Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thoughts on human nature, safety, and the world around us

I've got this thought turning around in my head. It's one of those thoughts that either makes people go "Duh, didn' t you know that?" or "My Garsh! That explains everything!" ideas. Some people view the world is naturally safe and some people view the world as naturally unsafe. In other words, some people see dangerous situations, human caused or otherwise, as a natural piece of our existence. Such people see these situations as something to prepare for in order to minimize the consequences if and when they crop up. Other people see the world as inherently safe. Although such people do acknowledge that some danger exists, their usual response is framed by a conception that such dangers should be easily fixed as they are inherently anomalous. This dichotomy in views affects things in many social realms and makes communication difficult, This is made worse by the way in which people tend to gravitate towards others who share their worldview. When the two groups try to discuss various issues often they disagree on this fundamental viewpoint. Therefore they are often unable to sustain any sort of meaningful dialogue on several issues. Instead they often find themselves engaging in arguments over whether or not the world is inherently safe or inherently dangerous. One side argues that the other engages in "Macho fantasies." The other side argues that their counterparts are "dangerously naive." Now, being as I am an EMT, and, in this role, first watched people die at age 17 or 18, grew up in a dysfunctional home where safety was not only not present but people who acknowledged that it was not present were emotionally abused, and have worked for years in security in various capacities dealing with human problems, as well as having traveled extensively and studied world history and cultures, I think it's fair to say which side of the dichotomy I stand on. On the other hand, it has baffled me for years as to why some of my attempts to interact with some people have gone the way they do. (i.e. People who decide out of the blue that it's important that they tell me that I should travel unarmed instead of armed when I go places. I've always assumed that my friends and are safer if one of us is armed, and never understood why they consider this an issue. In fact, I've been perfectly content to let such people drift away, seeing them as irresponsible by taking this position.) I recently had an on-line discussion with someone, a private-college educated self-proclaimed feminist who threw around the term "rape culture" repeatedly, and they found it confusing that because I generally arm myself I thought it would be a good idea for women to do the same thing, particularly since they tend to be smaller and suffer from different patterns of violent attack. Notice I said "different" --these folks felt any patterns of violent attack were anomalous and could and should be done away with simple education of potential attackers. Some time ago, in an on-line forum, some people were accusing me of being rude for voicing opinions in an outspoken manner. I asked a couple of my friends if they thought the statements were rude or inappropriate. They did not. I realized later that the first two people I had approached both had lived through outbreaks of mass human violence. (One had been present at the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989 and the other had been involved in a humanitarian way with the Mohawk Civil War at Akwesasne in 1990, an incident on the New York -Canadian border that lasted several days and involved much use of firearms and other weaponry.

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