Last night was one of those nights that you shape the memories of your life around. I was prepping to do the radio braodcast at 11 and then checked the live updates on the Chilean rescue and saw that it had been moved up 2 hours and had to just drop everything and go live and be there.
When I was done, I plugged back into the live updates and while listening to the review of the show, watched as the first miner rose to freedom.
And I cried with joy. This whole thing has been haunting, for many people and for many reasons. And messages pinged back and forth from several different countries as we did the online equivalent of jump up and down and hug each other.
Then….I went onto FB, where there was next to mention of what was going on but lots and lots on minute by minute updates about what people were doing or what they like or didn’t like.
Then….I went back to twitter…where I found tweets like “so over the Chilean miners, they are too mainstream now for me.”
A man said, the other day, “my life is about more then what just applies to me,” and I feel the same way.
When we only support that which celebrates our differences we miss the fact that we are creating divisions that will prevent any united effort from ever happening.
Divide and conquer is one of the oldest techniques of control. Better still if you can get people to believe that by separating themselves from the whole they are actually benefiting everyone.
Chesterton, who I will get back to eventually but I just broke the mini-recorder, states that one of the ways the consumer society has gained its control over people and established itself as a moral authority was by emphasizing specialization – in business, academics and lifestyle. The more you can get people to invest in being specialized, or separate, the less they can connect to the “whole picture” and the less effective they are.
There are a million and one little efforts going on these days that are defined by who you come from, who you sleep with, who you pray to and so on. People agitate for rights for themselves – sort of, its easy to get people to believe that “raising awareness” is effective and enough. Click a “Like” or pass on a pre-written status; wear a certain color ribbon and those in the know, will know that you care. We are taught that as long as we can be members of a defined group then we are doing something of worth.
But the problem is not that women are oppressed, or that gay teens are bullied, or that different racisms come in and out of fashion for notice but that in all our emotional response to these instances we never pause to think about what the real issue is – why is any bullying tolerated/taught? Why is it permissable to designate one type of person as less then? Well, part of the answer as to why those things stay within our culture is we never address them in whole, we teach that a person is recognizable only in their differences and not in their common and shared identities. If we recognized people for what we shared with them, it would be unthinkable to abuse them for their slight (and they are) differences. But as long as we keep looking at the frosting we miss the ingredients in the cake and history repeats itself.
Someone posted that hate is natural to humanity and it is not. Hate is learned. What is natural is fear, anger and loss. These are the emotions that hate can develop from if the person is not shown how to deal with their feelings.
The Chilean Miners represented the deep fears of just about everyone on this planet – to be lost, to be trapped, to be unable to be reached because no one knew how, to be forgotten or given up on because it was just too damn difficult to be there.
In recognition of this shared circumstances, many from across the globe transcended their own lives, their own identities, to be there as Chile struggled to reach them and to find a way to rescue them; then again last night as the rescue effort began. To be there all 69 days, worrying and waiting. Staying with it when it was not even considered a worthwhile story.
While “raising awareness” is effective it is not enough. For all the benefits of wearing a purple shirt on October 22 to say you are against hate, it is very limited and really…won’t raise awareness with many except those in the know about the day. Instead, try connecting with someone you would normally not have a conversation with “because you have nothing in common,” even if the only way you can do it is to visit someone’s page and read their comments do so. Look for your similarities.
It is from a recognition of what we share as members of humanity that we may make room to accommodate our differences. Not one solid wall has ever been built by using different blocks and bricks, every solid wall has been built based upon the use of a common mortar or design to hold all the different parts together.
c.2010 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.