The controversy regarding “Israel’s right, to defend itself”, vs. the Palestinians’ complaints of discrimination and “underprivileged status” is currently a conversational “hot potato”: each side in the debate about the Israeli-Hamas war finds it difficult to appreciate the other’s attitude and reactions. Obviously, without detailing one argument or the other, a disconnect exists: a “knee-jerk response”, which renders each unable to understand the other’s inability to see their point of view.
Perhaps, in the name of mutual understanding, we should examine the reasons for our failure of reason; but such examination would necessitate protracted explanation, inevitably leading to further argument.
An Example Minimises Discussion
Sometimes, example saves discussion. Below, paraphrased for brevity and with the names deleted, is an Excerpt from a Sci-Fi novel, entitled “XCRATH!”: a sage explains the tribal knee-jerk response which gets in the way of mutual understanding:
Our Hero closed the door behind him and, bowing to the elder of all elders, said, “Greetings, father of my father’s father, I need your wisdom.”
“Greetings, leader of our house.” replied the old one. “Welcome to my space. I observed your fight with those two aliens: you maneuvered well, but I feared for you. They are quick and strong: they are truly awesome.”
“It is a pity that they are our mortal enemies,” said Hero.
“That is a mature perception,” said the ancient one. “Perhaps we do not need to remain enemies; there is no good reason to continue our ancestors’ feuds, four thousand years later.”
“Guide me, great grandfather!” said the youth. “My anger comes unbidden as my enemies approach. My mouth says things my mind has not directed. I speak the old language reflexively. I cannot think. I am possessed!”
“Our history runs deep,” the sage replied. “In the passage of consciousness to her child, a mother gives her own memories in detail, with her individual experiences woven like threads upon the base of her emotional responses. Her mother’s memories are passed on in lesser detail; but on a firmer base of feeling, and so on. Each preceding generation is represented in less detail, but with greater emotion. That is why the strongest loves and fears and angers of our ancient past mislead our deepest consciousness, to uncontrolled emotion”.
“I had not taken that line of thought,” admitted Hero.
“The community of elders has always been aware of the trait. It is the basis of the theory of unified tribal response,” the elder continued. The principle is well known and universally accepted, but never before did we have so graphic a demonstration of its truth. Your confrontation with the aliens was exquisitely interesting.”
“I am happy to have provided my esteemed elders with some small diversion,” said Hero, wryly. “I have a basic understanding of the theory; but I would benefit from detail, sire.”
“I am sure that you understand it as well as I do: it isn’t complicated,” the elder replied. “But since you ask, we theorise that the more ancient the memory, the more basic and unadulterated the emotion engendered. Thus the most distant events produce pure feelings of love or hate, despair or joy. The purer the passion, the more uniform is its expression by all members of the tribe. For this reason, a group uniformly exhibits identical responses to ancient stimuli: music, especially the drumbeat, is a prime example. Need I say more?”
Let’s tell everyone about this!
There, in a nutshell, is the “disconnect”: perhaps if everyone understood the origin of uniform tribal emotion, it would be easier to see our opponents point of view!
Please, send this on to all your friends!