There is a thought experiment I engage in on occasion. I imagine trying to suggest to two fundamentalists of two different religions, for example, a Christian and a Muslim, that what connects the two true believers has more weight than what divides them. In my thought experiment, I ask that each imagine two sets of parents, a Christian couple and a Muslim couple, and each couple has a child with no hearing and no sight. Each child is to be raised believing in his or her parents’ religion while only touch can be used to communicate the central tenets of their belief. I then ask how the two children, grown older, could differentiate the two beliefs. How would they know one religion from the other?

Remove the words from religion and truth remains.

I observe the American Left and Right for differences in behavior that would suggest deeper truths than the words that I hear them say.

“You have something to protect. We will help you protect what is important to you. In our community, we protect ourselves from outside threats.” This argument is what I hear the Right say. These words encourage people to experience what is valuable to them: family, money, self concepts. An underlying message is, “You shall be rewarded in proportion to what you have.” If the right had no words, there would be no action. Silently, in the dark, how would the Right communicate these principles? The Right needs to generate a time dissociation, either fear of the future or embrace of the past, for the communication to stick. With no sight or sound, future and past are difficult to grasp.

“If you have more than is necessary, we require that you share. If you have little, we will provide. In our community, we make sure all have good quality of life.” Words from the Left are easy to express while soundless in the dark. These words are understandable with only actions available to make the concepts clear. Relationship is engaged. There is taking and giving, sharing. Left concepts are easily manifested in behavior in the here and now.

When Indo-European warriors on horses galloped into India and Europe, the established matriarchal societies were destroyed. The ancient Left, for example, the tribal aboriginals of Western Europe, found that communities of sharing were inappropriate responses to roving communities intimate with threat. In a world where these communities collide, often it is the Right with the more congruent, more useful message.

In our world, it is not patriarchs riding in on horses. These days, it is the young, and they are networking through new technologies: the web, social networking and cell phones. The new Left are those intimate with the rituals of sharing, sharing technologies and communities characterized by celebrations in the present. They are not clinging to the past or protecting the present against the future.

The Left has returned. It is the Left with the more congruent communication, the more useful message. It is the Left whose message makes sense soundless in the dark.


This entry was posted on Saturday, November 8th, 2008 at 6:49 am and is filed under Activism, Society, Web. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Comments so far

  1. Carl Davidson on November 8, 2008 10:08 am

    Your thought experiment was actually tried, in a way, on one person, Helen Keller, both blind and deaf, and she became a socialist of some influence in her day.

    But she didn’t get there directly through touch. Touch became a stepping stone to language, which, in a way, also serves as an internet between human brains.

  2. Sadi Synn on November 21, 2008 12:26 pm

    Of course, without the protection of the right, the left would become victimized. Very much, a Yin and Yang universe this is.

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