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Except for fish, life at the middle of the pit would be difficult to impossible. It could be done, but the size and difficulty of the challenge would, I fear, make for a grim form of existence.
If you favor the middle-of-the-road, compromise, or pragmatism are you willing to gather around and cheer for that option?
I don’t think I would. No matter one’s beliefs, politics, or group affiliation living midway in the pit isn’t an option. Doesn’t much matter to drown in two feet or 200.
Our species, a sociable bunch (seen in the variety of languages and customs generated by social groups) likes to clump up. There’s a strong human (dangerous word these days) tendency toward cohesion.
Human life is essentially a social life. Not a one of us appeared miraculously in a vacuum. We arrived into a social environment of some sort. Learning the language each of us calls “first” was not a solitary effort. (I doubt most of us consider how deterministic our language patterns are.)
Social if not always sociable, we peoplehuities (was worth a try, we’ll see if it sticks) don’t prefer steady diets of tension and conflict. We’ll go along if possible. Doing so we often clump in like-minded or similar believing, etc. groups.
Except for evil bastards (and I can prove it) like me humans enjoy the company and cooperation of others.
This being so, and lacking a middle ground to live halfway in the pit, we gather around whatever driftwood, planks, or life rings are available. There is no place for us other than above the water. We stay afloat or we die.
There are some who appear to organize (unify) around rocks or sinking vessels, but that’s a separate consideration. My aim is to look at people trying to stay above water.
If we picture ourselves as individuals and as parts of groups trying to make sense of conditions around us and hoping to survive with a degree of moral integrity we might have better flotation chances than offered by some of the lead filled devices being thrown our way.
“Here, grab this,” say some providing ballast on the supposition it will prove uplifting.
Rocks don’t usually float, and those offering them hope others will take them and sink, leaving them free to rule a united surface.
Unity is a fine idea, depending on what we unify around.
One voice, does that mean one language?
One people, does that mean one region, continent or global?
If individual concerns are easily lost in a city they become less than insignificant on a global scale. Someone nearby can aid if you’re drowning whereas from a continent away it won’t be noticed in time to help, if at all.
Maybe it’s me or maybe admiration for straight-talking, blunt-minded Rangers (a reason I returned), but I much prefer the company (and attitudes) of cow, rock and tree people the bright-betters treat with condescension, if that.
A Ranger won’t let you get away with much. The way they do it isn’t like the modern model where bright-betters call you a cow and act as if they’ve reached a higher level by insult.
Dumb Rangers like Dumb Polacks (another tradition that may have taught me a things or few) often do their shit kicking with a grinning question. “What university taught you that?”
“Can you make that sound a little dumber so I can understand it?”
A question aimed over iron sights is solid Iron Range style. They leave the one being questioned to figure out what in hell just happened. Many a bright-better never gets that far and will go off in a fume fueled with volatile disdain for the dumb hick who is saved the time consuming (often pointless) task of reasoning with an ideologue, dreamer, or often as not a knot head.
But wait a second. If a reasonable version of life isn’t available in the pit middle and certainly not to pit bottom why clamor (as I was just doing) with snarky name calling?
There’s no place for us to be than afloat above the pit’s abyss. If that be true then we can aim for general survival?
Not pretending to know what others want to or will do, I can only say I prefer as much survival as possible. Some will not survive; those who short circuit (many ways to do so) won’t stay afloat and will slowly subside.
I’ve seen it and have felt the pain of seeing a life dissipate. Saying “stupid” at the graveside is not helpful and changes nothing. If doing so makes a person feel better I feel, in fact, sorry for them.
As you may well have, I’ve seen trusting individuals offered false flotation, the kind that drags them below. Many things from insufficient follow up to incorrect information can bring lose lives to sinking. What then, find fault and assign blame or try to do better.
I see blamers and fault finders as focusing too much behind, often as the cost of revising plans and thinking for the here and now.
Do we look behind at how bad we hold something to be or ahead at how we might make an improvement.
I do not mean the royal we. The “we” of individual commitment to some constructive action is what I mean. Individual acts can be vengeful or generous, thought out or spontaneous, trusting or leery; keep going, the possibilities are many.
I don’t want to be drowned in the pit of either indifference or maliciousness. I don’t want rocks hurled at those floundering nor see them receive empty promises of a better life preserver next time.
I’d rather “we” stay afloat together.
Late in WWII a family member was rounded up and dumped at Auschwitz so crowded at the time he was able to crawl away in the dark, hide, and eventually make his way home. As a youth Anton had been thrust at death’s open mouth. Chance spared him. A decent man, he wished better for others.