In our societal structure there appears to be a prevalence of superiority that requires maintenance in order to secure our separateness while keeping us – as a collective whole – somewhat manageable. In an attempt to manage ourselves (whether we are influenced from other sources to do so is up for debate) we create societal expectations, rules, punishable and enforceable laws.
Can’t we all just get along?
Remember when we were kids? It seemed like there were so many expectations and rules; “Really? I just want to have fun!” It’s not like we were going to hurt someone or rob a bank…
I recall thinking that if I ever lived long enough to have kids I would just let them be. I would be the parent that I wanted to have when I was growing up. Then, not long after, I found myself raising a family and having to manage a house full of individuals all trying to make their own way, separately but still under the same roof.
One-by-one, rules were established to help keep the peace; don’t touch your sibling when he or she is safety-belted in the car. Don’t disassemble a sibling’s gift to find out how it works (or looks inside). Don’t call your siblings names. Don’t blame your sibling for something you did. Don’t hit inanimate objects, don’t hit animate objects; don’t hit anything.
Don’t set up your sibling to get in trouble to prove your level of parental manipulation prowess. Eat your vegetables, no sugar after six p.m. and don’t play your music so loud; just to name a few.
It doesn’t take long and you say to yourself, “Oh, my god, I turned into my parents!”
Your children despise your house of rules, yet you maintain your restraint level(s) to maintain safety and security, for the sake of the family and in the hopes that your children will grow into responsible adults. Then, something amazing happens:
One day, when you go over to their house to visit them and your grandchildren, they apologize for resenting all the rules (my daughter-in-law has 749 rules to manage the peace in their home), while I (now the grandparent) get to frolic, play and help my grandchildren find loopholes in the rules. Ha!
I can’t help but think, if I knew then what I know now, would I have done things differently? Without a doubt: Absolutely.
Then, I think about how this model mimics society as a whole. We are just as reactive when we create laws to govern individuals within our community. We start as a Utopia with no restrictions, until someone engages in an activity that we would not like to see repeated, so we make a law regarding it.
So many laws; so many restrictions, and we rarely if ever review the old ones, while we pile new ones on top of them. Will it ever end?
When all we really need is two laws:
1. Do whatever you want
2. Don’t interfere with anyone else’s right to do what they want
That means you can do whatever you want – even if we have been programmed to believe that an activity is bad or socially unacceptable – do it; but don’t let your activity impinge on another’s right to enjoy their life.
Maybe it’s impossible to change our legal system or the world for that matter; but I can change me.
I can love my fellow human beings more. I can learn to allow them to find their own way and do their own thing (as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s right to do likewise).
I believe that tolerance is the next step in human evolution.
When you think about it; it removes all resistance as you simply allow what is to be.
Tolerance is love expressed to the Nth degree.
Maybe it’s time to consider letting go – just a little bit – and try it on for size. Tolerance could have a huge impact in the peaceful enjoyment experienced in your life.