The Who of You
Sam sold fruit in Spanish Harlem, he would travel every day from his home in New York City to open his fruit cart and sell his fruit. Sam could speak at least 3 languages including english and spanish. What we know about our family is really very limited isn’t it? Unless you are into genealogy or your family member was famous. What we do know is that these people shared something with us that may go beyond a simple transfer of DNA. It is our love and hate, our fears and hopes that are transferred in the hidden undertones of our upbringing. It is more than white noise because it is thematic. Even if you were raised by a family other than your own biological family, you will carry some familiar theme. It is what it is. As generations are born and raised maybe some of the themes are altered a bit and some things can change but there are still faint remains. I expect that is what is meant when my grandmother would say to me that I remind her of my grandfather whom I never met. I didn’t meet him physically but through my father I am given the good and maybe some of the bad as well. We are who we are and there is no grand bargain that can change certain aspects or characteristics of our being. If Stephen Hawking could change his condition wouldn’t he? If he did would he be able to contribute to our world and to science as he has over and again?
“The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter’s stomach, is an absolute.
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
A compromise is a settlement. You have to let go of something and make a concession to compromise. Can you compromise with your being? In other words, we still don’t have the technology today to compromise on all things. As a matter of fact, there are many things that we can’t compromise on because we don’t have the power to do it.
Compromise is the issue of today. It is THE issue because so many of us are unwilling to do it when we can and others demand it when it isn’t really warranted. There doesn’t seem to be a good balance today when it comes to compromise. It doesn’t even seem to me that we are looking at compromise from a reasonable and rational perspective.
We can put on some very basic hats and come up with fairly intractable conflict. Just for quick reference (IC)
Intractable conflicts are clearly different from other conflicts. The major characteristics of intractable conflicts can be summarized as follows:
- In terms of actors, intractable conflicts involve states or other actors with a long sense of historical grievance, and a strong desire to redress or avenge these.
- In terms of duration, intractable conflicts take place over a long period of time.
- In terms of issues, intractable conflicts involve intangible issues such as identity, sovereignty, or values and beliefs.
- In terms of relationships intractable conflicts involve polarized perceptions of hostility and enmity, and behavior that is violent and destructive.
- In terms of geopolitics, intractable conflicts usually take place where buffer states exist between major power blocks or civilizations.
- In terms of management, intractable conflicts resist many conflict management efforts and have a history of failed peacemaking efforts.
Here we are in 2013. Martin Luther King had a dream of people being simply being treated fairly as people. It started with compromise, didn’t it?
Now we have what I would call a dysfunction compromise system. This is a system where we recognize that we need to make concessions or that we have a desire for concessions but we act in ways that are counterintuitive and counter productive concerning concessions.
For example, we should respect all religions except that SOME religion directs us towards violence. We must make every effort to compromise. This also is interesting because religion (at least in the past 30-40 years) is changing. Religion is being forced to compromise with desired outcomes. I want to state for the record that I am simply talking about this by observation. My issue and concern isn’t about any one particular thing, it is about our sociological disconnect from reality that is becoming the new normal. Hot topics of the past 40 years are racial, religion, women’s rights, jobs, economic and political gridlock, global trends, global warming, freedom and democracy for people of the world.
What changed? I can pull open a newspaper from the 1900’s or the 1800’s and see similar issues if not the same exact issues. And, so.. I go back just a few short years ago, maybe 50 or 60 years ago. A middle aged guy named Sam, he gets up every morning and puts his pants on one leg at a time. He kisses his wife or just yells goodbye as he heads out to sell fruit to his customers. To sell fruit to people in Spanish Harlem, he had to learn to speak spanish (that was something he had to do) they didn’t compromise with him. Sam and other immigrants from
“the old world” or from Italy, Ireland, Spain and other places came to America in search of something new, something different. They had to change their behavior to become American but the interesting part is that they were unwilling or unable to stay where they were . No one really talks about that part too often. Why couldn’t they just stay where they were and work things out? Why couldn’t they compromise? There is a delicate balance in life, it is give and take but there are also factors in which we have little or no control. No matter how much we want men to bear the burden of carrying a child, science isn’t there yet. Should it get there, I am sure some group somewhere will stand up and demand that women have been carrying children for their families for far too long and that men have an obligation to share this extremely difficult burden. You may read this and think that I am being unreasonable or maybe just because I am saying this that I am being sexist. Well, that is exactly why I am writing this today. If I say something that is true even if I don’t believe one way or the other that it is right or wrong, it creates conflict. We can’t even talk about it because it is offensive. It is offensive because we have compromised ourselves into dysfunction. If people wonder why we can’t anything done in Washington DC, this is the reason.
The next time you write something on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, my blog, your website, company post, newspaper, chat and the list goes on and on, just consider for a moment that false compromise isn’t always the answer and further that if you have an honest belief stand up for it. If you have room to truly compromise, consider that as well but be mindful of the truth and your intent, the world will be a better place for it.