So much value is ascribed to being able to “out-survive” others – and ourselves:
“oh, you lived through that?
Well, I can live through.. THIS!”
We award big points for getting through it, ’cause life can be just so damn hard.
And then, because life is – in fact – ridiculously accomodating and convenient here in the 21st century, we have to create or attract or construct the very “just so damn hard” scenarios we are to overcome.
Is this way of doing things a throwback from times when war and deprivation were front and center, and people-still-living-now cultivated tough skills for tough times?
Perhaps it’s leftover, outdated cultural programming from the 80’s and 90’s, when “pushing ourselves” (read: “punishing ourselves”) as far as we could go – 168-hour workweeks, no sleep, and little use for subtle or simple joys – would win the badges of honor.
Or, maybe this a newer competiton, pervasive in our reality-TV culture, where snark, shame, and “there-is-one-winner-only” are the new norm (“it gets viewers!”) and calm, reflective stability is just not considered good television at all.
What if we are now living through the time when the primal, reptilian brain that exists in all of us – the amygdala on constant Defcon-1 alarm – is sensing that its time of being center stage and running our shows through fear is coming to an end?
Could it be that the current collective need to out-angst, out-pain, and “out-survive” each other (and ourselves) is evidence that this way of doing things is making its final death-throes gasp for – survival? (ooh, chills!)
Imagine a new time – and I do feel it coming – when we set aside the need to collect “survival” badges –
and, instead, collect the rewards for simply living.. well, and with kindness.
I can imagine that.