Friday, November 30, 2012

Us against Them

You are part of an us. In fact, everyone is part of some us. Even if you consider yourself a solitary being in the world, you are part of an us. In that case, you're your own us - a small us, but an us nonetheless.

Every us has an associated them. By definition, them is not us. There is no better descriptor for them than not us. It says all we need it to say.

We live our lives in the tension between us and them.

At some point in your life you will draw the distinction between us and them. It may be a conscious decision or it may be surprisingly subconscious.

You will probably have a surge of strong emotion when you draw the distinction between us and them.  You may have a surge of warm happiness and cool relief that you're us and not them. I think it's more likely that you'll feel a little shame and anger, maybe regret,  that you can't be them or they won't be us (or at least try to be a little more like us.)

It doesn't have to be us against them.

Human language provides two general approaches for describing our wants, our needs, our selves. We can speak in the negative to describe what separates us from them - what we don't want, can't have, won't do. Or we can speak in the positive to describe what we like, crave, wonder, might attempt to do.

It doesn't have to be us against them. It can be us beside them, perhaps different in what we do or how we do it but living day after day in the same world.

We're neighbors, us and them.

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