Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feeling Useful

     The sense of "agency" - competence, being capable, "feeling useful" seems to be a very deep basic human drive. If one isn't a "jack of all trades", and few of us are, then one needs to be a "team player". If collaborating with society doesn't work out, especially if one is rejected ("shunned" usually informally) by society, then there are fringe anti-social subgroups.
     Be it in the city, country or wilderness, a human being can rarely "make it" alone. Our ancestors, traveling in small bands, may well have left behind those who couldn't keep up or who could not otherwise contribute to the welfare of the group. So the sense of having to live up to familial, tribal, ... societal expectations is a very real, very deep, inborn motivator.
     But society is also sustained, nurtured, and advanced in unexpected ways. Court jesters - today's political comedians (Bill Maher, Jon Stewart etc) - help both rulers & society see absurdities, & hopefully deal with them more creatively (than avoidance or violence). Those rejected by society or vice versa, also serve as persistent open questions - how can society evolve to become more inclusive, a more healing / nurturing home for too many "wayward children".
     Deep down, all of us care deeply about the long-term welfare of the human race and planet earth. Each of one us is an inherent part of the whole.

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