Human nature is our saving grace, no matter what the news says. As an example, studies have shown that if you train and arm soldiers to kill others, during a fight only 15% of the soldiers will carry out that goal of killing others. This is why the military have developed drones that kill remotely, and arms that fire huge rounds of munitions, all in the hope that soldiers will not be restrained by their human nature. This seems to be reflected by the massacres in the USA, carried out by people who use military style weapons. For me this would be the best reason to ban them; I believe that if you looked closely at another your basic humanity might win through.
Similarly, it feels like our nature is to want to live in community, to live with an intention of helping others, including others, being in service to others. But again that drive seems to have been corrupted. Now seems to be a time of the trolls, those solitary creatures that live under bridges and endeavour to make others’ lives a misery. Trolls seem to have a strong sense of entitlement and privilege, believing that it is ok to behave the way they do. They combine this with blame that is delivered like snakebite, while taking zero responsibility for any situation. Don’t ever expect them to apologise with sincerity. They seek to destroy things like treaties and even groundbreaking climate accords. They promise alternatives that somehow never appear. Trolls are instinctively opportunistic, having only self-serving interests and no guiding principles.
So what to do in a Time of Trolls, a time of pending darkness? This is the time for us to remember our nature, our desire for fun and play. So many of us have made life about hard work, about building some form of safety net and in doing so we have forgotten how to play. It is true we are faced with mountains of plastic and unstable weather patterns, but the solution will not be to work hard to reverse this. It was hard work that got us into this mess and in doing so we lost a sense of our true nature and even a sense of the nature around us. Once we start to play we begin to remember the wonder of this world; with that comes the feelings of enchantment and with that we begin to renew our devotion to the natural world.
What destroys enchantment is iron and steel, industry, hard work and also being right and refusing to embrace our vulnerability. Much of our engineering is essentially destructive in nature and our level of consumerism is eye watering. Simply put, how much time do you spend shopping compared to the amount of time you spend on creative fun projects? In this regard we are way, way off centre. Recently in a seminar someone yearned for the gift of “wild imaginative silliness”. It touched as all as we remembered those times of having so much fun and silliness, knowing how that takes our humour to a new level. In doing so we begin to reopen our hearts and learn to love again.
It might be true that Trolls don’t do much loving. However I also feel I don’t love enough. I have certainly not loved enough in the past and it is a road I need to move down faster. While we can sit and debate many things, in the end I think the question will be, “How much did you love?”
Today might be a good day to start.