Carl Sandburg wrote that all to familiar poem which would guide us to taking the path that is not as well traveled as the other. We all know what it means, or is suppose to mean and that is the real rub. What it means is much more than some directional advice. It is, at longer glare, an inverted mirror held up to our human psyche.
Everyone believes they are the one who has taken the road less traveled. It is relatively easy to search one’s soul and find there the element, tucked neatly away in our DNA, that would help us believe and identify with, and as, the “special one” who is “out of the ordinary” and the exception, the favored, the unique, the “It-won’t-happen-to-me” person. This seeming ego-centric orientation that sometimes smells a bit like narcissism and is rarely available for recognition in its host, is uniquely Un unique. It is perhaps the most common of our human behaviors. And perhaps because of its commonality it is difficult for us to readily recognize it and so we remain unaware of its reality and its potential carcinogenic presence.
We fail to realize that every human being will believe that the country of their favor is the “best” in the world, in history, right now! If we took 100 souls and asked each one what the best country in the world, or what is the most important country, or top country, perhaps each of the 100 would agree but only if they all share the same favored country. If however, we had 100 souls from 100 different places there would not be a consensus as to which country is the best because each of the 100 would tell you that their country is somehow the outstanding one. I remember having this discussion a long time ago while I was living in a Kibbutz outside of Jerusalem while in Graduate School. Several of us lived in the “volunteers” lodge of the Kibbutz and we all were from around the globe. Somehow, as it so often does with adolescents, the topic of who is the best, the baddest and the world leader in a variety of subjects was the focus of a lengthy, spirited debate with each youth promoting their own country as being “the gift to civilization and humanity.”
When you hear people using this very adolescent device you typically can tell they are about to try and sell you something. Usually this unleashing of the patriotic aroma into the air is suppose to get the group all in agreement. When one appeals to the flag waving, soldiers in uniform, love my country matrix one is doing so in order to manipulate and use that deeply embedded reality that can be found in the old crocodile portion of the brain. And when activated properly it will huddle us altogether in a desired unity. The problem is that we fail to recognize that every person of every country and place sees their homeland as number one on the hit parade. This goes not just for countries, but for religions and races too. Everyone wants to believe that they are God’s gift and right. It is not very attractive to view oneself as anything other.
Out of this delusion comes many dangers, toils and snares. We have not yet shifted into a unitive consciousness as a species. Many, if not most humans, live, breath and think in a binary and dualistic sensed reality. This means if mine is the best yours has to be lesser than mine. Humans in dualistic reality orientations can only recognize “Winners” and/or “Losers.” It is a system of competing commitments, loyalties, and worth that must produce “lessers” and “others.” With this system of reality-orientation comes the production of hierarchy, oppression, marginalized and exploited populations in order that “Winners” can exist. For this reality orientation losers must exist or winners cannot exist. This of course is not the only reality orientation in town. But until our humanity makes yet another shift in consciousness we will be stuck in this never ending competitive floundering of dualism.
With the knowledge and awareness of this psychological-spiritual reality perhaps we can rise to a new and different place if we consciously become aware of this emotive-behavioral element that resides in that old crocodile portion of our brains with its cousin the “fight-or-flight” and “fear of the not familiar” mechanisms. Perhaps we can arise and move forward. I am making it a part of my chosen lifestyle to be aware and remember every time I am tempted to get sucked into the “Rah, Rah, Rah for my team” ploy that it is just an old, crocodilian leftover.