Star Spangled Banner revisited
Although there seems to be "no fight left in me" these days, something like having been beaten on so long and helpless to prevent it on and on, until one no longer even thinks of struggling against the assaulters, life goes on, at least so far. A puzzle is why do people consume their valuable life effort to be involved in strife? The star spangled banner in above photo presumably was the very flag that Francis Scott Keys saw at dawn, the flag still waving over Fort McHenry despite having been bombarded by the cannons of the ship he rode as captive during the long night before. Clearly there is fatal attraction to strife among people, like the moth to the candle. Yet the above image is of a flag that had been participant in long ago strife and holds an honored position in America's Smithsonian Museum in the nation's capitol.
Football games move many people to a strife-centered loud active mode, rooting for their chosen team as they battle per the rules back and forth across territory of their own and that of their opponents, a symbolic football being the placeholder defining progress. The onlookers seem in an altered state of mind as if their own well-being is at stake in the outcome of the actions down there on the playing field. Possibly guzzling beer or soda and eating hot dogs while watching those players not so lucky to be munching those things now, but instead quite intent on the strife's doings, their body's physicality and that of the playing field, the symbolism of the territories and football placeholder, and aware of their teammates interactions while aware the opponent team who is focused on making them fail.
And that is the part that worries me, that part about teams focused on making others fail in their efforts. This world is so desperate for repair, how can humanity afford to waste effort toward causing others to fail?
The intense emotions involved among players and onlookers alike, are directed on what is being done. Life's energy is focused on making others fail, while also focused on one's own team's success. Both teams are engrossed in this activity, practice, practice, practice, perform for others too. Will this focus on teaming up to bring disaster to other people, not be a lurking ready pattern to play out in daily life, no longer just on the symbolic turf of the football field? Us versus them, ready to roll. If it colors what we see, we might be at risk of initiating efforts to cause failure of others, those unworthy "thems."
Out there on the stadium's football field, it is Americans versus Americans. Yes, but it is different school teams, different city's teams. No longer Americans together, but Americans apart. The shift from focus on building and repairing together, to focus on striving to interfere with other's efforts to succeed, seems an unruly shifter, bring risk that seems to me to be not really wise at all.
Yet clearly most people are deep into that kind of stuff, curled into them from youth, maybe even wired in at birth to some extent. A built in craving for attention to strife, forcing success of self while forcing failure of opponent. It must be a pattern that was in the survivors of the past, the ones who parented our ancestors, on to us now. It is not the strife of man against powerful predator sabre toothed tiger or huge mastodon, the hunt of the rabbit that does not want to be man's dinner now. Instead it is the strife of man against other man. No doubt strife for right to breed. It is not as if there was scarcity, because there are equal numbers of males and females born. One for one, nicely balanced. Did it start when two couples encountered each other, and one of the men decided he wanted both women as mates, and initiated destructive strife against the other couple's man, destroying him. And thus both women gave birth to sons of the kind of man that chose to take the other's mate while keeping his own mate too. In biblical times it is written where sons of powerful polygamists, they themselves being thus surplus, became warriors to assault other men so as to take their women; even to the conquest of fortified cities of old, killing the men inside and the soldiers thus provided with mates. This was not just long ago; it has recently been quietly determined that when Europeans came to the New World of Mexico and South America, that it was essentially an extermination of the men, and the women became mates of those conquistadores, produced the generations we now know as those areas' peoples. Very few pure Indios remain down there. And that was only a few hundred years ago, right here on our very own hemisphere's lands. It was not that way here in North America, we were much too diverse a European mix to not consider the Amerinds much the same; so we are not too aware of that mode of humanity's past.
Yet these instincts seem to remain, symbolized down there on the football field, the males teaming up assaulting each other, while their respective sexy females dance colorfully and invitingly. Surely noticed by the men of both teams. Winner take all, seems symbolic in it all. It is a matter of reproductive survival symbolized out there to the subconscious minds, a cruel fest that was played and won by lots of each one's ancestors. The losers are not represented here in present time; except possibly sometimes rarely through women's carried genes.
Yet as mankind grows larger, the planet giving life stuff to them remaining the same size, awareness that mankind as predator unlimited on the planet, increasingly bumps up against the edges, no more remains there to be greedily ravaged. The hunter-gatherer mode gives way to being land-cultivating farmer. Eventually knowledge grows as to how best to treat the land and waters so as to maximize its productivity to support large civilization. Earth's resources have always been assumed self-regenerating in the larger scale, but collapse of ecosystems and extinctions of food animals they hunted, brought hard reality, understood by those who survived to an increasing extent. Knowledge became valuable, then science's modeling of the natural world, engineering's deliberate shaping so as to maximize abundance for humans. Science figures out that it is all interlocked, the diversity of creatures and ecosystems providing cushions for recovery when the transients of the world slosh through. Managing the natural diversity becomes a huge new level as if world-sized agriculture. We all are responsible or we will perish along with our support base. We learn too slowly, sometimes also the too hard way unfortunately.
Yet the strife symbolically represented such as on the football stadium's action, still teaches on. It is a cathartic expression; is it dissipating the energy of "us eliminating them to get theirs too"; or is it a trainer for force lurking despite growing union to conserve our planet that we might live, even responsibility for nature's self regenerating diversity ways? Does "the bull in the china shop" simmer waiting for his chance to take over through destruction of the others?
And, I wonder, why do I feel so beaten, so endlessly assaulted these days? What is it that has taken all the fight out of me, as if there ever was much? It seems much like in those team sports games where a player is assigned to take out a person on the opposite team, I feel mowed down. Problem is, I don't recall joining such a game, even if I knew how to play it and chose to do so.