Two narratives, utterly different

One is by Charles Eisenstein, which will beguile you in its loveliness and wisdom. He may be right. It is a long read but worth the effort. (Even if by the end you suspect it to be hippie shit). There are many insights along the way that resonate with me, about “safety culture”, the dreadful epidemic of “staying safe” at all costs. Eisenstein concludes:

“The virus we face here is fear, whether it is fear of Covid-19, or fear of the totalitarian response to it, and this virus too has its terrain. Fear, along with addiction, depression, and a host of physical ills, flourishes in a terrain of separation and trauma: inherited trauma, childhood trauma, violence, war, abuse, neglect, shame, punishment, poverty, and the muted, normalized trauma that affects nearly everyone who lives in a monetized economy, undergoes modern schooling, or lives without community or connection to place. This terrain can be changed, by trauma healing on a personal level, by systemic change toward a more compassionate society, and by transforming the basic narrative of separation: the separate self in a world of other, me separate from you, humanity separate from nature. To be alone is a primal fear, and modern society has rendered us more and more alone. But the time of Reunion is here. Every act of compassion, kindness, courage, or generosity heals us from the story of separation, because it assures both actor and witness that we are in this together.”

There are days I can believe this.

Then there is the old-fashioned realist, Fred Reed, talking about men and their favourite activity, war.

“Nobody (except feminists) says the obvious, that all of these evils are committed by….

“Men.

“It is always men–some other men, of course, men of another race or country, or religion or tribe or social class. We ourselves–men–are pure. But however you cut it, it is men.

“The crucial problem for humanity is, probably always has been, how to control men, how to to harness their vigor and inventiveness for the common good while restraining their penchant for destruction, mass homicide, individual murder, rape, pillage, depravity, and foolishness.

“Wars are the vilest masculine behavior. They never end. Wars are not about anything. They are just wars. Men always find something for them to be about, but really they are just what men–men–do.

“The martial urge is deep in the steroid chemistry. Little boys want to play with guns. If you force dolls upon them, they shoot each other with dolls. When grown up, to the extent they ever are, they fight wars. If there is no reason for war, as for example now, they invent reasons. The Russians are coming. The Chinese are coming. North Korea will nuke us. So will Iran. We must gird our loins and fight, fight, fight.”

By the time you have finished reading Fred Reed, you may be ready for Charles Eisenstein’s more idealistic approach. Maybe.

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