Prejudice, religious and racial intolerance, terrorism, murder, war and greed are said to have existed almost from the moment Homo sapiens first walked upright. Territorial imperatives and tribalism came to exist and I’m sure disputes sometimes arose between neighboring groups. Yet land was plentiful and early hominids could find more distant areas to forage and hunt. Over time, as populations grew and agriculture both provided steady food and limited our range, we managed to grow and interact in ways our purely animal instincts would preclude. We cooperated with one another and found pair bonds outside of the dominant male hierarchical structure. Tribes grew into communities, into hamlets, villages, towns and cities. We pushed ever outward, until we created nations based on language, culture, religion or some other commonalities.
Survival of the fitness may work in the case of individual and species viability, but the survival of the most cooperative is essential to the continuation of community and civilization. With all of the negativity and sanity-challenging crap we fill our lives and our planet with, it may be the only thing holding us together. We still have groups and tribes. They are scattered throughout the country and the world. They range from benign and helpful to the extreme and violent. Loosely, we have liberal and conservatives and their subsets, hawks and doves, gun freedom, gun control, right to choose, right to life, anarchists and totalitarians. We have tribes driven by race, religion, politics, economics and culture. Unfortunately, each doesn’t think they have the answer; they believe, know, they have the only answer. What are we supposed to do?
On my better days, I’m positive; full of hope, and, at times, preachy about our need, responsibility and opportunity. On my worst days, I simply despair. Like exercise and daily life, I try to do what I need to do. I attempt to feel, act, speak and write positively. I do my best to believe we can change, to believe we can change for the better. I am not always successful, but I do my best.
Thinking about how we have gotten where we are and our possible futures, I know we need to change. We need to decide to change. It is time to cooperate on a global level, to be patient, generous and kind. Our patience, must not be waiting for change to take place, though I’m sure that will be necessary. We must be patient with ourselves and others. When we do not live up to our best selves, when we do not live up to our intentions, we must forgive ourselves and try to do better going forward. We must put away our road rage, hatred, prejudice, religious and racial intolerance, terrorism, war, greed and fear. We must choose to give up our weapons of war, our ICBMs, ships, planes, tanks, bombs, land mines, hang grenades and automatic weapons. We are all on the same journey, all on our same small speck of glorious mud in the deeps of space. Whether you know it or not, the people you fear, shun, hate and kill are people just like you. Be patient. Smile and say hello Maybe you won’t like them. Maybe they won’t like you. You will never know unless you make the effort to get to know them.