Shades of Gray

How hard is it to live in a black and white world with no shades of gray?  Especially if that includes tribalism and an “us or them” view of the world and other people?

The “nuclear family” and a mobile lifestyle are clearly driving forces.  People rarely live in multigenerational households, stay among the people and places where they grew up, or work for the same company their whole careers.

People start relying on themselves and putting themselves first because there is no safety net of extended family and life-long friends and neighbors.  Competition becomes the norm – if someone else gets ahead, you must be falling behind.  Self-promotion becomes an imperative and networking on social media replaces direct contact with other human beings.  Social and business Interactions are superficial and controlled.

This philosophy of scarcity trumps the social contract and breaks human bonds.  We detach and we dehumanize others.  We more easily pursue our own agenda when we stop identifying with others and their circumstances, i.e. racism, sexism, bigotry and aporophobia (hating the poor as morally inferior).

When powerful individuals and systems approve of this philosophy, whether subtly or blatantly, communities fall apart right along with families.  If, however, communities manage to resist and organize to support one another and others with similar values, civility and the social contract gain traction.  Sometimes it takes a really bad actor to consolidate others and push them into taking action.  President Trump and the generation of sociopaths and propagandists aiding him are just one example.  The world is organizing despite (and maybe to spite) the United States.  While this is bad for us, but that strengthens the world.

Life doesn’t have to be uniform, but we all have a responsibility to improve it for BOTH ourselves and others.  Independence and individualism are fine ideas, but humanity thrives using cooperation and empathy … leave no man, woman or child behind.