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Luc's Dementia

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There are times when I scare myself



I have never bought into the whole

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Guest Kitty


Luc, this is one of the best blog posts I've read here, or anywhere else recently. Very thoughtful and lucid. You're specifically addressing the issue of Second Amendment rights and gun control, but, really, you're talking about a lot more than that, which I expect you were probably aware of. :)


I don't know if the question you ended with was just rhetorical, or whether you were looking for some feedback. So here goes ... it seems to be a part of human nature (so far, at least) to want to belong to a tribe, clan, or group. That often ends up with group members seeing themselves as the insiders, the ones with the "right and correct" way of living (the "one true way".) This can be religious, national, political, social, or whatever. In that way of looking at the world, everyone else is "the outsiders", the different, bad and wrong, the enemy who is seeking our demise and who therefore must be fought and conquered. Consider, for example, the religious fundamentalists who look at gays as destroying the "right" way of life. It has to do with projection, and the unwillingness to look at and accept the dark places inside ourselves. It also is coming from a place of heavy duty fear.


When "us against them" is just used in a football game, that's a safe way of exercising that part of our nature. When we try to interact with the rest of world that way, in "real life", that's when it starts to cause problems. Nowadays, because the world is so small and we have such powerfully dangerous weapons, the stakes are pretty high for playing that kind of game.


On an individual level, it's guns and household burglaries. On a global level, it's nuclear weapons and preemptive wars.


How do we stop it? Actually, you kind of suggested part of the answer in your post. To begin with, on an individual basis, for us to stop looking at the world and everything that happens to us from a defensive standpoint. I am an American, and there is much to appreciate and be proud of about this country. But I have been extremely disappointed since 9/11 about the mass "victim consciousness" we have sunk into.


The U.S. right now is the most powerful, wealthiest nation this planet has ever seen, and yet we're sitting around moaning about "Why do they hate us? Woe is me. Mommy, make them stop picking on me." There is no way we can get our act together and address the serious things that need addressing if we're sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, or allowing ourselves to get offended and then attacking back in a knee-jerk manner.


I don't know specifically what critical things someone said to you or under what circumstances. I also know certain things I've experienced while traveling abroad, and know how it is to be painted with a broad brush. And it's true that people may be criticizing Americans, while at the same time being very happy to take our money. The thing is, right now, as people with money and power, we're not acting graciously or with a heck of a lot of class, so we're making ourselves very easy targets for ridicule. I think we're also being seen as a lot of hot air with no substance, which doesn't set us up to deal with others from a position of real power.


So when we start to react in a "nationalistic" way ("don't you dare insult my flag!"), stop and ask ourselves, does that response help anything, or does it make matters worse? And also, what is it that is really pissing me off?


Thing is, if we're really self-confident, and honest with ourselves about our short-comings as well as our good points, we just won't react with a defensive, "victimized" attitude, because we'll know that we're not victims.


Now, I hope you don't think I'm picking on you here, Luc, ;) but your post was so thoughtful and honest, it seemed to me it was worthy of a likewise honest and thoughtful answer.

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