"We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately"
In a recent comment, our good friend, Tomy mentioned that the division we are experiencing as a country/society is weakening us from within. He suggested that it is better to seek a level of harmony than foster discord, adding that he prefers to try to avoid conflicts that would cause more division among people than there already is…….and admittedly there is quite a bit. However, I feel that while division is usually regarded as undesirable, there are pros and cons to both unity and division.
Unity is certainly the ideal but it does require particular conditions for it to be efficacious. The best situation is naturally where unity exists because a group is in agreement. But there can be unity among differing parties if there is an underlying mission which supersedes the differences. The quote above is a prime example of this situation. Sure, there were arguments about what sort of government should be implemented after achieving independence, but achieving independence was still the unifying priority.
Rosa and I have long speculated that had Spain not appointed viceroys for its holdings in South America, once independence was achieved, the continent, perhaps with the exception of Brazil, would have ended up comparable in power to the United States. Simon Bolivar wanted this but was unable to convince those like Jose de San Martin to unite. Think of the richness of that continent united under one government constructed in a manner similar to our own and far less (though by no means immune) to petty corruption. Instead South America is a continent of individual countries, none of whom have the resource and power they would as one entity.
Jose, you should have listened to Simon!
" 'A house divided against itself, cannot stand.'* I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South."- Abraham Lincoln
*This quote-within-a-quote is from Matthew 12:22-28
And that's kind of my point now. While unity would be great, which side is going to give in to the other? Should one side just give in to the other? Are there times when people should stick to their principles even if it means going separate ways? In some situations it would seem so. I think that if I was in a survival situation with a random group of people and a portion of them adamantly clung to strategies I felt would get me and my family and friends killed, I think I'd rather go our own way.....even if it meant a smaller number.....than risk being brought down not just from outside threats, but from danger within. I gave an example of how division in gardening is sometimes a good thing. You take a large clumping plant, like a hosta or daylily that has grown crowded and weak, and fork-split it, and replant the smaller portions. Soon you have two thriving plants where you used to have one struggling one.
However, we are not plants, and not every situation is the same. As a country our strength can come from numbers. The political concept of divide et impera or "divide and conquer" is as old as it is effective. And if anyone thinks it is not being utilized today, think again. We will split over the most minute issues and in the process, trade in our strength ......which for a population is in numbers....... for impotence. As a country we wield enormous power both through our votes and our dollars spent. We could change ANYTHING. But we are far too preoccupied over bickering over minutiae to succeed, and our individual goals seem to be perpetually at odds. But are they?
What do people really want? What is important to them? Are these things radically different from person to person? Are the divisions we find ourselves facing more about method than goal? I think so. And there is a solution to 'divide & conquer' that is just as ancient: compromise and unite......with each word being of equal importance. Unity is the goal because that is what gives strength, but to unite without agreement is a fragile relationship. Compromise is also key. But there is a tragic requirement for compromise that is sadly lacking in people: intelligence. One needs to be able to think, evaluate, and then reason. Unfortunately, people seem far more inclined to follow someone else whose motives are likely not as altruistic as one might hope, than think independently so they can unify collectively with conviction.
[ In the next installment, we are going to take a humorous look at the serious issue of stupidity and how it keeps us weak. ]