Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Solution

A friend of mine and I "argue" about politics all the time. But in the end, we're in agreement about a basic point concerning humanity - it doesn't scale. When you have large aggregate populations that are composed of several different communities of people, each with their own wants, needs and concerns, they start to become at odds with one another. And so what we often wind up talking about is how do we overcome that basic separation between people?

One of the suggestions that I've often heard is "a common enemy." But that's never really worked. The Second World War and the Cold War were both seen as real threats to the United States - but that didn't bring the nation together across the lines of race, ethnicity and nationality that were in place. I suspect that a common enemy powerful enough to overcome human self-centeredness is likely powerful enough to simply put an end to the species, no matter how unified. But it brings up an important point, which is that for there to be a real shared humanity, and a shared human experience, the issues that face people have to be genuinely universal - right now, "universal" is simply a label that we slap on things when we want other people to care about them.

And I don't know how we find that universal issue. There may never be one. It may simply be outside of the human experience to have a genuine feeling of overall unity. And maybe that's where the solution lies - in the understanding that we'll never find what we're searching for.

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