My heart is breaking as I watch what is happening all over the United States of America, and subsequently, the world. I love this country, I love what it is MEANT to stand for, I love the values and principles it was FOUNDED on, the ones that have kept it strong for 244 years. Seeing the division, the hate, the anger and the strife rips my guts out. What hurts the most, however, is the blind ignorance to history and the emotional manipulation of the masses as a result.
Let us be honest about what is happening and what the REAL virus plaguing our nation is. It’s collectivism. The total annihilation of the individual replaced with a “tribe” a “group” a “culture” a “race” a “gender”… any identity that requires you mold your beliefs to a predetermined ideology you’re NOT allowed to question. Or else…
Or else the collective will descend upon you with a full out smear campaign assaulting your character and labeling you as something abhorrent that no one ever wants to be labeled… so you back down or you get “cancelled”. I haven’t seen behavior so childish and vile since I was in the 3rd grade. Grown human beings coming together like a bunch of spoiled children to bully another individual into oblivion. This is not okay, for any reason… and it is not the answer to unite us again as a nation.
It’s Not Purely Political
We obviously see this most overtly in the political realm, but it’s not purely political. Even in the political realm, both sides engage in the sensationalism and the absolute juvenile behavior. I honestly don’t give a damn if you don’t like Donald Trump. If you cannot see the media manipulation happening to use him as a scapegoat, you’re blinder than a bat. Most people can’t pass a quiz of what president had what policy and that is the biggest tell tale verifying this phenomenon of scapegoating and manipulation. It’s embarrassing.
Having said that, let’s leave politics behind. There are plenty of other examples within corporate America, schools, organizations, you name it. The important question we really need to ask ourselves is, “What exactly is the root of the problem?”. It’s group think, mob mentality, tribalism… COLLECTIVISM.
If you don’t believe me just ask someone how they identify themselves. Is it as an individual human Being with certain character or quality traits & aspirations or do they recite the list of groups they associate themselves with? Don’t lie… I know they define themselves by their career, gender, race, Alma Mater, political party, social club, etc.
A wise man once told me, “Tell me how much money you make, where you live and what your job is and I’ll tell you how you vote with shocking accuracy.” He was right. For a short time I was part of a union with one of the employers I worked for, they had a news letter that told me how to vote. I have family members who are part of a different union, I’ve seen the flyers from the union telling them how to vote in national AND local elections.
As a society, we no longer think for ourselves. We no longer gather information, weigh it critically against what we know or dig into it to determine the truth, then judge it solely on the merits we discover. This is why we can’t have rational conversations with one another where we understand the other person’s point of view, even if we don’t agree. It’s why we are so polarized and we decide we have to argue or convince the other to get “in line” with our position. It’s lunacy! It’s so narrow minded and ignorant, how can we not take a step back and treat each other like human Beings?
The Cure to Collectivism
Let me be absolutely clear about one thing… a new collective group is NOT the cure to collectivism. You’ve got your “woke” crowd who are… less than woke. They are sleepwalking through life with their heads willfully in the sand, signalling virtue because their life possess none on it’s own. I always thought this was hilarious… that the “nonconformists” conform to an incredibly identical nonconformity.
The cure is to encourage individualism again and RESPECT it. Now, this does not mean that to be an individual you have to stand out in an extreme and odd way in order to define yourself. More than anything else it is about encouraging people to THINK for themselves. Not teach them what to think, but rather HOW to think through and determine where they stand on any idea or subject. Challenge them to explain WHY they think that way, that’s the real test. If you can’t rationally explain why you think something, you’re a drone. Period.
We need to stop comparing ourselves and measuring our value, then trying to devalue the other in order to elevate ourselves… because of our envy or lack. We need to become curious, to want to learn from those who have what we desire and to base our judgments on MERIT. It doesn’t matter what collective group you’re a part of, if you’re a good person you’re a good person… and if you’re a POS, you’re a POS. Both come in all shapes, sizes, colors, political affiliations, professions, genders, and nationalities.
Above all, we need to return to valuing our local community as much as possible.
Where is the Nucleus?
The nucleus is defined as, “the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth.” So what IS the central and most important part of our lives? Our society? Our Nation? It is… IDENTITY. Which is why collectivism is so dangerous, it overhauls identity and turns us into avatars of our collective group, not free thinking individuals.
We have to reestablish how we as individuals find our identities. It starts with the family… encouraging our children, siblings, parents, relatives to THINK and DISCOVER on their own. To share without requiring a consensus. To talk through ideas together, be challenged and able to evaluate new information and being encouraged to find who we want to define ourselves as. Sometimes, it will require correction… obviously if a loved one decides they want to resurrect the Nazi party they need an intervention. They need someone to ask them “why?” and help them understand why that’s not right. Help them discover and heal any wounds that may have created such an egregious idea.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before… “Hurting people HURT (other) people.” We need to get better at interrupting the cycle and challenging growth and maturity through thought. This can be especially challenging with individuals who have high levels of emotion, but it’s not impossible. There are many empathetic people who know how to achieve this with both rational and emotional thinkers. It’s not all about becoming Mr. Spock… that would be dull and awful. It’s about finding that beautiful balance and power the alliance of Kirk and Spock produces.
Enough is Enough
It’s time we decide, together, that enough is enough. Regardless of what “side” you’re on, we need to stand together against irrational behavior, cancel culture, violence and real hate. We need to be honest about the hypocrisy in virtue signalling and turn inward. Real change starts with the individual. As Ghandi said, “BE the change you want to see in the world.” If you see disparaging situations, make sure you have first made a correction in yourself so that you can be a voice of wisdom and reason to speak to the issue.
What our world needs right now is a lot more love, understanding and compassion… smile at strangers on the street or in the store. Say hello, ask people how their day was, speak life and truth to people and absolutely stand up for the merit in strong principled values. Challenge yourself to think and challenge others to do the same. Don’t argue with someone who isn’t rational enough to have an intelligent conversation… just smile and move on to the next person who is capable and willing.
Let’s do better by first being an example in our own world, and gradually influence others to join us by setting out on their own individual journey.
Remember, it costs you absolutely nothing to be kind and caring. Love thy neighbor… it doesn’t mean you have to like them or appease them… it just means treat them like a human Being, like you’d want to be treated. Including how you would like to be treated by someone who disagrees with you.
Be the change…