individual being called out was not the only person in charge of providing input, though the accusation was this particular person was in that position. An accusation about children being screwed up by not attending school during those times is not true for all of those children, though it was an inclusive accusation. Certainly, the individual being accused was not in charge of children’s education. Besides, the education system was and still is, lacking in disaster preparedness with regard to keeping educational opportunities afloat in times of disaster. What we know now is not the same as what we knew then, though the accusation was presented as all the variables were known. An accusation was made regarding letting the disaster play out would have been better. But the disaster was being driven by variable drivers, not static ones. Besides, death and illness, not just death has major personal and economic impact. In other words, the “facts” didn’t align individually or collectively. The point is that an equation means all things being equal. And it isn’t my bias to note that 2+2 ≠ 5.

There is more than one influencer in our lives, more than one consideration. I’ve suggested four or five as we can keep up with that many if we try, especially if we do so together. Most of the above list of four are negative (the exception is the Quadrinary System) as that seems to be associated with the word and meaning of apocalypse. But if an apocalypse is a collapse of a previous “driver,” then it could be a good thing—and I’m not meaning widespread die-off, but widespread rearrangement of our cognitive-emotional-behavioral edifices (shedding of tears, not blood!).

It seems bad gets first shot at mental and emotional traction, good seems to be a distant second. And that’s actually a very good survival arrangement: good is not threatening; bad is. And so here we are, tangled up in what seems to be the best outcome: protection is more potent than growth. I suspect that is why the above accusations get attention, including from me.

In any case, and acknowledging there are a lot more “things of four,” the point is what we can do to stop the train we’re on. And this depressing bit is not meant to mean fear, inaction, or concrete boots are the entirety of us. There is much about us to celebrate and acknowledge, it’s just when one rides the rails, we’d better know why we’re onboard.

But considering another four facets of sentient beings, compare, contrast, categorize, and control, might we add a fifth? Consideration.

We’ve attempted to do so, with a modicum of success, since at least the Magna Carta in 1215. But codifying intention is not the same as executing it (okay, executing may have a negative connotation). And it’s clear that if a rock is headed towards our head, thinking/consideration is an impediment.

However, when we are more-or-less constantly dealing with only one facet of four or five (too many things are overwhelming, but four or five are not), we are setting ourselves up for bad instead of relieving ourselves of it.

Whether we like it or not, we need to consider the tides of at least the four or five influences we can keep up with. A static approach to any of the elements we can apprehend is to pretend—to be deluded—into actions that ignore the influencers in favor of the one that grabs us the most. And what grabs us, holds us—is holding us.

I’m not pretending it’s easy. I certainly don’t find it so—I’m without a gene for patience. But without the help of others, who do not have to be clones of me or my thoughts and feelings, I’m in far worse shape.

Maybe when consideration is allowed to move about in the configuration of fours or fives, we might have a true we, instead of packing the court of ourselves with similar-to-me, a feel-good thing, but a major rater-error when trying to apprehend the obvious and dynamic effect of the influencers in our lives. After all, granting consideration does not have to mean capitulation; coming to an agreement does not have to mean there are winners or losers.

Before that, we might have to let good get more traction—and I don’t simply mean ignoring bad or that getting rid of bad is good.

Speaking of bad…
The Bad Poet’s Corner:

The Nail in the Coffin Requires a Coffin.

Belief abounds,
Some with the grounds
Of former ways
Now clogging gears
For what could be years

At times a thief,
A grief.
Or relief,
A swaying,
But only if peace was playing?

Where home in all the ways?
A path sans wrath,
Collapse the lapse?
Release the grip
Upon the whip;
Let go to renew
The flow?

Tis not dying,
Though it may seem so.
Even death knows this
As life
And love
Insisting and persisting.

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