I remember how a friend & I used to say we wished the men in our lives (they WERE a couple of rather challenging individuals) would
“Get over themselves.”
Not sure we’d have been terribly open to a discussion of how we ourselves needed to get over ourselves. :)
It’s pretty easy (reflexive, even) for women to criticize men for their shortcomings. (Heck; read Dave Barry’s book Dave Barry’s complete guide to guys for an in-sider takedown of male shortcomings. Utterly hilarious!!)
Not gonna lie to you: I am delighted & grateful to have been born female. There’s a lot to like about female proclivities toward generosity … warmth … nurturing … cooperation … heartfelt conversation & sharing of what is in one’s heart. The ability to give life, & nurture it.
(Women, of course, can also be petty, superficial, self-absorbed, control freak-y, manipulative & mean. I never said we’re ALL a walk in the park!)
On my walk today it came to me that it might be time now for us to “get over ourselves” … as a species.
Too long we’ve assumed we’re the cat’s ass of the solar system … you know??
The Earth ours to dominate. Subdue, dominate, do what we wish to, and with. Rape into submission, if we so choose (& of course we have indeed so chosen).
& now, here we are, finally confronted with our very own (possibly rather imminent) extinction. Coming soon(ish) (many of us suspect) to every theatre (& town) near you.
I’ve certainly had to “get over” my failure, my inability to “save the world.” To help prevent the species from becoming extinct.
I have a wry chuckle at myself, now, when I think of all the
- disposable coffee cups I’ve avoided using
- car trips I’ve avoided taking
- air travel I’ve avoided making
- banana peels/other compostables I’ve made sure did not go into the garbage
- aluminum cans I’ve made sure got into recycling bins
- dryer-loads of laundry I’ve avoided (being a faithful user of clotheshorses & clotheslines) in order to minimize energy use
- etc. etc. etc.
Like … many of us, perhaps? I’ve always had somewhat inflated notions about what I as an individual can do – can influence – in the face of the juggernaut of human destructive power our species exercises on our incredible planet.
Ego. So much, so much, so much human ego, everywhere one turns … hmmm?
- Our notions of superiority
- Our notions about who gets to be the boss of whom
- Our absurd pretensions about who matters, who’s “better” than whom
- Our notions of privilege, of entitlement
(Middle-class assumptions about privilege & entitlement seem especially tiresome - infuriating! - to me of late)
I can’t help but wonder whether some of our notions about religion … whatever stripe one subscribes to … including New Age … need to be put under the microscope, examined closely, & discarded, if shown to be just so much self-absorbed, self-serving claptrap with too much excessive self-regard for the human species built in...
& you know?
I’m not even entirely sure what I mean when I say I think we need to get over ourselves.
I just think it’s a task we’re probably liable to benefit from.
Near-term extinction dude Guy McPherson suggests we are in hospice as a species now. (This essay by Carolyn Baker on his blog about our being in hospice now, all of us, & what that means, is wise and insightful.)
That pursuing “lives of excellence” is highly recommended.
Being motivated by love.
It all makes sense – eminent sense – to me.
I wonder, will we get over ourselves before … before the party’s over & we’ve all “gone home?”
p.s. & yes, I get it, I get it. I need to “get over” myself, as much as anyone. I’m as much of a pain in the ass as anybody; I know, I know!
Quotes with this post: “Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.” ~ Michael Lerner, quoted in The Great Turning – From Empire to Earth Community, by David Korten
“All empires eventually devour themselves.” – Ralph Nader in a conversation with Terry O’Reilly on CBC Radio
“We are not meant to fit in; we’re meant to stand out.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
“The best things in life are not things.”
“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other, so that the world may come into being. Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.” – P. Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955), French philosopher & Jesuit priest
“There is not a problem with the system. The system is the problem.” – Source unknown
“It is not genius, nor glory, nor love that reflects the greatness of the human soul; it is kindness.” – Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” – Benjamin Franklin
“In any case, community is not about perfect people. It is about people who are bonded to each other, each of whom is a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, love and hate.” Jean Vanier
“This is the true joy in life – the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems
“…everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” – Mourning Dove
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.” – Gertrude Stein
“Only connect. This is how we make meaning. This is how we learn to think as Nature thinks.” – Gregory Bateson, anthropologist
“It’s one of the secrets of the world. We all have the key to one another’s locks. But until we start to talk, we don’t know it.” – Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW’s ‘Bookworm’ radio show
Guy McPherson, Mr. Nature Bats Last, has suggestions for you, for me, for us all.
He recommends that we pursue lives of excellence. He says we humans are in hospice now, all of us, in hospice, as a species.
In his book Going Dark he says:
“If we’re headed for the exit gate in the near term, the question then arises: What shall I do? How shall I live my life? In other words, now that we have knowledge of the near-term demise of our species, then what? There are more than seven billion responses to the latter questions. Recognizing that birth is lethal and that we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanity on the way out the door, I’ve chosen an eyes-wide-open, decidedly counter-cultural approach. I’ve opted out of empire to the maximum possible extent, and I practice and promote a gift economy. Beyond my own actions, I suggest individuals take actions they never previously imagined. I promote resistance against the dominant paradigm, even though – especially though – it appears too late to save our species from near-term extinction. I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?”