The first big fight humans had was over goods from the original Pottery Barn. Distant cousins of German neanderthals apparently killed each other for artisan earthenware. I saw the pictures. I don’t think a bowl with wavy lines on it is worth bloodshed but maybe I lack vision. According to Wikipedia these early ceramicists had slaves, just like modern day box-stores. I’m not a historian but it seems like we were born with a tendency towards hierarchy and competition. Or maybe it’s because we started off as animals operating mostly on basic instinct and the plan was for us to evolve our consciousness as we shed hair. Esau was said to be very hairy. He sold his inheritance for campfire chili. Maybe we were intended to shed fear not hair. Fury. Furry. Either way, if you invite the universe to a sleep over and decide to play telephone make sure there’s a secure connection. Are hunger pangs to blame for the legacy of violence? Which hungers are we feeding? Who gets access to the food? If man can’t live on bread alone how does love get inside a mascara wand or a Subaru?
“Speculations as to the reasons for violence between settlements include vengeance, conflicts over land, poaching, demonstration of superiority, kidnapping slaves, and women.”-Wikipedia, Talheim Death Pit 5000 BC -aka The first Pottery Barn
There was a protest for peace again. The first one was over someone having a bird or flipping a bird. An Egyptian ruler in 2730 BC picked a different bird than the traditional king of wings, one named after him, to be on all his ruler swag and things went downhill from there. The people rebelled for a minute and eventually a new, powerful ruler threw them a few shiny rocks, beer and some necklaces. Those must’ve been some great necklaces. No one rose up again for about one hundred years. Every fifty to a hundred years since way back when, the masses have banded together to ask for one big thing. Fifty to a hundred years after asking we get part of each one big thing; a five cent raise, affordable housing at pre-inflation rates, civil rights on paper, women’s rights also on paper, education reform for fancy zip code areas, cheap McMansions which we foreclose on but by the time our invisible money disappears there’s a new captain convinced he can out maneuver ice cubes. The newest big things are equality, gun violence, child abuse and mental health which are all the same things. Trying to target one problem over the other is like trying to lose weight by giving up desert. Pay no attention to the fact that I’m chain smoking, hooked up to an I.V of diet coke and just ate an entire pan of lasagna. I did not eat cake. Go me. Unless we pull up the roots, new weeds will keep sprouting, meaning we aren’t resolving anything, just trading vices. We’re creatures of habit with a limited supply of free-will power. It’s taken twenty years to adopt a meal plan that keeps me out of the hospital. Forks scare me. Buffets? A nightmare. I can’t remember the last time I ate a sandwich because who can do that kind of math? Loving people, on the other hand, not algebra. I hope we all find x and y but don’t necessarily want to hug everyone. No offense. Now ask a family to give up two hundred years of ‘tradition’ and face the truth that great grandpa was a racist pedophile. That would ruin so many lemonade commercials.
“If you’re not first you’re last.”-Ricky Bobby
At marketing school students are asked to cross their heart and hope to die as part of promising they won’t abuse the deepest, darkest secrets of mind control, which they’re all taught. It’s not rocket science, it’s neuroscience. Picture three circles, like a snowman. The bottom circle is our brain stem. It’s the primary working part of our brain when we’re born; the sole function of which is survival. It’s activated by shiny things, comfort, sex, food and fitting in. When our brain stem perceives we’re in danger of not meeting these basic needs we scream, fight and compete. Imagine a baby who can’t find the nipple, a grown man whose sports team is losing or a tweenager whose friend is not texting back: awww, freak out. Our baby brain’s primary emotion is fear. The next circle is the limbic system where all our feelings and hormones live. This is the part of our brain that makes us care about each other but only insofar as caring relates to our survival in the absence of executive function; that’s the circle on top also called our big brain, frontal lobe or rational thinking. Executive function is our inner high road. Our grown-up brain isn’t fully developed until we’re 26. This means all parents of teenaged drivers have a right to be terrified. The goal of healthy development is for all parts of our brain to work in progressive harmony; to sing, dance, share, grow, trust and care. This unity is heavily reliant on having all our basic needs consistently, lovingly, joyfully met for the first 26 years of our life and experiencing no trauma. Do you know anyone like that? Me either. Western media knows this too. They keep zero promises. Guess what media images are skillfully designed to do? Deactivate any shred of rational thought remaining after our chaotic days and convince us that we’ll be in life threatening danger if we don’t run out and buy their product, vote for their candidate or become completely hysterical over every scandalous headline. Don’t think. React! Be first, now!
Meditation is media kryptonite. The sooner we start practicing the easier it is to call BS on everything that’s ridiculous, a lie or bad for us. Meditating quiets fear, calms our entire being and creates a pathway to our pineal gland; this tiny pinecone shaped gland in the center of our hemispheres. Some people think it represents god; in which case the questions and answers are all in our head. Once you discover truth the material world, like Satan in the desert, becomes something you learn to patiently tolerate but it no longer holds any real power. Fast food? Yes. It’ll kill you quickly. Emeralds? Mined by exploited children. Giant houses? I’d rather spend my time with you. Deconstructed commercials, headlines, paradigms, they’re sad, sometimes funny but no longer hold the power to determine our choices, beliefs or behaviors.
Be an Ass for Love
Jesus rode into Jerasulem on a donkey. This was before Uber or Range Rovers. Even if you aren’t sure whether Jesus is the son of God he seemed like a nice guy who suggested a pretty good idea for how to live life; love people. Prior to his death he was tempted in the desert. Satan offered him food, water, prestige, even chapstick but the son of man would not yield. That’s some serious willpower. Before Jesus, Buddha traveled around also teaching about love. He ate some bad road food, ending his mission, but not his message. After a terrible war in India an emperor decided to give Buddhism a try, which turned out to be helpful. Then Mohammad was born and he also had a vision for how love could heal the world. In other parts of the planet, throughout history, there’ve been countless messengers of love. The numbers from the most recent march were upwards of half a million. We say yes to love; signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours. But what’s all that fine print at the bottom?
Have you ever apologized to someone thinking everything was cool, then three days later while you’re headed to see a movie they decide you should pay even though you paid last time? You ask why and they start listing off slights from second grade. Fine. I’ll pay but I am not sharing my popcorn. I’m guessing that’s how people in power feel, like one apology can’t possibly make up for all of human history so if they start taking responsibility or granting magnanimous concessions, like We’re sorry you feel that way, here are some gas cards and…all your parking tickets are erased, people will keep asking for more, fearing it’ll never be enough for some, so why bother? What more could we ask for if we’re granted world peace?
“Yea I’ll take 6000 chicken fajitas please.”- Peter Griffin