The Problem of We

The Problem Of “We”

“We” comes in all sizes. Two or two dozen on to millions, but each more than one is “we”.  I was about to say of human kind, but I have two sons that think “we” might include the dog. So let’s go back to the concept of “we” simply as a plurality. A plurality that implies some connection, You, singular or plural, and I forming that “we”.

The problem with “We” is that it is so much larger than I, at the very least double. This multiple might not prove controllable. How much of “me” do I have to sacrifice to become “we.” Is the “I” willing to work at its own integrity or have it assigned?  A too reasonable “I” might become invisible or devolve from significant to the “significant other” who is not the One. This could be a problem. To be part of the “we” is to give over  something that will grow to enhance the “I,” hopefully, and give the “I” a new venue for growth. This larger entity might completely subsume the “I” and then where would  “I” be? Doubt, fear and hesitation creep into what should be a free exchange.

 The mysterious darkness of difference separates “I” and “we” . The strands of connection run through this outer place like a fibrous web. I envision muscle tissue more than a spider’s web. This is a stronger more flexible, sinewy thought, expanding and contracting according to need. The interstices allowing the movement and the shiny tissue slipping easily over one another holding the connection, lubricated with actions and words, communion. There is the powerful interrelation that doesn’t become “we” and that is the “I” in relation to the divine. The difference in power is too great. So to have “we”, the other must not be of another dimension entirely.

There is a greater  “We” in which “I” will  be content to subsume my Self. Let’s not forget “WE THE PEOPLE”  The common cause, the common good, the great adventure I cannot do alone. This is as close as it gets to the truth. “We” live in community.

The “we” that is the family is a never ending drama of support and blame, nurture and destruction. The whole kaleidoscope of life playing in the colors over this limited field. Teenagers go out of their way to tear away and then run home quickly. They feel squelched and imprisoned and secured to the earth  by the formation. Their “I” has nothing extra or nothing strong enough to be “we”. People seem to get into the most trouble when there isn’t a place to struggle against, to brace them so they can scale the wall. The “We” that has become “they” until the thirties when the “we” is once again accepted into their new framework. Who else really wants to admire you and your children and be helpful?

The singular becomes neurotic or at the least eccentric without the compromise that “we” necessitates or is a reflection in the mirror. Many older people who have gone through many “we” s come back to “I” with not very happy results. Each will swear that each is self-sufficient. They say defensively, ignoring the implied plurality. “I am happy with my own company…just me, myself and I.” “I like doing things my own way.” “I am sick of discussion.” They don’t seem happy to me without the complaint. I have seen this so often that it must be a preparation for the only thing we truly do alone, ignoring the possibility of angels and deity. At birth our mother was there. I think that Emerson got it exactly right. “Solitude is best when shared.”  Life is the great adventure “I” cannot do alone.

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