In life, most things we do are pretty much self-explanatory. We are born, we go to school, we work. Eventually we get married, have kids, and some time after that we die. Somewhat anticlimactic, I agree. Yes, but there are certain challenges to encounter and our bookstore's self-help section to deal with things that are slightly out of our reach. How to get that job (that we're not qualified for) or how to get a partner (we don't deserve). And those books contain more or less fishy techniques to justify our desire for social climbing. As primates, we always want the biggest piece of cake, and as humans we're convinced outwitting instinct must be the way to go. But all in all we'd probably be appalled if we knew how much of our decision-making in life is driven by pure instinct rather than calm consideration. I can hardly tell why I do certain things, and why I don't do certain others, but I get the distinct feeling the reason must be found somewhere on the opposite end of "free will". Is it "right" though to live like that? I don't know. It certainly feels right, but that doesn't have to mean anything in the grand scheme of things.
Well, I don't have any point of reference here, since I know no other way of existing than my very own. But I imagine, since we're all human those must be similar, with survival being the most elbowing instinct of them all. The fear for survival can take many different forms and sizes, mostly ugly ones. Actively killing our kin for food, luckily not so much a commonplace in the Western world anymore. But since we all own a lot of shit and feel like we've accomplished something, passively fearing for one's place in society is much more prevalent these days. Racism being the operative word to name that fear. Yet we always seem to be surprised by news of racism, riots, police brutality or the sad German trend to burn down refugee hostels. Well we shouldn't be. We shouldn't be surprised. It's the oldest fear there is. It may even predate spiders and heights. The fear of losing cultural identity, belongings or jobs is a natural part of existing within a community of diverse beings. Just because it's there doesn't mean we can't do anything to counteract that fear. We should and we do. The fear itself has to do with a lack of information (or wrong sources of information) rather than stupidity. Just so you know you're not immune, all you smartie pants! Information is a good way to work against that, most of all some form of political education, so we may understand the source and reality of such fears. How are those foreigners stealing our jobs again? Oh righto, they don't. Of course, the media are an untrustworthy companion in this endeavor, being deeply afraid for their own survival, they play into the hands of our fears like a horror movie plays into the pants of small children. But there's other ways of enlightenment.
We are afraid, and that's a fact. No point in complaining about it. And the country that came up with Nazis should know better than to ignore those tendencies or feel like we have means to control them. Fears can't be controlled by an intellectual elite. And what a horrifying concept that would be..
That being said, now what do we do about these fears?
For his first birthday, someone gave my son a book about a cat looking for playmates. The cat asks dogs, ducks, pigs to play with her, and they all refuse due to the cat's lack of dog-like, duck-like and pig-like qualities. So in the end the cat finds other cats to play with. D'oh! The moral of this story? Happiness found with your own kind? I'd say the moral is being aware that the concept of racism is omnipresent, validated like that, through allegedly harmless story patterns.
|"Go play with your kind."|