Them…

Way back when, in the fifties, there was a horror movie entitled, “Them”. A nuclear disaster created giant ants and they kept multiplying in the New Mexico desert to terrorize the populace. I imagine that is probably how the Donald and Co are viewed by a lot of Americans and maybe the world. It got me thinking.

We assign “them” to lot of different types of people ranging from ethnic to regional to religious differences. They become more pronounced in election years as we cast our ballots. Hilary wins the blacks. Donald gets the red necks. Cruz caters to evangelicals and Bernie, socialists in hiding. I am not sure if I am in any of those categories so my choices may be limited. But whoever you are it comes down to us versus them. This is not as much of an aberration as one might think. It may be in our genes.
This goes back a long time ago to Neanderthal man. Then it was us against the rest of the animal world. We got together for common good in so far as security and food gathering. As we started to communicate we went from grunts to simple sentences to eventually complex thought. Sometimes I think we are still stuck at the monosyllabic stage. But I digress.

Them becomes a broad category that we paint with a wide brush. We can categorize with color,accent or dress as in Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims. You probably could include various regions of the US in that dialect thing. Hyperbole seems to be the order of the day and rational thought gives way to rants. If I don’t have to consider the individual or particular circumstances I can get really riled up at whole assemblies of peoples and feel just fine.

But for a moment let’s think about the concept of banding together. A group can be as few as two people that have something in common. We share ideas and maybe beliefs. When we are small we can be more specific and detailed. As the masses enter, the founding concepts get blurry and a few bullet points are all that matter.

People want to be part of a group. We are social beings but you have to wonder why? Is it security or camaraderie? Necessity or convenience? I think it is just that they want to belong, to say they are part of something. It also denotes acceptance. You have made it and are considered one of peers. The rules become tougher as the old guard want to enforce the founding principles. Beyond rituals there is a feeling that if one gives in at all it will weaken the organization.

Two phenomena occur. Unless it is in itself a group of entrepreneurs or free thinkers there is a loss of individuality. Creativity is looked askance at and new ideas suffer or not depending on your point of view. People are reluctant to speak out or stand from the crowd at the risk of alienating people. Instead of being a contributor you are looked upon as a zealot or rabble rouser.

The second part is the emergence of a “loner”. They can become everything from a solitude seeker to a social outcast. Some people just don’t want to mix it up which is fine but others feel an enormous lack of acceptance by their fellow man or woman. This can grow into  psychoses or paranoia. Our jails are littered with those who have fallen prey to their demotion or nonacceptance and decided it to take to out on the world with a firearm or sword in hand. Now we have new group of whackos and weirdos that society paints with the same wide swath. As our populations grow and categorizations multiply, more and more are left out of the mix and murder and mayhem become the only panacea.

Hobbes and Rousseau et alia have delved far deeper into social contracts than this small brain can muster but it really is intriguing to think of the options. Is the individual the product of society or is society the creation of the individual? We first start to converse and those interactions give way to ideas and beliefs. That in turn becomes a culture over time. Common laws are quantified and we live in harmony..sort of.

There is another way to look at this. Are we the organism or are we just appendages to the mass? I personally like the primary mover part. Without recognizing one’s contribution and effect on society we are at the whim of the world. I happen to ascribe to self determination and the ability to change society for better or worse. Maybe it is a distaste for acquiescence and rather the knowledge that whatever terms we are living under, they can be improved.

Given that, remember we are known by the company we keep. If you are comfortable being a hard right or left go for it. If you are only tending that way take heed and speak up. Maybe this is fodder for a third party. Not one that arises from a pout but one that really wants to draw from both sides of the ledger. If you are a member of a club or organization that does not share your values, either change their direction or quit. What have you lost your mind TTG? No, but maybe some of us have lost our way.

After all this deep cogitation I have arrived at the conclusion I was hoping I wouldn’t get to. The ability to find a middle ground as we are currently constructed is a remote hope and distant possibility. Very distant. Our minds are too closed and quite frankly the effort to coalesce is just not time well spent in our increasingly busy world. Peace, fraternity and egalite`are lofty goals that don’t fly. We are too busy to try to turn “them” into “us”. And that is a tragic but the contemporary state of affairs. I’ll deal with ti.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:
What is the social contract theory of government?

Social contract. the voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau, organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members. Source unknown but sure makes sense.

Five defining characteristics of stupidity. First, is sheer ignorance: Ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who’s in charge. Second, is negligence: The disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events. Third, is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: The inclination to believe what we want to believe regardless of the facts. Fourth, is shortsightedness: The support of public policies that are mutually contradictory, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests. Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better name: The susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears. Rick Shenkman,Editor History News Network. Perfecto.
The 10 most innovative countries in the following order: Switzerland, United Kingdom,Sweden, Netherlands, United States, Finland, Singapore, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark (Home of LEGO.)

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