Outliers and community

[These thoughts from 2015 seem particularly appropriate today. Rita’s entries are in Roman as usual, my comments are in itals.]

[Rita:] To begin with an aside, note that your conversations via your blog comments, and a few Facebook comments, and email exchanges, all constitute a de facto experience of the on-going community – a sort of external reinforcement of an on-going group mind – that I mentioned earlier. Community is everything from now on. The lone wolves have been quite valuable to the pack, but now it is necessary and desirable to recognize that they are still members of the pack even if they live as outliers. It is time for the pack to accept them more fully as they are, and time for them to remember that they spring from, owe allegiance to, and will remain part of, the pack, by necessity. [I took “by necessity” to mean, “by the nature of things,” rather than “because of a specific situation.”]

This is merely to say that no one comes into the world alone, nor raises him- or her-self alone, nor procreates alone, nor even – appearances to the contrary – dies alone. You don’t feed or house or clothe yourselves alone, even mentally. One of America’s present delusions is this over-emphasis on the so-called individual, and the corresponding over-emphasis – hypertrophy – of the impersonal organization. Obvious connection, yet apparently unrecognized, for only family and community make life possible, and if one pretends that individuals are self-sufficient, one must thrust into the unconscious mind one’s awareness of all the nourishing matrix of community functions, and they get pushed off into automatisms – government departments, private corporations, bureaucracies of all kinds, rules of all manner of description and ever-greater intrusiveness. Thus those who think in terms of their idealization of Daniel Boone as a lone pioneer necessarily overlook the reality of Daniel Boone as rooted in community all his life.

[Frank:] I knew your politics very well, of course, Rita. This seems to me to be consistent with your dyed-in-the-wool liberalism, and yet wider in scope, putting your values into a context that your ideological opponents could share, if they could hear it.

Well, there’s not much use in widening your understanding if you are not going to apply the increase! My values haven’t changed, that’s right, nor should you expect them to. I am what I was, what I was created to [be able to] choose to become. But I am not functioning in the same more limited sphere of awareness, and so now I can see the other aspects of how such values were formed and expressed.

I get the sense, which I admit never occurred to me before, that our “past life review” – our expansion of awareness to include the other viewpoints of all our interactions – includes our political and ideological struggles, as well. In fact, I sense quite a big subject there, and I’m tempted to slam the door on it fast, lest it crowd out my more immediate concern over the process, its nature and limitations.

But I can’t help asking, if it is true that upon dropping the body one sees the other sides of all our interactions during that lifetime – including our political thought (which, as I say, had never occurred to me) – why does the process not damp out fanaticism? Why doesn’t “the other side” – the non-3D – act as a continuing flywheel, damping out 3D tendencies to fly to extremes, rather than stoking the fires of misunderstanding, intolerance, and one-sided determination to express only one’s own values?

In the first place, it is a big question, and so we would do better to raise it and defer it, which will give people time for it to marinate. In the second, it is not true that fanaticism originates in or is encouraged from the non-3D. What is produced by the non-3D are people with various qualities. How they express them is up to them, and then we help steer their course if they are agreeable to it. Now, that is enough for now. As I say, the delay in saying more will be profitable for those who wish to examine the idea on their own, and express the results of their examination to themselves and to each other. The initial period of mulling it over will allow greater depths of interconnecting ideas to surface within them and without them.

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