Most of you know the story. Many, many eons ago, God had created this fabulously lush and verdant Garden of Eden. Nothing could be better. It is ironic that the supposed site is where Iraq or some other portion of the Middle East is today. Was this prophetic or was His GPS broken?
The first humanoid was a guy named Adam. He was fat dumb and happy until this chick named Eve along. She was a looker and the A Man was head over heels in love. Turns out there were snakes in Paradise and one in particular proved to be their downfall. They ate from the Tree of Life and that is how strife and struggle started. Or so the story goes.
The original couple probably fought and accused each other of causing this mess. Things like pride, jealousy, lust and overindulgence became the norm of the day. Right from the get go they wanted more than they had. They wanted to strive and accomplish more. Contentment was a long forgotten goal. As the planet reproduced, everyone took different sides.
Fast forward several millennia and you would have thought that history would teach us something? Not so. It got worse. People, towns, cities and countries all wanted to be better than the other one. Each civilization built cities and trade routes and acquired a specialty of some sort. But one group or another always wanted to be first. It was bred into us.
In a perfect world there would be balance and equality. Everyone brought something to the table. Exchanging gold for spices and silk or fruits and vegetables for lumber it seems on the surface work. But going back to that cute little couple in Paradise there was never enough.
Today we call that entrepreneurship and growth and that may well be true. If there are frontiers to conquer and horizons to sail to, that will keep our minds occupied and creativity will flourish. Progress is a good thing unless we subvert it. We create cures for disease but we also dream up ways to kill people with similar compounds. The Wright Brothers taught us to fly but today we have used that knowledge of flight to build supersonic fighter planes and hypersonic missiles. We used to wage war from afar but now we can annihilate each other with the flip of switch.
My poor little brain has been cogitating on all things cosmic these days. My first question is strife inherent and a necessary part of our existence? I believe events are somewhat spontaneous and just happen. How we interpret them and react is what causes problems.
We all think differently. We like to label ourselves this or that but we really are incredibly different. We don’t think white or black or American or European or Asian. We are alone in our thoughts which is both petrifying and exciting. To say you and I or Biden or the Pope agree on everything is an absurdity. And I think this is where the politics, religion and ethics collide. You are either with us or against us. How much time is wasted trying to figure that out instead of embracing those difference and dare I say benefit from the interaction?
I have my idea of what heaven is but I get cut off many times trying to get there. You have yours. Do you take that collision as a minor bump in the road or a threat to your existence? I think one of the major difficulties today is we have made every little thing a Waterloo. Everything is a crisis and a threat to your manhood or womanhood and as such can not be ignored or glossed over.
We have taken something so basic as communication and parsed it and reviled portions of it, so most people are afraid of saying anything. Spontaneity and creativity are snuffed out. We become placid and compliant. The only winner is the one who yells the loudest or who has the most clout….or the biggest gun.
I have been studying empathy because I want to have it as much as possible.I am not getting all Kumbaya, but I think it is the only way we can break down the walls on both sides. We have to figure out where the other person is coming from. I want to listen. I want to admit I might be wrong. Is that difficult? You bet it is. But what is my alternative?
I can shut out a number of the people in my life because they are either left or right. Another group I will ask if they are moral or immoral? Then I have to separate believers and non believers. For immigration or against it? Racist? Gay, straight? Ah yes, now I have my small select group of friends. We can sit around over drinks and congratulate ourselves on how perfect we are. We can get a visceral pleasure when one side or the other falters. And we think that is cool.
Think about the number of times there are negative thoughts or situations in your daily routine. Of course you are happy overall but screw the other guy. That son of a bitch has no right. I feel your pain. Ha! I hope you rot in hell.
Back to that Garden of Eden thing. No one is perfect. No one is that smart. Life has its good and bad spots. Weeds in that flower bed or thorns in the bushes. And of course a few snakes. Understand them. Greet them. And most of all don’t let them get you down. Damn those first two! Why did they have to screw it up?
Ted The Great
Main Causes of Conflict:
Money. You are criticized for having too much or too little by your friends and family. It is a struggle to make it and keep it.
Approaches. We all have different ways of solving problems. Some are diametrically opposed. Tough to problem solve.
Perceptions. Did you hear what I had to say or did you hear something else? Eye contact and body language can cause a myriad of problems
Goals. What you and I think are important can be greatly divergent. What is the end game. Define that and half your problem is solved.
Pressure generates a LOT of conflict. Performance pressure, financial pressure, emotional pressure. All kinds of pressure exist in our lives.
Power. Everyone wants to have power. Those who do not have any power, want power. Those who have all the power want more of it.
Values. Values lead to generalizations about people. You are a Republican so you have to be against human rights. You didn’t go to an Ivy League school so you can’t be smart
Policies. They cause conflict because it is in their nature. People, with different values, create policies. Policies only change when people change them. If you disagree with a policy, there are limited ways to change the policy.