Cooperation

We were talking about cooperation the other morning, and compromise.  Compromise is like basic chemistry- it can work brilliantly, or it can blow up in your face.

I was thinking about compromise as a helix-like progression.  The proper compromise, made from a place of integrity and openness, can create the environment for progress.  On the other hand, as the Partner pointed out, there are things that should never be compromised.  It is these latter things that lead to the undesirable, burnt results.

When you just go through a day now, there are plenty of opportunities to see all this in action.   From Vladimir Putin to driving on the freeway, it can seem like one big test of fortitude- how long can you go without exploding?  Things get complicated unnecessarily, and quickly.  It does seem, however, as though the operating instructions for things have been completely changed- or maybe it is that they have actually stayed the same.

I was reading an article about what is referred to as “rape culture” this morning, and the point was made that many in today’s world don’t seem to really understand what sex is.  Since many don’t seem to understand what food is, I guess it isn’t all that surprising.  We’re becoming totally removed from all the things that are truly real about life as a human being.  There isn’t, once again, a cause and effect relationship perceived- as in, what you do implies a choice and there are consequences. Wear a see through blouse, girls, and it sends a message whether you think it should or not.   I think this goes further than actual physical rape although that is definitely front and center.  It goes to, directly, things like racism and bullying as well, since the meaning of the implied message is, and has been for a few thousand years, defined by the dominant culture.  As a woman, I may think I can wear or say whatever I damn well please, but the historical realities of women’s lives really ought to inform my practice- as, indeed, they have done.  There have been improvements, to be sure, but the basic concepts have not really shifted.  This speaks to  the fact that we are in a racist society as well.  We really, honest to God, ought to be waaaaaay WAAAAAAAAY past thinking that skin color means anything beyond being an immediate physical attribute or characteristic.   Just as we should not define anyone by what sex they are.   Yet here we have a society in which racism and sexism are entrenched parts of the operating system, and people have the silliness to act surprised when nasty things surface from nasty people.   It seems to me we have compromised our common sense in these situations.

We have compromised, our culture has, our ability to think about things for an apparent “safety”.  The pretend umbrella of material goods, the you’re OK if you stay within these lines, supposedly offers happiness to those who sacrifice their awareness and thought process for the promise of not feeling unpleasant things, like fear.  Or having to do things like compromise with those who are perceived to be “other”.  Like, you know, with women or black people or poor people or people who just disagree with you.  It’s easy, these days, to just assume “they” aren’t on the same level as “you”, and you definitely know better, right? If you just stay inside those defined lines you get to do whatever you want, it seems.  Or that is how people behave of late.  Once you let go of your true self respect, though, I think all bets are off.   If you don’t respect yourself, you don’t respect anything else- like other people, like the land you live on, the water and air you need….all those things.  Corruption and degradation set in.  What I don’t get is the short sighted shooting oneself in the foot aspect to all this.  We may indeed have enough coal for the next 300 years.  We may indeed silence people by violence, intimidation, and discrimination.  But the results are going to be, and already are, catastrophic.

For today, once again I find myself balancing between feeling love and hope, and a deep foreboding which I managed to forestall by the usual means (spicy caramel pears, from ROOM FOR DESSERT.  Our motto is pretty much, if you want dessert first, go ahead.).    I think I have compromised many of the wrong things up to now, and there is some work to be done.   I’m sure it is possible, even if I am not at all clear about what it will mean in the future, this reclaiming of meaning.  It’s a bit scary to be born, after all.

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