A STATE OF UNION
Homer: Hey boy! Wanna play catch?
Bart: No thanks dad.
Homer: When a son doesn’t want to play catch with his father something is definitely wrong.
Grandpa Simpson: I’ll play catch with you!
Homer: Go home. — The Simpsons
We actually believe that self-sufficient independence and fulfilling relationships belong together. Might we have it wrong?
From the onset, we’ve sought equality with and independence from God. Why should we live under His authority? Adam and Eve asked this question.
The answer arrived quickly. Their first-born son killed his younger brother. We clearly have issues.
In this world, independence marks one as strong. Above all, we need to look good or avoid looking bad. Talk about others, but not to them. Manipulate others and circumstances to benefit and protect you. This begins to touch on our thought process.
Compounding our problems, we depart the historical mainstream as we exalt the individual over the group. What I want dictates the direction of my life: my education, my career, my money, my car, my home, etc. Few, if any, of these tie into the family or community in which we grow up. Immigrants quickly adopt this attitude, ensconcing themselves in a culture that pushes individuals further “ahead” and thus apart.
Something greater than I exists. And not just God. Catholic and Greek Orthodox faithful comprehend this. Many Jews and Muslims do, as well. Some true communists, probably most tribes in “developing” nations, and the mafia all grasp this principle: the community’s value far outpaces the sum of its parts. The community can impart meaning and identity and substance to the individual, to the faith, to one’s life-world.
Still, our thoughts turn back to us. Mine move back to me, as yours do you. I don’t need anyone. They’d only impede my progress.
Yes, we’re getting there. Increased wealth, influence, networks and status. We all find ourselves reaching and climbing higher. And look at what we find as we arrive: a third of us make it to our 25th wedding anniversary; drug and alcohol abuse continue unabated; crime and violence remain with us; suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people.
Some say we’ve come a long way since the beginning of time. Have we really? Are we any better? As a collective? As individuals?
Do we see relationships as an end?
Or simply another rung in the ladder we climb on our way up?
Could a relationship be the end?
© 2006 Revolworks.com