–The denouement of my country’s budget crisis two days ago left me and other liberals flushed with victory. It is so delightful to win the ball game! But, my ego-satisfaction from the event was quickly given pause by the realization that the battle will continue and, more importantly, that the real issues that are on the table are beneath the surface and will not be resolved in my lifetime. In fact, they will never be “resolved” for these issues are human and will resurface in every generation. One of these core issues is answering the question, “How do I get what I want?” when “what I want” can only be achieved in a context and the context always involves other humans with a different set of wants seeking fulfillment with equal intensity. This issue boils down to the issue of compromise and when it comes to our wants….those “wants” in the depths of our heart…we must realize they do not want any compromise. At times I catch myself with my personal “wants” ready to tyrannize my little world and often feel that I’m a little boy again who is wanting to say, “Give me what I want or you’ll be sorry!” Or, as Senator Charles Schumer said yesterday morning, summarizing the Tea Party hubris which had just been roundly bitch-slapped by reality the night before, “I’m gonna hurt a lot of innocent people if I don’t get my way!”
In this ongoing political crisis, wiser heads must prevail, “heads” that are governed not by the lizard-brain wants that refuses to compromise but by that “pauser reason” that Shakespeare had such an understanding of. When we employ that “pauser reason” (given to us by the gods when they equipped us with a neo-cortex capable of meta-cognition), we can realize that our wants are best satisfied when we are willing to accept “some” satisfaction of our wants in exchange for letting others have some of theirs.
We do not exist in isolation. We exist in a context and that context must be respected even when at times it includes things which we are vehemently opposed to. We have to realize that the world is big enough that others can have “wants” that we find objectionable while we are left alone with own “wants” which others will find objectionable. But when individual or group wants go beyond the pale and seek to tyrannize others, Reality will eventually set in and “bitch slap” the offending person or group. In my country we have the luxury of being part of a “bitch slap” when we cast our vote and voice our opinion. Some cultures have at their disposal a less eloquent, less sublimated, bitch-slapping process so often vividly illustrated around the world. One example that comes to mind is the “regime change” in Libya two years ago when Gadaffi was “voted out of office” by the lizard-brain of his culture, culminating with his dying body being dragged through the streets and eventually being sodomized by a metal pole. Each of us has the same lizard brain and if unchecked by the God-given “pauser reason” our wants too, individually and collectively, will be expressed with similar expressions of violence. It is not pleasant to see avarice and violence of this sort in our own heart but it is there and if we don’t own it, it will find expression in our attitudes and actions. Lewis Chamness
ph. 479 422-4777