This we must figure out together

The dramatic increase in wars and atrocities and killings of women and children of the last century is less explainable as an increase in the evil abroad among people. More likely it is due to the compression of the masses of people on the globe. Population compression has given us two effects which have conspired to this horrific end: first an increase in science and technology, itself enabled by increased communication and desire for peer approval in the sciences and the work of science being accomplished in ever larger groups, for more efficient ways to kill; second a reduction in the amount of personal, family and tribal space resulting in increased bumping, friction, irritation and growing animosity toward anyone who is different.

If true, what does this tell us about the century we are just starting? If we stay on the same path, there will be increased population compression, less space, more bumping, more irritation, more animosity. More efficient ways to kill people—to rid us of the other.

Can we do other than stay the course?

We are all we have. Our people and others. Can we somehow figure out a way to convert the Other into others—persons, like us? Can we figure out how to live together?

I do not say we need to learn to live together. Learning suggests that we already know how to do this. Instead, there is knowledge—and wisdom—we need to cobble together, together. Together we need to work out our next steps.

Our forbears living in caves and in roving bands learned how to live with a small clan—but they also learned to see any being outside their clan as a threat. Even as late as Daniel Boone’s times, he was able to say that his neighbor was too near if he could see the smoke from his chimney.

We do not know. It is not naturally inbred. We must figure out for the decades and centuries ahead, how to live together. We must work out how to be close to people, taking down every boundary we can. We must find ways to value and celebrate and seek out diversity and new ideas, for it is here with all of us that our future lies.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on April 29th, 2008 | No Comments »

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