Thursday, 10 October 2013
A shared society begins with each of us reviewing our own attitudes and that means YOU.
I wrote something quite a while back about people in the BBC who had a twisted idea that Northern Ireland can be sort of example to Colombia with our peace ‘achievement’. I highlighted in that essay that we have yet to actually achieve anything and so we are hardly an example to anyone. Most of what I am saying here I have said before but I will keep saying it. The truth is readily available but you must change your perspective to see it. It is and has been there the whole time the thing that stops you from recognising it is your own sheltered and intransigent mind and your social stubbornness!
The more I look the more I can see the problem here and I can see it very clearly. People don’t understand how things are working collectively because they’re all looking at things solely from their own points of view and they’re then extrapolating from that model. This is a completely unrealistic version of our society, things need to be looked at more collectively, I cannot stress that enough. If you are either Republican or Loyalist and you look at our troubles here from either of those perspectives you end up seeing your own unbalanced version of events which always has the other side as the aggressors and your own side as being somehow oppressed. THIS IS TRIBALISM and your minds will be twisted into believing things that are simply not true. Similarly if you are a law abiding citizen you will look at both the Republican and Loyalist communities and use their anger and hatred as an example to make them the ones who are at fault all your doing is failing to recognise how the conflict has aeffected those communities and how human nature will do that to people given the right (or wrong!) set of circumstances.
I must mention something here though and that is that there have been injustices in this country. There has been a lot of damage done BY BOTH SIDES TO BOTH SIDES and a whole lot of innocents who got caught up in that. I am not saying there has not been disparity but constantly looking at the past and bringing up what happened during the conflict is not helpful and it will do none of us any good. I wrote that if one side can march and use the trappings of militarism during commemorations of their dead then the other side should be able to as well. I didn’t say that because I necessarily agree with it, I merely said it because that is evidently what people are doing and I think they should be allowed to get their collective grief out of their systems. People need to revisit the past to find closure and the more traumatic and hate filled the past the more time and space those people need to do that but they cannot do it if everyone else is pointing and mocking and calling them scum. We must all accept the past otherwise we’ll just end up repeating it. Tolerance is a two way street you cannot ask others to be tolerant while you’re being intolerant.
I had a Republican who I have known since childhood like my page a few weeks back but he quickly unliked it when I wrote two articles about Northern Ireland. One article in particular probably done the damage, it was about how WE as a Society demonise Loyalists. This is symptomatic of the problem here, if something doesn’t fit our own version of events then we simply don’t consider it and will either simply laugh it off as nonsense or act aggressively to try and make it seem the wrong kind of incredible. So each side only listens to people who they’re connected with through Culture and everyone is just waiting for them un’s to do something stupid so we can point at them and mock them and laugh at how stupid they are. None of this does anything for the collective good, it all just allows the merry go round of shame and hatred continue in the name of having a laugh. Our collective childishness and inability to take our History and indeed our present seriously is damaging our ability to move on and have a more inclusive society.
Most of us who are not directly involved in the conflict don’t see ourselves as having anything to do with it but we all live here. Tribalism does not only aeffect those who are involved in the conflict though. Tribalism has changed and still aeffects those of us who are not Warlike. Think of Tribalism as being like a shared set of social circumstances. Those among us who work hard and socialise together are a tribe of sorts as well. We work, shop, eat out, go to gigs and concerts, we watch Football and Rugby, use social networks, go to watch movies etc. This is still Tribal behaviour. When large groups of people support various social undertakings it is Tribalism because they do it with a shared sense of themselves, a connection that brings them all together. The modern age means that we are all involved in many tribes simultaneously and it can get confusing but it is important to remember that the same human rules apply no matter how detached you believe yourself to be.
When people look at Society what do they see? Well The Foreigners are coming over here and taking all our jobs. The Loyalists are rioting and ruing our economy. The Orange Order are inciting hatred. The Republicans are dangerous dissidents who are out to wreck anything which is even remotely British. The Alcoholics and Addicts are just scumbags who are not pulling their weight. Then we have The Rich, Christians, Gays, The Poor. Can you think of anyone else? Who else has their mucky hands in the downfall of civilisation? The Goths maybe or them Hipsters, they’re up to no good that lot, pretending to be intelligent! Who do they think they are? ;)
What about you and your abject apathy? Could you not be playing a part? What about all of us?
It’s interesting how Tribalism works. People always use groups of others either that they don’t know or that they have no social involvement with as scapegoats for all our wrongs. This needs to start being looked at more even headedly and with less negativity to get a balanced view. When everyone spends their time singling out all of the above groups of others what you end up with is a free for all of hatred. Everyone ends up being angry and they all just throw their anger around without any constructive thought as to who they’re aiming that anger at. This anger then builds up and builds up until it gets so intense that it has to come out somewhere and it usually ends up being directed at the Police because they’re the ones who must be at the front line of civil disorder. People who are not involved with the conflict also see civil disorder as being somehow out of sync, they don’t look at it concurrently. They look at those rioting and say “Everything’s alright what are they complaining about?” but they are of course looking at their own lives when they say it’s alright and the lives of those around them and they’re using that as a model for the whole of society, again this is unrealistic. Because they are neither involved with nor care about the community who’s venting their anger they simply disregard them as scumbags who are just born bad! People who are angry are hurt and they don’t know any better than to pass to that hurt on, it’s human nature but the rest of us who are doing alright simply dismiss it as bad people doing what they always do. This inability to understand anger means that anger never gets addressed and so angry people will always be there and they will always attack society because society doesn’t try to understand them.
