This is a tough one, but let’s see how I do.
We are taught all our lives to take pride in being ourselves. We are told to be proud of how we are unique in our own way. Does all this teaching about individualism lead us to be all about me where everyone else takes a back seat to our own individual wants and desires?
How about character traits we share with others? We tend to congregate with others who are like minded; people we share interests with. Does that show we are social creatures, or is this just a “Collective Me”? Then when threatened or challenged, the Collective Me’s all find a larger commonality with other Collective Me’s to build a community of Collective Me’s. This collective can be a school, community, state or nation.
The larger Collective Me is strong against outside threats from other Collective Me’s, but when not faced without outside aggression, the smaller Collective Me’s will find flaws with neighboring Collective Me’s in order to set themselves apart from each other again. Whether it is by political party, religion, state, or whatever the large Collective Me cannot survive without an outside threat from another Collective Me.
So there seems to be a size limit to how large a Collective Me can grow that is in direct correlation to the size of the threat the collective is facing. The smaller the threat that exists, the smaller the Collective Me that will gather against that threat.
In a state of no threat, the smallest Collect Me of a family or clique will find differences to set themselves apart from each other, bringing us back to being all about me as an individual. This makes me wonder if the Collective Me that gathers together to ward off a threat is done so for the group, or just for the survival of the individual me’s.
If this theory of the Collective Me is correct, it demonstrates that we are not actually social creatures, but solitary creatures who only gather with others who we think can benefit us as individuals. It would also mean that the only way that the vast majority of humans would ever be able to come together as one all encompassing Collective Me is if we were threatened by some alien race.
To be able to change this where all of the human race could cohabitate in harmony would be to change the mindset of looking for ways we are different from each other to embracing the differences as we focus on our commonalities. We would have to flip one letter upside down to change the mindset from the Collective Me to the Collective We.
I am not saying we should all think and act exactly alike because that would be living as mindless drones. I am saying learning to understand opposing views and philosophies and accept that we are not all carbon copies of each other as long as WE can respect each other’s ideals that don’t harm others.
Examples of what I am speaking of are:
- I am a follower of the God of Abraham. I have friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and many different Protestant sects. We all believe in the same God, but there are individual beliefs within each that separate us from one another. I follow the train of thought that the God of Abraham will not call for one sect of his children to kill his other children. Anyone who claims God does, is not a follower of God, but doing the work of Satan.
- I have friends that are atheist. I do not push my beliefs on them as God gave us all free will and they have chosen the path they have and that is totally up to them. I also expect them to respect the path I have taken as we are both humans.
- People not getting along based on the color of a person’s skin is nothing more than ignorance. I have friends and have served with people of all colors of skin and the only difference is the outer shell. All races have good and bad people in them and therefore the color of the skin is irrelevant. The fact that we’re all human is relevant.
- I have friends of many nationalities. Nationalities like races have people who are good, and people who are bad. A person’s country of origin has nothing to do with the value or integrity of that person.
I have many interesting conversations with all my friends discussing how we have different beliefs and values. Even with different beliefs, we find commonalities between those beliefs and values that connect us together. Through our deeper understanding of each other, the bonds that link us grow stronger.
Then all that is left is to act together as one and weed out and eliminate those who threaten the Collective We. We cannot act as individuals when dealing with those who want to torture and kill people who think differently.
There once was a man named John who lived in a large home with many other families. One day he found a termite in his room and killed it. He told all the other people living in the house what had happened and said “we need to do something about this.” They all said “good job” while doing nothing because they didn’t see any termites in their rooms.
The next month his neighbor Joe found three termites in his room and killed them. He announced to everyone what had happened and said “we need to do something about this!” Again they all said “good job” and did nothing else about it because they didn’t see any termites.
A year later the house collapsed from all the damage the termites in the house that were not dealt with had done. Many occupants of the house were killed in the collapse and those who survived pointed their fingers at John and Joe and cried out that they didn’t do enough to get all the termites.