It seems like, with all our social ills, we are 90% focused on the “thing” and 10% focused on the complex human behavior behind the thing. I get it. The human condition is messy. It’s treatable but not curable. There will never be a perfect solution, nor should there be. There are only best efforts and hope. So we focus on the thing.
We talk little of why young women have unwanted pregnancies, but blast abortion bullhorns. We talk very little about the human misery that leads to drugs, but wage war on the drugs themselves. And Guns. We should absolutely be talking about guns, but it should be 10% of the discussion. We will never move forward as long as we are too afraid to address the incurable human condition, and try and treat our ailing society.
When the human body is given nutrients that are against its nature, it gets sick. Too much sugar, too much fat, too much alcohol and the body rejects it. Our society is the same way. Human contact and human interaction are our fruits and vegetables. Collaboration and shared endeavors are our meat and potatoes. We are sick because we are being fed a steady diet of high octane isolation that is tearing us apart.
We just went through an entire political campaign that was predicated on isolating the human being within our society. The very idea that “we” might have built something together was mocked and ridiculed.
Recognizing those who have helped you on your path is good for the human soul, and it makes the whole community stronger. We have not only lost that, but we have made needing help sub-human. Is it no wonder that fewer and fewer folks are reaching out for help when we are taught by an entire political movement that reaching out for help is weakness?
This radical independence is the antithesis of what we need. It is paradoxically making us weak and tearing us apart. It is not strength. It is weakness and fear. We need to make it okay again to ask for help. Not just because others need help, but because it brings us together. It makes us stronger. It knits us together.
Ironically, these “real” Americans that call for such radical independence neglect the real growth of this country. We we founded on radical interdependence. I will say that again. This country was founded on radical interdependence.*
The first westerners to come to this country banded together on ships. As a colony. Not as some swashbuckling explorer. They were families banded together. The westward expansion was not accomplished by lone mountain men skinning beaver pelts. The west was won on wagon trains, with men, women, and children banding together in community. Our independence was gained when men and women banded together to tell King George to go to hell. WWII was won when everyone sacrificed together with war bonds, rationing, and fighting to tell Hitler to go to hell.
Anything great we have ever done has been in community. It is essential to human health and balance. There is an epic assault on this as exemplified by the conservative and Tea Party movement. It’s not just wrong. It goes against human evolution and our own history.
There is a lot of talk lately about the decline and lack of treatment of mental health in this country. This is critical to finding a solution to our violent tendencies. I would also ask that you ponder something. What if the sudden epidemic of psychotically mentally ill is synonymous with loneliness. Loneliness on a small scale, human level, of course, but more so loneliness as a society. Isolation on a grand scale. Isolation and loneliness that is sickening our American body.
I truly believe the way forward is to address what is making us sick more than the end tools of our destruction. We are a radically interdependent people. Unless you believe Daniel Boone killed himself a bear when he was only three, the rugged individual myth has to go. I believe it is what is tearing us apart.
*I apologize in advance for all of the oppressed groups that my narrative glosses over. Sadly, they probably had a more healthy societal balance than we do, and we destroyed them.