Care and Feeding of your Tribe

I’ve seen people arguing about Black Lives Matter and whether that name implies “White Lives Don’t.”   Clearly, some people saying that have just that fear.  If after employing analogies such as drowning children and burning houses they insist that they still don’t understand…believe them.

There are plenty of people who DO understand.   They are your tribe, the people who speak your language and share your values.  Who grasp that if we all took care of our families and immediate neighbors, while loving all and doing harm for none, that the world would be a wonderful place. That those who expand their horizons to include others in far communities or foreign lands are extraordinary, heroic.  There is a reason that the first principle is:

Love yourself.

As long as you are in a state of emergency, you will develop tunnel vision, and not even see the answers available in your environment. You MUST learn to swim before you jump in the water with a drowning swimmer.  Any mother who leaves her child’s sickbed for a “Save the Whales” march would be considered odd indeed, and NOT doing so doesn’t mean you don’t think whales deserve to live.  There will be those who understand this, and those who do not.

In my opinion, those who don’t grasp that are asleep, or afraid that your words cannot be trusted unless they fit a specific syntax they believe they themselves would use.  The problem is that in my experience they are wrong.  No sane person spends equal time caring about everyone and everything.  You would be paralyzed if you tried.    

And the problem is that inducing that paralysis can be tactical.  If someone can get you to consider infinite options before acting, you will never act.  If you are supposed to get agreement with everyone before marching, you will never march–all they have to do to stop you is add one new questioner every time you’re ready to step out of the door, and then you have to stop and try to get agreement again.   You’ll grow old and never take a step.

So…if you try two or three analogies and they do not respond, lovingly let them go.   YOU know you value their lives and rights.  If they insist you don’t, then there are two additional ugly possibilities:  either THEY don’t respect the lives of others and think you are the same…or they DO respect the lives of others, but fear you are below them, morally.

IMO, they can be asleep, dreaming a different reality. Nice people, good people, but they cannot hear you.  Or…they can be snakes, afraid that you are a snake as well.

Or…they can be smiling monsters.  Their real intent is not to clarify communication or inspire you to be greater, but to invalidate your movement, paralyze your actions, to “gaslight” you by convincing you that the very urge to dismantle X is in fact X.    That is a really brilliant “crazymaking”  tactic when used against people who are compulsive consensus-builders.

Be aware.  Build your tribe, and while taking actions grant full humanity to others, with love and respect for their rights–but not their right to slow you down.

And other groups?  There is this thing called “intersectionality”, the gathering of associated tribes to share resources and understandings and mutual support. This is a VERY good thing.  But it is not a “bad” thing to focus on your own sick child, even if there is an epidemic. It is typically human.   Those who go out and move and shake to find cures and provide medical services for all are extraordinary.  To act as if that is the norm, while “merely” tending to your own child is substandard, is not reasonable.  Caring for your own child is very different from being Typhoid Mary or a bioterrorist.  It is simply doing what most human beings, for most of history, have done, and IMO human beings are pretty wonderful even when “merely” caring for their own children.

Your tribe will be the people who understand this. Let the others go.

Namaste,

Steve

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