..to everyone who is visiting, viewing and liking my new blog here on WordPress! It is always a bit of a thrill to see places light up on the map and know that my words and ideas are traveling the globe. I have been enjoying visiting your blogs, too: Kindred spirits are everywhere, whether of the close sibling or distant cousin variety.
Since a flight across Europe ~17 years ago, as an American sitting beside a Libyan man and enjoying a cordial conversation with him, it has been clear to me that while our politicians and ‘leaders’ are duking it out in their various ideological arenas, we, the so-called ‘ordinary’ people, are not so contentious. We are mothers and fathers, we are daughters and sons. We have siblings we squabble with, but we mostly are simply trying to live our lives, and interact in peaceful, wholesome ways with other people, and we want our lives to be meaningful, even if only to ourselves. We are connected by the commonality of loving our families, and understanding that other people, different people, also love their families.
Sure, there are those that fill the news reports with their meanness, their bigotry, their noise, their fear dressed up as anger and resistance and violence… but most of us are just engaged in doing what we need to do for our families to thrive. For this, we also need our communities to thrive. And the more there are of us, the more we need civilization to thrive.
We, the ‘ordinary’ people, are more civilized-minded than tribal, by which I mean to say, we have our families, our clans, our tribes, but also acknowledge and even celebrate the rest that make up our whole community. We thrive together, we know, only through tolerance of difference, at the least. We don’t think, “It’s our tribe vs their tribe,” except at sports events. We squabble, but we make peace with our neighbors, because that is what is required of civilized people.
Most of us will help another person in distress, as most of us will, seeing a tortoise on its back, flip it over and smile to watch it trundle off into the world. Civilization, after all, can be measured by the way we regard the suffering of others.
There are still those who believe in their core, deep below the level of conscious awareness and critical thinking, that to join the civil community is to lose all the values and defining qualities of their own particular tribe, to be obliterated, to vanish from the world. To them, compromise is defeat. These people will never stop fighting for what they perceive as their survival as long as they are invested in the notion that they can win. It is only when warring factions come to the realization that they can’t win, that they come to negotiate in good faith, and will compromise. When they do, they will discover, very likely to their amazement, that compromise is the ultimately the only way to win: Only through civilization can all tribes find a safe place to thrive.