The Gross National Debt

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Microcosms and Macrocosms

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As an avid reader of Science Fiction, I've perused more "alien invasion" stories than I can count. Two series I am reading - Through the Looking Glass by John Ringo and Worldwar and the follow up series Colonization by Harry Turtledove.

I recommend both, but add the Turtledove series is far superior.

What stands out in both these novels (series) is not that Earth is invaded and attacked, but that despite this invasion, we humans are still quite busy trying to kill each other while being united in the face of a common enemy.

Lemme get this a lot more personal and a lot more local. If you have a brother or sister (or more than one), describe your relationship. If you are typical, you are your sibling fought with each other. A lot. However if an outsider stepped in, you two or more would unite against then foreign aggressor most of the time. Not always.

If you are now an adult and you've moved into the still typical relationship, you may still fight, but you'll still be there for your brothers and sisters if the fecal materials strike the oscillating air disturbance machine.

That is the microcosm.

Take a step back. We're not to the macrocosm yet; we've just taken that step back to gain a slightly wider perspective. Include close friends in your group. You may fight and argue, but you're still going to be there for each other and woe unto those who are outsiders with ill thoughts on their mind.
Shall we dance?

Let's take another step back.

In the city where I live, a street in town is a dividing line. This arbitrary division splits cousins against cousins. Really. People have been beaten badly for crossing this street.

One more step back.

At a local City Council meeting in my county this past week, an economic developer said he continues to be stunned by how the Norfolk-Southern railroad track divides a community. Like as not, your town is the same way, albeit the divider is not necessarily a railroad. Events on either side of this railroad attract people living on that side. Crossing over is incredibly rare.

And yet, outside attacks on our community rally everyone to defense.

I am now reminded of Afghanistan. No invader has ever conquered this country completely. The only thing that unites the warlords and the various tribes in Afghanistan is an outsider invading. Even that is not enough to make all the tribes set aside their difference as inter-group fighting continues.

Perspective matters
So, continue to step back until you can take in the macrocosm view. Admittedly, you might need to be standing on the moon. But see the whole world.

Now, lemme slap this on you.

"So (name withheld) had his first experience with racism this afternoon. He said a little girl was sitting with him and her sister said 'don't sit with the white kids.' How very very sad..." This was posted by my longtime friend and the little fella's mom. It happened at school.

This young fella is just starting school. He's now launched on a path that we all hope will lead him to success and happiness.

He encounters racism, a learned and a taught behavior. Make no mistake - little children recognize there are differences in children. They know some are boys, some are girls, some have better tans, etc etc etc. But, they don't care. They have to be taught that these genetic differences are important enough to make one person better than another.

I read comments like the above and my world crashes around me. Profanity-laden invective-driven interrogatives want to burst forth. In other words, I want to scream WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

And then, I read the gentle wisdom of the one our group calls MacT. Hope is restored. My faith may be tarnished, dented and have a few holes in it. But it's still there.
Aliens may indeed invade earth some day. If that happens, I do think it will unify humanity like never before, but even that is not going to be enough to make us set aside the arbitrary divisions we insist on creating.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read the world war books yet, but I did read Guns of the South that Robert let me borrow and it was awesome. I think another good example of people uniting against a common enemy are the Scottish Clans. Highland clans fought Highland clans and Highland clans fought lowland clans, but when they were invaded by an outside force a lot of mortal enemies joined together to fight them. I want to believe that if evil aliens did invade, we would get together and kick butt, but I don't know. Maybe if enough stuff got blown up.
    MacT©

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