Well said, Nickbert. I totally agree and, even though I was a much wordier (too wordy it seems), was what I was trying to get at
I’m not one to quote scripture and all that, but these are two things that I’ve come to grok on a personal level that I think are (will become) very important in the near future:
"God helps those who help themselves"
"Grant me the Strength to change what I can, accept what I can’t; and the Wisdom to know the difference."
But its not all black and white its grey. If your "God helps those who help themselves" it seems she or he could be speaking as much about a group ‘those’ as an individual. Now if was ‘him or her’ it might no sound so good but you would be on safer ground. Similarly with "Grant me the Strength to change what I can, accept what I can’t; and the Wisdom to know the difference." The Wisdom bit is very grey. Do you have it? yet? Did you have it but lose it? How will you know when you’ve got it? Who can you trust to tell you? Where do you keep it? etc…
It is true that we die alone and no doubt that some of us are also alone close to death. In the end we will have only ourselves and the lucky ones may have close family. Along the road we generally interact with greater numbers of our species. The more we do that by systems and rules we are the poorer for it IMO. If we can do it in a group size that is appropriate to our species we may be the richer. Monkeys in troops, buffalo in herds and people in tribes.
Every so often some smartarse comes along and says ‘wouldn’t it be great if we got everyone into line’. Lots of mumbling follows but each person says oh well what do I know. Some time later they go back to how they were. In our case it has taken many thousands of years and we cut down all the bush and destroyed most of the other species that could have fed us.
PicketyCat, I like all of us try to practice what I preach. So you are not judged yet but then if you really p*ss me off ….., but you haven’t. " you think I’m a harsh and judgmental wench" sorry to give you that impression. I didn’t mean to. There are other posters who have offered the view paraphrased as "we are the deserving few". Its good for group cohesion but thats better done by what we are than what we aren’t IMHO. Black swans see individuals of our species as indistinct – they just don’t care. Possessions possess. How many here are handicapped by their wealth? Those of us who prepare may find our carefully planned future disrupted by the mere whim of a bird.
Don – I agree that "those" and "themselves" may either be singular or plural. Every group is collection of individuals — a group cannot exist without indivudals, but it is possible for individuals to exist without a group. So, if every individual is helping themselves, and they are truly part of a group, their efforts will also be helping the community (or, at least, one would hope!). By the same token, if an individual was not helping themselves, their lack of effort would be a potential detriment to the group. I have internalized that if I am unwilling to help myself, then I should not expect help from others (be it "God", a stranger, or my neighbors). However, there is a world of difference between being unwilling and unable… at some point, we are all faced with a situation where we are unable to help ourselves, but those who are at least willing to try have a greater chance of succeeding (on their own merits or with assistance).
I don’t spend all that much time debating or worrying about my "wisdom". I trust in myself enough to accept that I will adapt as the situation mandates. It’s not so much a faith in what I already know so much as trusting that I will be able to figure things out when the time comes, or I will stumble upon someone who already has. This self-confidence (for lack of a better word) allows me to be reasonably assured that I will be able to assess, adapt and overcome… but if I can’t, well, that’s ok too since our lives all have to end at some point. While I intellectually realize not everyone has this temperament, I can’t truly internalize any other way of being and perceiving. Someone without this temperament wouldn’t be able to truly internalize mine either. I think most of the heated discussions we (all humans) have really comes down to fundamental differences in temperament and life experiences which influence our perceptions and conclusions. I’m certainly not elitist enough to think that my way is the only successful way… it’s just the only successful way for me. There are many others in the world, who are not like me, who I am quite sure will survive just as well or better.
So, taking this back to the film Joki. It is my personal belief that the dismal human condition was a result of people who had given up the will to fight (or never had it to begin with). You don’t always need to have something to fight against (i.e. a catalyzing event)… sometimes it’s enough to simply fight for something (yourself, loved one and community). It all comes down to your will to survive, not how prepared you are or how much you know; but whether you have the will to fight for your survival. Once you lose that will and give up the fight, all is lost.