Constant Conflict and Challenging the Future

There are few constants in this world. One is change. In fact, some may argue that change is the ONLY constant, and they are probably right. Change will happen no matter what. It is the result of living on a rock spiraling and plummeting through the vacuum of space in the vortex that is our solar system. We move whether we stand still or run, and we all decay at a fairly constant rate while we apathetically wait to reach our destination:nowhere or collide into a neighboring galaxy or maybe just a stray asteroid or comet. Ultimately, nothing we do matters to anything else in that chaotic cluster of infinite existence (to our minds at least), and we are far from the center of the solar system, let alone the universe.

Now that I have presented some existential perspective, I want to talk about the kind of change that MATTERS. This concept was introduced to me by a cousin of mine, and it really changed my perspective of how I see some things. You see, we are absolutely insignificant, and that makes our existence the most important thing in the world. We only have each other. The spark of life that is our existence is a bright and beautiful thing, formed from stardust and the chaos of that endless nothing/everything all around us. But if we can’t make things works work there is nothing else for us. We are EVERYTHING just as much as we are nothing.

I have been on this cold, cruel, wonderful, inspiring world for a moment or three and I have noticed that there are a few things that seem to stick out. I have also noticed that there are a few things that, through habit or human nature, society tends to insist that we relive, no matter how much it holds us from moving forward and even sometimes pulls us backward every time.

There are some constants that we have some control over, and even some “constants” that we can change:

Constant 1: We will die.

While recent discoveries may someday lead to immortality, we aren’t there yet. The control we have over this aspect is currently limited to resistance: without maintaining the needs of who we are we die quicker. This means we eat food and drink water and absorb nutrients and stay alive. This means we exercise and learn about what we can do to survive longer and more efficiently, and we pass that knowledge down through the hopes of time and futures with what we have saved from the fires and destruction of wars and natural disasters that separate us from our past.

Constant 2: We are different than the things around us, and usually the further things are away the more they are different, and those differences present conflict.

We learn how to treat each other to survive, and we learn how the world around us works so we can manipulate things and use that to our advantage. We learn our weaknesses to gain control of our destiny and share what works for us with those around us that we want to preserve and keep them from those around us that we want to disappear. That is just the way we tend to treat each other, we have learned this from our collected knowledge of our ancestors. Early on, conflict was often a result over struggles for limited resources in an imperfect world. Nature provided only so much and we learned to survive by using what was available. And then we learned to survive by fighting for enough of what was available. We did what it took to survive, and our species has survived as a result. We did it! Humans are awesome! Fortunately, we live in a wonderful time where we have, with our amazing human ingenuity and resourcefulness, developed technologies to have plenty of food to go around. Unfortunately, we still have some left over tendencies to fight for available resources…. but that is another hippie based blog for another time.

Unfortunately…the real, core “unfortunately” of this topic, is that we let differences create conflict when that conflict is no longer the most effective way to survive. We are letting things like religion (organized as well as personal belief systems), gender, skin color, political affiliation, various ranks and classes (wealth, family names, club associations, etc)….you get the point… we are letting things divide us, and we refuse to treat other humans like they are AS MUCH of a human as the humans we feel more similar to. In the past this helped us survive, but are we reaching a point where it is having the opposite effect?

Let me share an example…I’m going to get political here.

We are currently seeing large separations in the United States political system, and not only between separate parties (unnecessary side note: the party system has been a significant dividing aspect in our history and has given us an excuse to split up into teams as a nation instead of working together with a variety of perspectives to come up with the best solutions through mutual respect…another hippie blog for another time) but also currently WITHIN the two major parties. The one still going in the limelight is the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination Primary between Senator Bernard Sanders and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is most prevalent in the online fisticuffs of the interweb and media outlets, and the crazy antics of the caucuses, primaries, and conventions.

One side of the argument feels like they are being treated like children and that they aren’t welcome. The other side feels like they are being pushed down as well, by new-comers who don’t want to learn the rules. The thing is, both sides keep trying to change the rules. One side wants to change the rules to get their representatives to represent people over corporations and politics. The other side wants to change the rules to make sure the candidate they feel will protect them from the people who are stepping in and trying to take over. The problem is that this isn’t a game. Both of them try to point that out, though sometimes simply as a tactic in the game they are denouncing. Head games are played to psych the other team out. And in making teams they have split. They have made the old Democrats and the “Berniecrats.“ They have gone the way of the Republicans….pushing each other around until some formed the Tea Party and stepped up to fight back in the perceived battle. And (in my opinionated perspective) their party seems to have fallen apart…and we now have the non-establishment Donald Trump as a presidential option. Is this a good thing or is it the end of the world? Will the Democratic Party survive this election, or will it lose control to the people? Or will they suppress the people to keep control? Which is better? Is it a matter of opinion about who should be represented?

This is an opinion blog, and it is mine, so I am going to say, “no.” This is my entry so I am going to say, “decide for yourself.” If you disagree, I may challenge you, but I won’t attack you for it. I will encourage you to challenge me because I want to know what other arguments are out there on topics. It is important to me to be challenged in my beliefs. If they are really my beliefs I need to know. If they are the beliefs of my world views, and not my own I want them sifted through and picked at and removed if they aren’t part of who I really am.

The entire problem with this election’s conflicts is with representation. The problem is that people would rather call each other names and fight each other to protect parties that have ceased to represent the people than talk about what we all want in this world, and that is to do whatever we want with the minimal amount of being told we can’t. We want to be safe, we want to be free, and we want to be represented by the people we pay taxes to employ in positions to speak for us.

And that isn’t happening right now. It isn’t happening with our representatives and it isn’t happening with us. We are the checks and balances that need to decide how are representatives should represent us and then hold them accountable to do it, no matter what click they belong to. We need to be united enough to talk about issues without calling each other names or treating each other like children. We need to step up and unite and demand the people we pay our taxes to run things for us because the longer we don’t use our power to unite and vote and demand our employees to work for US, the longer they keep working for lobbyists and special interest groups like wall street and the banks.

So talk to each other! Challenge each other’s views on issues and feel the freedom of having a discussion without treating each other like the enemy. We are the people of the UNITED States of America! We the people need to fix the problems or be controlled by others who are taking us over.

To live and learn is to live and grow and change. It is to pay attention to keep doing what works and change what doesn’t. The only constant is change, but we sometimes get to choose how. This election is one of those opportunities.

Sam Cook


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