95 The peaceable dignity of understanding 24 Nov 2020
Whining dog baseball
A puppy down the street was whining miserably. I told my friend it was sending us baseball signals. “Those are the sounds you make when playing Left Out.” Can I communicate from Right Center Field?
Can addressing a stranger in public be the Left Out signal instead of a pickup line? Does a pickup line come from a generous, or an ulterior, motive? On the subway a stranger who speaks to me is usually trying to share a religious thought. Human communication makes the person feel better. It usually has the same effect on me.
Mumbling strangers are perhaps communicating discontent. They may be overflowing with sorrow or self-pity. They may be reaching out for commiseration. They could be expressing frustration against a cruel world. Alas, they could also be penetrating my defenses for ulterior motive, arousing sympathy to take advantage of me.
My first thought associated with the word hardwired is the phrase “hardwired to be social beings.” The term is also used to refer to innate fear of the unknown, opposite to the hunger for companionship. Interaction with strangers is not necessarily a “fight/flight” distinction. The question during an opening communication can simply be how much to become involved. In the absence of negative signals, most of us welcome warmth and civility.
A good illustration is that we like a friendly checkout clerk at the store. I remember the department store that had no cash registers on the main floor. The salesclerk put customer money with the invoice into a metal cannister and dispatched it to a mezzanine-level office that handled all the cash. The transmission was accomplished by firmly tugging a rope that propelled the small vehicle up its wire track. The minute or two that passed waiting for the change to come back separated the talkers from the deadpans. Engaged clerks exchanged friendship with the customers during the wait.
My world appears to have remarkable strangers. Whether I am jogging along the sidewalk or mingling in a crowded store, my strong impulse is to nod with a big smile because interaction with another person is powerfully pleasant. My hardwired response is always anticipation of dignified shared respect. The fact that this comes so naturally must rest on the niceness of the people who are around me. I hope that my mien puts them at ease to be friendly, as detailed in articles 3 and 12 about radiating happy body language and friendly anticipation.
Does the above material reflect the mood of society during the hotly contested election the country recently experienced? Is our social virtue still intact? Are we hardwired for shared happiness? Social order measures our ability to be with each other in a better world.
This blog is not the place for the word “fight.” It should appear only in dispassionate scientific classification as it does above. It describes a condition far below human dignity. Yet during the campaigns it was heavily used as invocation to action. Candidates were addressing people hard-wired for social cooperation. It is sad that those who should exude encouragement descended to using one of the most negative challenges in the human vocabulary: “fight for.”
In our hearts, we know we cannot fight for peace. For this article, I decided against the title “NOTHING is worth fighting for.” It is the pessimistic viewpoint. Fighting is against, not for. The mindset of fighting is completely contrary to the mindset of improving, as explained in article 78.
Sharing happiness without contrariness
By looking carefully, we find out what we desire in common. Democracy is the “in common.” I might want to channel funds through government, and you might want to channel them privately. That addresses method, not result. I submit that we agree almost perfectly on goals, and we lack only the ability to communicate the longings for which we are hardwired. Mental imbalance aside, nobody wants people to be sick and starving.
Wasting energy opposing others is counterproductive. To the extent we combine forces, we enhance each other’s progress. Meeting Humans’ Needs (FISH, article 27) is a universal goal. Differences in method come out in the research phase. They need to be harmonized before the action phase. We all want to be fed and housed. We do not get there faster by disparaging the diverse efforts of others.
I consult headline ranking software fairly often. Today’s title ranked very poorly while “how to win a fight for right” ranked extremely high. I rejected that higher ranked title because it misdirects. Fighting is wrong, not right. It loses; it does not win. The popularity of the unsavory title demonstrates how pervasive the fighting myth has become. Poverty and unfairness are conditions we address together. The idea of doing that by fighting is misguided and oxymoronic.
What really goes on
Here we ask people not to fight, and to be constructive instead. Let us invoke the common goals of meeting our common needs. From there, the conversation sticks faithfully to developing details for us to accomplish. May I propose a panacea? It is embodied in one word with many meanings.
· We clarify a goal consistent with our many possibilities.
· We correlate our reasonable expectations.
· We learn solution methods while respecting diversity.
· We are realistic about achievement.
· We sincerely recognize each other’s reasoning, choices, and abilities.
Each of these five steps is a meaning of the word “understanding.” Do you see it as peaceable dignity? A fighting attitude has touched every aspect of modern life. We have much work ahead to turn that around. We will experience great joy as we learn understanding. The instinct for collaboration will completely replace the instinct for the jugular.
A campaign speaker must never fortify the audience against the onslaught from the other side. We replace that confrontational mindset. In a political rally, let us always assume that part of the audience already understands, and part needs to be shown the details one more time. The speaker politely teaches the connections between goals and methods, urging victory as the result of collaboration. That mindset makes the loftiest goals realistic.
This article calls us to action that will improve our lives and surroundings, our physical and mental health. Think of the spiritual improvement when our reflexes dampen everything negative by accentuating the positive. In our promised land no politician will thoughtlessly pander to self-centered silo worlds with the phrase “fight for your principles.” Instead, we will multiply our strength with the admonition “live up to our principles as we carry out change together.” There will be diverse suggestions and approaches. Choosing among them will never injure another person’s peaceable dignity. Our understanding will realize ever higher potentials of the new world.
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
We humans respond to each other. You have great influence over how people respond to you. One word in article 95 opens world peace to you if you apply it right. The phrase “fight for” is obsolete because there is a better way to get what you want. Enjoy the article!