One of the things I kept from my religious upbringing was a teaching that said “I give unto men correct principles that they may govern themselves.” Everything can work beautifully when we do not have to rely on others, the government, or laws to make us do the right thing. If each man was guided by a personal integrity that considered not only themselves but the whole of mankind, we would eliminate almost every problem we currently face.
But we don’t, and expecting every person to be evolved to that level is not practical and it has never happened, despite the awesome stories your grandparents tell about how much better everything was when they were a kid.
Throughout history, there has always been pretty much everything we see today. At times it was better hidden than today, but it was there. But our grandparents and to some extent my own generation did have something. We had the general consensus of “the village.”
What I mean by that is that a village of people was comprised of different people, and while there were always a few who lived on the edge and operated on the dark side, the majority of people were united in their desire to do the right thing and to treat one another fairly and in a way that promoted the well- being and safety of the village. In that environment, the village had power to impact on the individual and to modify their behaviour. The village actually played an important role in “raising a child.”
People could choose to behave badly, they have always had that choice, but to do so, when the village was still alive, would result in some unwanted reactions from the village. If people wanted to operate on the fringe of what was acceptable, they had to do it in the cover of dark because the village would protect its own. They might try to stop the person from enacting their plan. They would protect the victim. They would speak out against the aggressor. The might turn him over to the police. They certainly would not join in with him or encourage him or allow him to continue on as if nothing had happened.
What other people would “think,” has a power that is not always a bad thing. Others are not in charge of our self-determination but we need others to be actively engaged and to take responsibility of the things going on around them when the actions of others are destructive, dangerous or damaging. Children steal candy bars when they are pretty sure no-one could see them because they know that others might turn them in. They would not approve. Children often eat those stolen candy bars behind the house, or in their bedroom late at night. . . again because they know if they are seen, they will be in trouble. The power of any group to help regulate the actions of a few has always been a powerful tool that we understand and use to our advantage when trying to create a successful society that provides the most opportunities for people to succeed, cohabitate in peace, and to find happiness.
Today, where once the village would have stopped, in some way, the actions of someone who was being destructive, we have people who cheer them on, join them, or, at best, simply say nothing.
We have cut the village off at the knees.
And the fact the village is mute when faced with such abhorring behaviour, encourages more bad behaviour. The village has become the town bully.
Men abuse women and children while their friends and families cheer them on, lie for them in court, and hide their actions. Women lie about their ex-husbands and manipulate the system and use their children as weapons while their friends and family also cheer them on, lie for them in court and hide their actions. Parents lie so much that their children become incapable of telling the truth, even about things when there is no reason to lie, and the village allows it. We don’t hold people accountable for their actions. We excuse their responsibility. We attack anyone who tries to point out the wrong.
THE VILLAGE HAS BECOME THE TOWN BULLY.
If you do nothing else to help the world and the mess we are in, at least stop sitting there and giving your silent approval of bad behaviour. Maybe you don’t want to stand up in a rally and say “no” to the mob that wants to go and hang the neighbour down the road, but you can get up and walk out of there. You can speak the truth. Imagine the next time someone sits there and tells everyone in the room how they screwed over their ex and destroyed their life, and instead of everyone laughing about it, or high fiving the person, everyone just stopped talking and said nothing? The power of that would be a huge message of disapproval without ever having to do anything more.
We are the village.
We have a job to do and whether we do it, or we do not, WE are contributing to the outcome of the world we live in.