It’s the Fourth of July!

It’s the Fourth of July!

If I am not careful, I could be a hermit. While I appreciate interactions with people, it isn’t high on my list of things to do. The main thing that prevents my hermithood is my kids. Each of them blends with the world in unique ways. And when I say kids, I mean grandkids too. To me, both generations are all my kids. I don’t have a lot of interaction with the grands, and I don’t think it is in any way their fault. Circumstances beyond their control played a role in keeping us apart. The friction between my first wife and I played a huge role.
Thankfully, the second wife and I have enough maturity; that is not the case with my children from the second marriage. I spend most of the week with them. There is plenty of interaction with them.

As in every household, there are arguments, jokes, pranks, and hugs and kisses.

But back to being a hermit. I enjoy social media to a point. Much like my contemporaries, things go too far for me while I’m cruising through it. I recall a Professor of Social Science I had in college saying, “It is the sworn duty of each younger generation to bother the living shit out of their predecessors.” At the time, he referred to the Viet Nam war and the protests prevalent with and because of that.

He was right.

How can younger people hope to live in their world if they don’t try new things? We started our lives by watching the first televisions enter the house, and microwaves didn’t come around until high school or college. Okay, so sniffing Tide Pods wasn’t younger generation their brightest moment. It can’t be that hard to dig up something equally not thought through that we did. By the pronoun, we, I mean during my generation. I seem to remember someone trying to sniff or shoot up peanut butter. I still haven’t figured that stellar achievement out.

What gives me pause is that humanity is a social animal, then why does it take someone thinking differently to make a difference? Without fail, humans have conformed to their own rules, and we trundle along until someone out of the ordinary — an aberrant thinker, a creative artist, or a scientist will risk a symbolic martyrdom to bring about any advancement.

There has been a vein of thought in many movies and books where the antagonist monologues to the protagonist or some unlucky schmuck who is about to die and proclaims that people are just sheep waiting for someone to point the way. They don’t want to lead but will follow any lead.

Is that true?

Then why do we have wars? There have been untold leaders who spouted peace at all costs. I still have vivid memories of my generation chanting, “No More War!” That really worked out, didn’t it?

Does war boil down to a few leaders who want to be on top and pit nations against all odds to determine and procure the elusive king-of-the-hill slot? Or perhaps it is simply a case of being cocksure that one idiot knows what everyone should think or how to act (and it’s always like them)? Carbon copies. How many of today’s youth even know what a carbon copy is? I haven’t seen carbon paper in years.

I wonder if human social animals have a cancer-like behavior hidden in them, self-destructing after making too much progress. That idea isn’t a new thought. Social scientists ponder that question a lot. And the idea of self-destruction is not relegated to humanity either; if a rat population gets too large for a confined space, they will fight until the population gets low enough to survive better. It smacks of war.

Those dirty rats! I thought that stuff belongs to humans.

Ah! But there is a difference; the rat’s behavior is traceable to the species’ survival. Human behavior along that line, often, is leadership. Now I’ve jumped right into a pile of excrement with that statement. All it takes is a leader looking for one of three motivators to start a war — to make everyone believe the same as the leader (religious), to be the top dog for as far as the eye can see so their wishes and dreams can become a reality for that top dog (dictator), or how about so that the top cat can have whatever they want, whenever they wish (money). Notice I said to start a war. There is another motivation to enter a war, cultural preservation, upon the attack of another army.

These reasons differ from the three reasons management and government jobs get fired or relieved. There are still a big three, but the trio is different: money, sex, and drugs. But again, this minor big three is why people get the pink slip; the major big three is why wars start.

Unfortunately, the minor three lead directly into the major three, showing a systemic fault in our species. To do away with these major problems, we must evolve, at least culturally. If we can correct and eradicate our faults, would we still be human? I don’t know.

I know that the universe is not dependent upon humanity’s ability to make reasonable decisions. It will move along just fine without us and won’t even limp or hick-up. It will simply double down and carry onward in a slightly different direction.

We have so much to learn; if we can change enough, we can thrive. The key for us is to learn how to live in harmony. That does not mean always having pleasing outcomes with no dissonance. It means we must understand and accept that there are rough times that enable us to enjoy good times. It means we should understand that everything will neither take place when and in the way each of us wants, nor should everyone think and believe the same.

That is one of the hallmarks of freedom, being able to think however we want. We can all believe how we want — that means not telling others they must believe and behave our way. We cannot force anyone to take our position. All sides to a disagreement are free to do things their way. As long as we don’t force others to believe in any side of a disagreement, we all can live the way we desire—no attempt to control others. At any time, we must accept others who don’t think our way and respect opposing views, whether the views are liberal or conservative. You don’t have to accept the opposing views, just as the opposing view does not have to accept yours.

What I see on this July the Fourth are a slew of arguers nodding to themselves, congratulating themselves on their being correct, but refusing to acknowledge the other’s right to be correct in their mind. Both sides stubbornly say their opponents must change their minds to the correct view. Both sides believe their own beliefs are the correct way.

Why can’t we be tolerant enough to live with each other? Without browbeating, without rubbing another’s nose in things like training a puppy? Is it that difficult to let others have peace? Don’t you think you could find peace by tolerating others? Hmmm. Can we not see that being intolerant of others keeps us agitated?

Why do you want that?

Let’s celebrate the Fourth — Freedom for all, and let other people be free to think for themselves.

For more information about tolerance, pick up my book I Think, Therefore I Am.

Check out Indies United Publishing House. They are my publisher and there are loads of books to spark any interest.

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1 comment

  1. Paul Hoyt

    Great post, as usual… with several deep questions, like “why can’t we all just get along?” My answer: because too many of us have a genetic predisposition to be frightened and combative and follow the lead of the toughest SOB in the room. Some are born to be loving and peaceful, but not everyone, and in my opinion, not enough of us.

    And oh yes, I love the admonition of your social sciences professor: “It is the sworn duty of each younger generation to bother the shit out of their predecessors.” I know I did my best, and suspect that some of them are turning in their graves. 🙂

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