Each and every one of us has ancestors who were displaced from their tribal origins and became, to their colonizers, one of a “herd of two-leggeds”; people who were demoted to the lowest rung on the ladder of importance (and expendability) in “civilized society.” Who, after they were starved of family, ritual, purpose and self-worth (not to mention of the nutrients, energy and consciousness of their land), were, if not physically enslaved, finally willing to hand over the better part of their lives to an employer whose privilege was improved and solidified with the blood, sweat and tears of their labor.
Today, in the western world, these hierarchically driven employers, companies and institutions (all within the construct of a colonial society) offer, in exchange for labor: basic needs met + varying degrees of hierarchical status (which come with varying feelings of inclusion, being valued and safety) + varying degrees of material luxuries (offered as incentive to improve an individual’s free time as well as their hierarchical status and therefore an increased sense of value and inclusion in the community and therefore incentive to reach even higher up the ladder, distancing themselves further from the possibility of falling off the lowest rung of the proverbial “ladder” and into the land of the unknown and the abyss of the forgotten).
As Isabel Wilkerson highlights in her book “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents” one of the primary reasons for the higher rates of racist violence, behavior and points of view in “lower class” white America is because the individuals in this class realize they inhabit a very low rung on the ladder. They don’t want to be the most expendable. They need to know that there is someone lower than them because they sense (and they are correct!) that they are not far from the “abyss of the forgotten”. To this point, some people, based on their race, gender, I.Q., the health of their nervous system, their level of ancestral trauma (or the depth of betrayal and abandonment passed down to them), are stuck in a swamp of external or physical world oppression much deeper than others. They have glass ceilings all around. This is due to a myriad of reasons depending on their situation. Fundamentally, however, if an individual feels oppression, they are likely feeling the fear that is fueling those on rungs of the ladder above them, and the hell-bent agendas to keep someone (or a group of someones) lower!
Our society is a far cry from a “tribal culture” or “village of people”; it is a system of corporate and institutional interests that sway, not to the winds of creation, but to how important an individual is to either the gross domestic product of the nation, or to the hierarchical interests of the individual who governs them.
We're all in this together.
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