Common Sense

Common SenseThe world around us was once a very inhospitable place. We were threatened by just about everything in our purview. In an attempt to control our environment, we created a rich mysticism to explain our surroundings to us and give us a handle with which we could feel a sense of manipulation and even mastery. We see remnants of that mystical journey in good luck charms, blessing someone when they sneeze and, of course, religion.

In addition, we found it necessary to keep other human tribes away from what we perceived as our territory, our hunting, gathering and fishing grounds. Because of the distance between tribes, each evolved different customs, different language and different religious doctrines and then, as populations grew, as space decreased, we used those differences to distinguish between our tribe and others with whom we came in contact.

We needed to protect ourselves from predators, animal and human. Perhaps because we recognized that the greatest predators on the earth were human beings and we needed to protect our family from them, the “us versus them” feeling came to be. Perhaps it is an attempt to preserve the genetic code that makes us who we are. It may boil down to me versus the world and from there we extrapolate outward to include our family and then our tribe, our country, our race, our sex, our age group or whatever means of cubby-holing we can devise. The end result is the same: intolerance.

“Us versus them” is a meme that permeates humanity. We feel it in the core of our existence. It seems to be natural. It feels normal. It is time to change. “Us versus them” has given us bigotry, racism, sexism, ageism, hatred of different religions, different sects within each religion, different political systems and different blocs within those political systems. We have used it to burn our fellow humans at the stake. We have killed, on a massive scale, natives in lands new to us in the name of our god and our country. Those we don’t kill, we forcibly convert to a religion foreign to them; then, ironically, we treat them as if they were soulless creatures who only happen to bear a physical resemblance to us and nothing more. All because they are they and not us. We forced Jews into showers delivering deadly gas instead of water. We hack and shoot and string up and burn and rape and hate and hate and hate based on a belief that it is us versus them and if we don’t protect us, we will be overrun by them.