2021

On redeeming the exit of extremists

Away from talking about fighting and toward recognizing that we all are struggling; we must turn.

A perceived deficiency in being, a feeling of insignificance; these components initiate the gradual movement of an individual away from constructive community performance and toward radical attitudes and actions that work to disrupt community functioning. When rejecting the benefits of community that serve to protect, nourish, educate, and sustain all those included within its reach, a member makes the choice to exist outside this protective structure of society.

These individuals are called extremists. They isolate themselves in an alien domain. They forsake communal instincts for the sake of pursuing some individual aspiration. They fail to reconcile their need to be unique with their need to belong.

Living beyond the reach of benefits provided by community is an unsustainable existence. This separation from protection and nourishment cannot endure for very long. These basic human needs will search for satisfaction. They will find a semblance of fulfillment in other less capable associations. These synthetic constructions will eventually prove inadequate to accommodate all the diverse dimensions of human being.

What causes a person to leave the protection of community and embrace a radical, unnatural, perverted pattern of existence? Why do some individuals choose to abandon the care and nourishment they formerly received for a life intent on disabling that same heritage? Becoming an extremist: is it an action or a reaction? Is it a rebellion against the natural composition of human being or is it caused by a failure of community, an insensitivity and betrayal that pushes a person to the edge of belonging by repressing individuality?

We do well to consider the consequence of an action or regulation or enforcement or inequitable application that injures the conscience of an individual. When a person is forced to perform or be impacted by an action that contradicts their internal sense of what is right and what is good, then they are wounded maybe in their body but always in their spirit. They are diminished in their self determination. They are disabled in their capacity to adapt. They loose their trust in institutional structure. They feel they have been seduced and deceived. This anguish prompts them to search for a place where they can be authentic. This pursuit moves them away from community inclusion and closer to the edge of belonging. If the injury is intense enough, they become extremist–they renounce their identification with the unjust community order that before hurt them.

Can an extremist be reclaimed? How is an extremist redeemed, re-embraced by the community, healed of a prior injury?

One method is to shun, to banish the individual so they begin to see the benefits of belonging inside the community. Withholding the services of community structure enables a person to realize the importance of these essentials, their necessity in the individual quest to experience satisfaction and fulfillment. This action is remedial, an education in the hope that the individual will recognize the inadequacy of relying on synthetic constructions to sustain them.

The other and better method is to apologize for unjust treatment. This method of redeeming an extremist is more difficult to perform because it requires the community not only to admit an error but also to make restitution for the injury inflicted and the loss it caused. This method depends upon the community to evaluate, identify, and correct abuses that occur to those who reside there. This method demands that everyone be treated the same, that laws and conduct be equitably enforced. This method refuses to give preference to anyone, regardless of their perceived importance or position of power.

As long as community action results in injury to an individual there will always be individuals who gravitate to the edge of belonging. And if the pain is severe enough they eventually will become extremist.

On the impulse to take by force

Rape, robbery, violent physical assaults; death threats, derogatory insinuations, violent psychological assaults, all intended to take away place and dignity from another. This impulse to take by force is not a new phenomenon. The existence of laws and norms in societies are the result of ways cultures have responded to this tendency of human nature to exert pressure on others in order to accommodate the desire of selfishness, to accomplish an action that will bring satisfaction and fulfillment to a singular individual fantasy.

The horrific acts displayed at our national capitol brought front and center the evidence of this capability of human being. They remind us in a more intense manner of what we frequently observe on a smaller scale. As the investigation unfolds into the extent of activities that prelude and contribute to this destructive demonstration we share in a compassionate empathic way the pain and suffering of those who were innocently caught up in its consequences: capitol police, congressional membership and staff, journalists. Their distress haunts us, that such an occurrence should break forth upon them with such profound indications of hatred and vengeance.

Passionate beliefs and intentions validated by political leaders and media personalities created conditions in our national capitol for disregard of laws set forth in order to prevent the eruption of the tendency of human nature to exert pressure on others in order to accommodate the desire of selfishness, to accomplish an action that will bring satisfaction and fulfillment to a singular individual fantasy—the aspiration of Donald Trump to continue as president of the United States.

Until laws are changed, until the constitution is amended in a way that would allow this kind of intrusive disruption the persons associated with and involved in this disregard for the established operation of our democratic society must be identified and given the opportunity and the encouragement to atone for their actions in a way that constructively serves our republic in accordance with how the population has empowered our judicial system to proceed.

On the relation of insecurity and inclusion

As the tenor of the past four years begins to transcribe many of us search for a way to facilitate inclusion. The heaviness of discontent presses upon us. Discord reverberates into every proceeding. Danger has moved nearer to the surface of public interface. These disconcerting complications so disturb us that we wonder with reasoned apprehension if there is any way to achieve peaceful coexistence within the population.

Peeling away distractions created by political difference, social practice, cultural identity, religious distinction, racial demography, and other diversions resulting from variations of primordial human nature will help. And we must admit there are some things that cannot be altered by any construct.

Behavioral scientists and psychologists prompt us to recognize fundamental conditions that must be provided in order to sustain human existence. Food, shelter, companionship, security seem to be the essential components. A deficiency in any one of these elements disrupts community functions.

Our most promising approach in the quest to facilitate inclusion is to observe our current situation. Where do deficiencies in food, shelter, companionship, and security exist among the population? And of even more importance, What causes these deficiencies to exist?

Evolution of cultures instructs us that there exists in human nature a dominating impulse for self preservation. When threatened with death the individual naturally uses every means conceivable to defend the self, to protect the self, to continue living. Yet there are a few behavioral exceptions occurring in nature. One of the most compelling is the act of the pelican mother to peck and wound herself in order to feed the dripping blood to her offspring. This altruistic gesture defies the theory of natural selection, the survival of the fittest, and has long baffled scientists in attempts to explain it. It seems to be an instinctual sacrifice. There are incidences in human interactions when a similar gesture of self sacrifice has occurred. In these examples it is the same altruistic instinct that has produced the amazing result.

The basic sense that prompts altruistic human behavior can easily be observed in young children. A concern for mutual welfare exists in their interactions. This concern crosses every boundary of cultural distinction and racial demography. Has altruistic behavior evolved over the course of history or is it a primordial natural trait, a component of consciousness? Regardless of the answer the fact of its presence is our reason for hope and assurance that given the proper disciplined desire peaceful coexistence can be achieved.

So what alters this concern for mutual welfare as children grow to adulthood? What causes adults to forsake the natural urge to help others? This change in the attitude of an individual seems to occur because children are unaware of dangers that adults perceive. The same child who earlier assisted another will become violent when a cherished toy is taken away. The reality of loss changes relationship.

As a national population we have the capacity to provide sufficient food, adequate shelter, and enriching companionship for everyone. Our challenge is how to provide security for everyone. The reality of loss exacerbates the quest to provide adequate security for everyone. The reality of loss produces feelings of insecurity. Lack of security causes individuals to passionately hold on to things: resources, power, control, position, advantage. Lack of security produces deficiencies in food, shelter, and companionship. Lack of security for everyone will defeat any effort to facilitate inclusion.

The certainty of change makes loss a real condition. Because of the reality of loss we fear the next moment, we fear the night, we fear tomorrow. We will never achieve peaceful coexistence–inclusion–until we learn to manage our fear of time.