What’s wrong with people: greed, selfishness, violence, wars, lying, and all the rest, is just the over-the-cliff edge of human nature. For example, it is human nature to take care of yourself, but unacceptable to greedily hoard resources beyond what you could ever need, by any means necessary. It is human nature to defend yourself, but it is unacceptable to aggressively attack others. It is human nature to be loyal to your identified group, it is unacceptable to war against others because your group is the best and should rule the rest.
We humans want, above all, to survive. We want enough food, shelter and security to stay alive. We want to think well of ourselves and most of us are pretty decent, but for some that is not enough. They want to be not good, but the best, the richest, the most beautiful and the most famous. They want power over others and feel they deserve it, them being the best and all.
Education won’t fix what’s wrong with people, exorcising the devil won’t fix what’s wrong with people, laws won’t fix what’s wrong with people (though they might get them away from the rest of us) What’s wrong with people is within us and a few have run to the extreme of the spectrum of legitimate needs and fallen right off the cliff. They don’t just fall to their doom, they slash and burn the rest of us on their way down.
I was watching a crime video and a man was asked, “Is your friend capable of murder?” He answered, “We all are.” “Ooh,” I thought, “that’s true.” Yet we don’t all murder, we don’t all exploit the weak, we don’t all strive to control other people. We have enough trouble controlling ourselves.
Status-seeking, for example, is universal; it’s one arrow in the survival quiver of human nature. It is legitimate to want to be important to our group, to be valued, to be loved. Run that off the cliff and the result is disgusting: Elitism, classism, snobbery- “I’m Lord Snoutentrough whole YOU yucky peasants are of the lesser sort.”
Jesus spoke of off-the-cliff status-seeking. (He didn’t come to start a ‘church’ as we think of it-not even your church, which I’m sure is the only one that has all the truth. 🙂 Jesus was trying to tell us a better way to live. Even his disciples craved status, they wanted to sit on his right and his left when he became king, they wanted to be big shots. He told them they were thinking about the wrong thing. They asked “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The clergy in Israel wanted to be big shots, too. Jesus said of them: “Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.” Sound like today?
I’m an artist and the Director/Instructor at the Suwannee River Studio. I hate art snobbery. But artists are human and they want status, too. Get a bunch together and watch them jockey for the top spot.
“I only use brushes from the bristles of a badger’s bum.” “I went to a workshop with world-famous Bradley Bigname.” “I went to LaDeeDah School of Art.” It’s enough to gag a maggot. Our mission is to promote creativity, friendship and develop our gifts. NOT compete, claw our way to some fictitious “top” and become rich and famous. As a result, our members are friendly, encouraging, and welcoming to strangers.
O.K. I admit it, we had a few controlling bigshots at first. I diplomatically kicked them to the curb. I suggest you do the same with the strutting, controlling Aholes who try to dominate you. Don’t actually kick them, that’s a metaphor, OK? And have a great week.