Monday, December 11, 2017

Enemy Mine

the enemy narrative seems to be a deeply embedded human narrative. It's may even be tied in to our genetic drive for tribe. Kind of hard to have a solid sense of tribal identity if everyone in the tribe can change tribal affiliations at will - revolving door tribal identities aren't an acceptable thing.

I'd venture that in our current era, most of our tribal affiliations are imaginary. Doesn't make them wrong or bad or any less potent, the affiliations are just not tied to raw survival. Example. I am "a lot" Swedish. Still have family in Sweden. But if Sweden goes to war, I am not going to feel personally threatened. I'll worry about family - but my sense of physical safety and security won't be under attack. I am also "a lot" Irish. Same thing goes.

Tribal affiliations to our chosen organizations and even cultural heritage are rarely tied to our original drives for maintaining tribe. Sort of. Working this out...

Let's say I'm part of a Facebook group and over time, everyone in the group - leaves. The group page may still hold a spot in the interwebs, but the tribe has disbanded. Poof. Extinct. A year from now very few people, if any, will remember the group ever existed. Woe is me, such a loss!

But...if I founded this group and it's purpose is SUPER important to me and everyone is like 'meh' and moves on, I am likely to feel at the minimum, a tad irritated and on the opposite extreme - deeply betrayed.

And. If you leave my FB group for another group of a similar focus - now you are an enemy. You are my competition. You, are a traitor. You are loyal to me, or you are my enemy.

Are we so fiercely protective of our imaginary tribes because the evolution of humans' higher level skills (prefrontal cortex stuff) has outpaced the evolution of our tribal functions/drives? There is an internal disparity in these two evolutionary tracks and I wonder if that's why we engage in such dysfunctional behavior.  Think about this. If I belong to one martial arts group and then get involved in a second - there is a powerful martial mores that says my behavior is bad and wrong.

About a year ago I was looking into Libre - nosing around more than anything. A martial colleague reached out and said "hey, I'm a Libre guy and we could work together and make your school a location" (paraphrased). This could be fun, I'm thinking. But......I was also connected to someone else, a different martial colleague who had a few connections to Libre and taught knife stuff....and there was a subtle resistance to this from the first person. The connection never happened - for a variety of reasons btw - I'm just using this as an example to highlight the point.

The Gracie BJJ organization had a video circulating in which one of the Gracies made an overt statement that if you trained with him and then you also decided to train with someone else you were really fucking up and he would take it personally- a betrayal and a violation of ethics.

Another example - I'm connected pretty deeply with a couple of Martial 'tribes'. A representative of one of the tribes and I had a conversation ....can't remember when...a year? two years ago? The conversation included a questioned posed to me...why would you risk the approval and support of our organization to be connected to another one?

Somewhat paraphrased because naming the tribes is irrelevant here. It highlights though, the strong drift humans have toward the enemy narrative.

You are either with us, or against us.

Historical references go back at least as far as the Judeo-Christian Old Testament Book of Joshua - this is super important to us.

I am chasing about 5 different rabbit trails in this context right now - maybe there will be a few more posts on it as I play around with it. At this moment, I am landing on a couple of things:

1. if the purpose of a tribe is to make people better, stronger, more resilient expressions of themselves then this tribe would be violating it's own purpose for existence to say "you can only be stronger and more resilient in MY way..." because-
2. If as a tribe, I restrict your ability to become stronger and more resilient to the greatest degree possible then I make you vulnerable to the types of strength other tribes are developing...i.e. you can only be strong the way MY tribe is strong.
3. This creates an obvious weakness easily exploited by the enemies my tribe has created by drawing this line.

Rory once posed the it possible to shift tribes without creating an enemy narrative? It should be possible because the tribal identities are a) chosen and b) irrelevant to daily survival. However, the disparity in evolution of our monkey and human brains may create such an intense dystonic state that we may find the paradox too intense and capitulate to the stronger monkey drives no matter what we do. And yes - I am using the WE on purpose. The WE applies to both the tribe and the Benedict Arnold's.

Sooo many thoughts - but given I'm at the end of cogent thoughts at the moment - I'll put a pin in it for now.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

where danger lives

Thoughts stirring from a couple of different statements and a conversation from BC Vancouver VioDy –EDITED...

Humans aren’t a fan of acknowledging violence as an element of our biological nature and yet we have always used it to establish territories, to affirm hierarchies, to punish and to set tribal membership boundaries.

We have grown into a colonized species and like ants, have figured out how to live in large numbers without eating each other or ripping each other’s heads off (literally). Most of us like the results of the skill set.

And even with this evolutionary trend toward civil colonization, we struggle to keep ourselves in check.

In the past week I’ve heard two law enforcement professionals create a distinction between violence and use of force.  One made the distinction overtly and argued for it openly. The other one made the distinction in a conversation; not quite as consciously, but no doubt was still anchoring into violence and use of force are different.

post published edit to the above paragraph: flushing this out a bit - I know plenty of LEO's who do not separate use-of-force & violence contextually. I think the need to differentiate among force professionals is anchored in the idea that violence is bad and therefore if a force pro is one of the good guys, what s/he does in the line of duty can't be called violence.

There’s no difference. Use of Force is violent action. Sanctioned violence, maybe – but still violence.

Is it better to categorize violence with language to create the behavioral leashes that allow for this colonized living (and all its benefits)?

Or is it better to acknowledge – violence is violence – and set different parameters? I’m going to be super biased because this second option is my paradigm so obviously, I like it.

Being unleashed removes any socially programmed rules for when violent action is acceptable. Unleashed, I can hit you over the head with a shovel because you took my chair. When my kids were toddlers they hit each other over the head with tiny plastic beach shovels because someone had their bucket. Humans in their natural state do this.

So, I have parameters. A protocol in place that guides my choices based on how I want to live in this colony of humans. I have a failsafe if I lose my shit and slip the leash. I have friends who have similar protocols. Hence the bias.

I can’t help but wonder if the “let’s use words to say certain kinds of violence aren’t actually violence” is a risky way of establishing protocols. In psychology, there is a school of thought that identifies the more dangerous human is the one who refuses to acknowledge what s/he is capable of…

You know, the person who says – and adamantly believes – s/he could NEVER do THAT – EVER.

This is a dangerous human. If she ever slips the proverbial leash it will be so completely alien an action she’ll have no capacity for self-regulation. And this makes me wonder if the increase in episodes of mass shootings, etc.  is tied to our over-domestication and refusal to acknowledge…yup – I could totally do that.

We can’t explore and regulate those behaviors of which we refuse to become self-aware (sorry for the psychobabble).

I know what I’m capable of. I know where I glitch and I know why. I know there are blindspots still in which this awareness is completely absent.

Can you answer these same things for yourself? Are there things you think you absolutely can NOT do? Are you sure?

Violence isn’t binary. Shooting you is violent. It doesn’t matter if I do it because I don’t like your face, or I do it because I have sworn duty to protect and you have a gun shoved in the mouth of a baby. Either way, if I pull the trigger I am – in that moment – violent.

The more domesticated our colonization becomes, the more we eschew words reflecting our primal nature. I don’t think this is something we should be particularly proud of -