While you’re all sitting at home watching Coronation Street sighing at how wonderful your lives are you’re not doing anything for your society. People who work hard think that they are somehow contributing to the social order but work is merely giving you the means to live your life how you see fit. I am not criticising people who work I am merely saying it like it is. A lot of young people who work spend most of their time when they’re not working socialising and drinking and that is all well and good and great craic altogether, I know I partied very hard! But I am seeing things different now and I can see that this social model does not work. What we have here is a very fragmented social order where everyone basically just does what they want to do and then they hurry off into their respective corners to work hard and complain hard about where it’s all going wrong. We need to take a more active role in our communities for there to be change.
The article I am talking about on Colombia surprised me at the time. I was slightly shocked that right thinking people within the establishment here could be so insensitive to our on going troubles that they would tout us as peace givers to the rest of the world. I can see what the problems are and where they lie. I have looked extensively at both History and Sociology and when you take these two subjects and combine them with current affairs you end up with a working model of ANY country at ANY time, it’s common sense once you know the rules.
From the point of view of human nature we need to be more understanding of people and how they work. Anger is a deep interpretation of pain linked to depression which comes from fear. If any of you have ever felt fear you should remember that we all suffer from it and when whole communities suffer from fear the results are usually an attack on society. Fear and anger cause people to think irrationally and can cause them to speak and act in a negative way. This is interesting when you think for example about those who hate Foreigners, they do so due to perceived wrongs and they simply end up being just as wrong as those they are attacking. So they attack the Foreigners and the Foreigners attack them and everyone forgets that it is Tribalism which is causing it all in the first place. This is how fear and anger work because they are completely negative so no good will ever come from trying to use those emotions in a positive way. Similarly with Northern Ireland while the two sides are attacking one another everyone else can see clearly that they are both being as bad as each other but each side of course is busy blaming the other side so they justify their wrongs as being result of what ‘Them’un’s’ did! But an old cliché which is very true states ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right!”
If you go back to earlier when I wrote a list particular groups and look at those groups individually and do some common sense thinking you will be able to come up with reasons for why the more extreme thinkers within each group do as they do and it usually has something to do with fear. Imagine if you were a Foreigner coming to a strange country to find work and the people within that country already hated you without even knowing you. How would that make you feel? Some of the rhetoric that Racists use to demonise Foreigners is that they only mix with their own kind and that they don’t learn the language. Well if the natives in the country you lived in already hated you for no reason why would want to go mixing with them and using their language?
Imagine if you were a Christian who believed in a God of love and you looked at the world and all you seen was people who were in pain and were hurting each other you would want to tell them about that God wouldn’t you and then of course you would be called a bible basher. Not all Christians are bible bashers and not all Christians hate Gays. I know a lot of very tolerant Christians who are simply good people who believe in love and acceptance. You cannot go around saying that groups of people who you have never met and have no understanding of are this, that or the other thing because all you’re doing is spreading lies and negativity.
Not all of the people in those groups behave the same way but when we think about and look at any of those given groups we have a kind of social model in our minds for how each of them works and things that we perceive them as doing but most of these perceptions are WRONG! You cannot judge hundreds or thousands of people based upon often outdated perceptions which completely ignore peoples humanity. Think about it, it’s common sense!
Each group of people that I have highlighted will keep themselves to others like them because that’s what people do in order to be comfortable and to feel accepted. Fear of the unknown and fear of ridicule stops people from mixing outside their own kind but what this does in the long term is create a society where everyone becomes entrenched in their respective groups. We all do this to some degree we have the comfort of our family and friend circles and we tend to not go too much outside of that because we already have all the support and love that we need. This is human nature of course but when you start dealing in numbers in the hundreds of thousands and millions you get this group dynamic occurring and clear social lines get drawn as to what certain groups believe about how others act. It is like we’re exaggerating and summarising in order that we can understand something which is difficult to fathom but it is dangerous to see some people as being somehow better or worse than others.
Being able to understand our species in higher numbers rather than just from singular perspectives is essential but most people never do this. People tend to either look at things either from a completely personal or a very general point of view but what we really need to do is use both these models together to get a wider understanding of Humanity. We have this aversion to knowledge, for most of us Sociology is some boring subject that we hated at school. Indeed much of what we do at school gets left there when we move into adulthood but study is essential for all of us all the time because how the world works is not necessarily how your mind tells you it works.
People are of course busy and that’s understandable. I am not slating anyone here, I admire people who can raise children and work hard but aside from all the good you’re doing on a personal level you really need to find time to think about your species and the bigger picture. Another thing you should know is that you don’t actually deserve any credit for taking care of your children, that’s your duty. Too much of us expect praise for what we’re doing right but we really don’t deserve it. Life is not about heaping praise upon one another it’s just about doing what needs to be done. People who most of us end up ridiculing don’t deserve all the flack they’re getting either, it needs to be more balanced.
We cannot keep running a society that is based on making particular people look bad while at the same time making others look good, this creates an unbalanced collective where we always wind up drawing unfair lines in the sand. A lot of us are selfish by default, out of complete necessity, but what if you turned the television off for a couple for hours every now and then and actually thought about how human nature works rather than just blindly accepting your surface thoughts on the matter. We all know people who are intolerant, why can we not speak to these people and accept that they have fears and insecurities and maybe we can all learn about ourselves and each other collectively? If you have children and you’re constantly being negative and shouting at the television about the state of the world and who’s at fault you will be responsible when those children grow up to be angry and negative.
I have said much of this before and if I am still here in ten years I’ll be saying it all again. We’re all responsible for the way of the world. Lets fucking try a bit harder folks because we will be leaving the next generation with same mess to sort out without giving them the means to make sense of it if we continue the way we’re going.
Be good to yourselves and each other.