We are weird.
Early humans had no concept of "property." You didn't hoard resources or tell people what they could or couldn't do.
Reciprocity was a big thing: I expect you to give it to me later if I present it to you now.
The idea that you could control another person would have been just as ludicrous to hunter-gatherers as owning a plot of land.
How can you own Mother Earth? Huh?
Modernity changed everything.
The invention of personal property was that foundational shift that allowed specialization, resource accumulation, money economies, technology, etc.
I'm grateful for it, but I also don't make the mistake of assuming we have changed just because our modes of organizing have.
We haven't. Humans are the same as we were 10,000, 20,000 even 100,000 years ago.
We try to adapt to the aspects of our modern environment. However, we're still fundamental "fiercely egalitarian" hunter-gatherers at the genetic level. (fiercely equal)
One of the grossest manifestations of human nature trying to force what's "normal" today is seen in relationships.
All relationships... parent/child, romantic, friends, political, work, etc.
The idea that I control what you do, who you see, or where you go is weird. Yet it's normal.
I could go on for a long time on this, but I don't have to because all we have to do is look at the numbers (and our personal lives) to see how this forcing creates pain, suffering, and failure.
Divorce rates. Opioid abuse and death rates. Pharma profits (more sick people = more money). Suicide rates. General unhappiness and discontentment rates. Populism. Mental health rates. The available dysfunction of modern relationships and how people maintain them by lying and pretending.
My entire life post-high school was working through society's definition of how to live, work, and relate to others and culture. I learned this: none of it works, and it is up to me to figure out what does.
Simply put, we must unlearn the BS society pumped into our minds. That's the price of modernity. That's the price of civilization.
Sure. Maybe. I don't know. Maybe not.
Either way, it highlights a fundamental Truth for all: to each their own. We all have the responsibility, the ultimate reasonability, to take control of our minds, thoughts, actions, and results.
It's all up to me. It's all up to you.
Whenever we try to force ourselves to fit some preconceived idea about how things "should be," we fail.
Either it fails now or eventually, but failure is inevitable.
Wu Wei is the Taoist idea roughly translated to not forcing. Embracing Wu Wei is to live by nature rather than against it. We see this law every time we force something and end up getting what we try to avoid.
Modern relationships are based on forcing through fear, coercion, what will my parent think, the status quo, etc.
I don't own my partner. I don't own my kids. I don't own my employees. I own no one but my thoughts, actions, responses, and results.
And when I forget this and feel entitled, bitter, or resentful towards others, I get misery and failure. And that's what I deserve because I violated nature.
If I want someone to act a certain way, I must persuade them to point out they want to work this way. And for as long as both parties wish to the parameters of the agreement, you have harmony, you have nature.
And the second the power shifts this way or that, the resulting imbalance always leads to destruction through the law of entropy (all things regress to disorder).
So you reevaluate and find a way to maintain homeostasis if you can. If you can't, acceptance is your next option. And if you don't accept that, then failure is all that's left.
Yet through this cyclical process that ALL relationships go through, the overwhelming majority of humans fight it every step of the way. They kick and scream. Hurl threats. Gaslight. Use whatever psychological—and sometimes physical—means they can to maintain their power over the other.
Poor souls fail to see the inevitability of entropy—the unavoidable fact that this power imbalance violates nature and is therefore destined to fail over time.
I hope more people start waking up to the futility of claiming ownership of other humans. It's a gross violation of nature and is never sustainable, no matter how long the coercive/corrosive power-based dynamic is at play. Nature always finds a way out.
We see this in politics today... the end of a cycle of the massive accumulation of power and money into the hands of a few.
The natural correcting process is already playing out. Trust in public institutions is the lowest it's been in 100 years. Ask anyone, and they will tell you how bad things are. Etc.
But things are fantastic, so don't buy that hype. Nature is correcting herself through the oscillating nature of swinging this way and that. Over time, humanity gets better, stronger, and more resilient.
So embrace this change as par for the course.
And in your own life, find what works for you and those around you by working up from first principles rather than top-down from orthodoxy.
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