David Hines
Making we we
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By David Hines
June 9, 2013

What makes me part of the "we" that hosts the RG (Mensa Regional Gathering)? Is paying my dues sufficient? Seems to me those monies go to all sorts of purposes. How about paying registration? Carrying a tray from the kitchen? Or making a pot of coffee?

Claiming to be part of "we" may be mildly apropos, I guess. But for me to take credit via tangential association would seem to demean the exertions put forth by the relative few who devote a great deal of time to planning and execution.

What makes me a part of the Steelers "we"? Watching on TV? Twirling a Turribw Tauw? If that'll do it, when can I expect my paycheck from the Rooneys?

"We" can be terribly selective. When soldiers are kickin' behind overseas, we are doing it; when they commit atrocities or are implicated in on-base sexual offenses, we had nothing to do with it. This despite the fact that taxpayers supplied their salaries regardless of their actions.

In sports and politics (including geopolitics) "we" serves to cement affection, even if the team has no hopes of the playoffs. The coach may be a bonehead, the players out of shape, the stadium dilapidated, and the ticket prices larcenous, but we don't care.

We can avoid rational evaluation of our actions. Those who act attribute their actions to us in order to create a sentimental bond. We develop an emotional attachment to the actions – in the case of government, an involuntary financial one as well through taxation. We are threatened by criticism, even the most constructive sort. We are incapable of independent thought; that singular inability is what makes us "we." If what you say is not what we already think, you must be one of "them." We don't listen to them.

How, then, do we come up with any thoughts at all? Somebody decides for us, delineating the acceptable range of debate. They are "we"; we are merely extensions, endorsing the constructed version of reality.

Then who are the deciders? That's a question we don't ask. It's beyond the scope of our collective consciousness. Why would we ask, anyway? We have a team requiring cheering.

We often treat rather shabbily the likes of Galileo and Copernicus. But after the passage of a great deal of time, we can think no other way than what we once denounced. They were right, though at the time we could not admit it. So we draft them for our team. It's called a "draft" for good reason: they can't refuse, being long dead.

From geocentrism to WMDs, collective thought has evinced shortcomings. We don't have a stellar record of getting things right. So when someone tells me I'm a we, I'm pretty sure they're doing something fluid into the wind.

© David Hines

 

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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)

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