Have you been around
Have you done your share of comin’ down
On different things that people do?
Have you been aware?
You got brothers and sister who care
About what’s gonna happen to you
In a year from now
Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together
—— Buton Cummings (1970)
Talk about irrational, impractical, unrealistic fuzzy bunny stuff eh?
But I think quoting this particular song is apropos for the way I’m seeing the times we’re living in now. Cummings captures exactly (perhaps unintentionally) the annoying, cheesy naiveté of the flower children, while simultaneously intimating a need for an ardent spirit of connection.
The resulting relational dissonance is similar to that which I just wrote about two days ago and I like it!
I’m reminded of the Spencer Wells TED Talk about how humanity was reduced to less than two thousand individuals somewhere around 70,000 years ago. It demonstrates how “survival of the fittest” is really about our ability to work together. That species survive because they adapt and humans survived near extinction around that time, by developing language and working together. We made better tools with which we expanded into different environments where we diversified like never before. That diversity has been a great asset for our survival. An essential element that we can never abandon.
But no matter how divergent, how individualistic we become, we must never loose our sense of commonality. The WE that started US down this path.
Again with the yes/and/either/or/individual/universal/duality/dichotomy thang!
I was talking with a coworker after the recent hurricane scare (we really dodged one there eh?) and while he was obviously glad the storm had not been as bad as was predicted, I could tell that he also harbored an excitement for the possibility that it might have been otherwise. This guy is a real survivalist type. The kind of man who might give lip-service to ideas of coming together. He might pretend to see the benefit of taking “the other” to lunch… but his actions belie a belief that “every man for himself” is truly what will protect him and his family.
Him and his family.
“Oh so you’re one of those guys secretly praying for the zombie apocalypse eh?”
“It an’t no secret dude, I got me and mine. All the guns and ammo, rations, tools and fuel. I’m SET! Bring on them zombies… I’ll mow em down like nobody’s business.”
This guy is also one of US!
He thinks he “has his shit together” and so he need not concern himself with anything or anyone else. He knows it’s not “sustainable” but he doesn’t care. He’s counting on simply being among the last men standing so he can help to start the whole thing over again.
I beg to differ.
I am not alone.
WE need to get OUR shit together. When we went from that state of mere survival 70,000 years ago and expanded with our language and our tools onto all those randomly selected paths, we took all our togetherness shit with us. We were married to it. For better or worse.
My “survivalist” coworker has his shit, his poop… and I have mine.
So now, if we want to keep being a WE while each of us find new ways to be ME… we are going to need to work this out. Yes, we need to get ourselves together but we also need to agree on where to put the poop.
Get the poop in a pile.