Scurrying Ever Since – As You Were

As You Were – looking for connections between the work of Brené Brown and Daniel Quinn as I revisit them in book clubs. See the introductory post for what this is all about. In this post, I look at:

  • Daniel Quinn Book Club — The Story of B, session 8 reading: Date Unknown; Saturday, June 1; The Great Remembering: 25 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfried, Radenau
  • Brené Brown Book Club — I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t), finishing session 4 reading: Eight – Practicing Compassion in a Culture of Blame

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

The Story of B

Date Unknown


Saturday, June 1


The Great Remembering: 25 May, Schauspielhaus Wahnfried, Radenau

“First, the dark background of each tribal area is what makes the tribal name stand out. What this is meant to show is that each tribe is defined by the solidity and density of its own laws and customs…. Second, the solid border around each tribe makes it clear that the cultural boundaries between tribes are impenetrable. A member of the Bak can’t just decide one day to become a member of the Hak; such a thing is quite unthinkable among tribal peoples anywhere the world.” Leaver cultures are well-boundaries – a key trait of wholehearted people.

“The Tak had the remarkable and unprecedented idea that everyone should live the way they lived. It’s impossible to exaggerate how unusual this made them. I can’t name a single other people in history who made it a goal to proselytize their neighbors.” Parallels various ways in which shame leads individuals to impose upon others.

“And that price is, next to death itself, the heaviest that can be paid: detribalization, lifelong exile.” Brené stresses the importance of connection.

“Every part of this process is the law, and every actor in it is a participant in the law. The law for these people isn’t a separate statute written in a book.” Connects to wholehearted people having a strong enough sense of self that they do not need to invariably defer only to external rules and laws in order to trust themselves to make their way in the world.

“When they looked into the past, they saw people setting out to build civilization, being already innately inclined toward civilization. When we look into the past no longer under the influence of the Great Forgetting, we see something very different: people inadvertently (but systematically) obliterating a highly successful lifestyle — then scurrying like mad to knock together something to replace it with. We’ve been scurrying ever since, and every year our legislators and political thinkers go back to work at the ceaseless task of trying to knock together something as workable as what we destroyed.” Compare the path of a wholehearted baby away from wholeheartedness, into a life defined by the things the Guideposts for Wholehearted Living tell us to let go of, and eventually coming to the spiritual breakdown of a mid-life unraveling.

“People everywhere were looking for alternatives to the traditional tribal way of making a living — hunting and gathering. They were looking at full-time agriculture and settlement, but if their particular experiment didn’t work, they were prepared to let it go — and they did so again and again.” Compare wholehearted people’s flexibility, as opposed to Taker/non-wholehearted people’s rigidity.

“It’s not hard to figure out what made people cling to the tribal life — and makes them cling to it wherever it’s still found today. Tribal peoples have their full share of suffering to do, but in the tribal life, no one suffers unless everyone suffers. There’s no class or group of people who are expected to do the suffering — and no class or group of people who are exempt from suffering.” Compare the us vs. them / “othering” / dehumanizing thinking of non-wholehearted people, which is at the root of creating a hierarchy in which a class or group of people is made to bear the burden of suffering.

“Everyone thought it had been this way from the beginning. Everyone thought this was the nature of the world — and the nature of Man. They began to think that the world is an evil place. They began to think that existence itself is evil. They began to think (and who can blame them!) that there was something fundamentally wrong with humans. They began to think that humankind was doomed. They began to think that humankind was damned.
“They began to think that someone needed to save us.
“It’s important for you to see that none of these ideas sprang from the tribal life — or could imaginably have sprung from the tribal life. These are ideas you expect to find welling up among people leading anguished lives, empty lives. You can make people live like cattle, but you can’t make them think they’re living well. You can render them powerless, but you can’t render them dreamless.” Compare non-wholehearted people crafting their identities around shame.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)

Eight – Practicing Compassion in a Culture of Blame

“I interviewed many women who talked about using anger and blame to cope with their overwhelming feelings of shame. What I heard from these women was a profound sense of regret and sadness about their misuse of anger. Turning to rage and anger as a solution for shame only increases our sense of feeling flawed and unworthy of connection.” Compare to Taker culture’s uber-competitive conquering beyond the Law of Limited Competition.

“We are all vulnerable to making these kinds of assumption or judgments. How many times have we heard or thought, ‘She’ll never be the same,’ or ‘She’s screwed up forever now’? We can also use the knowledge of someone’s trauma to explain his or her behavior.” Compare above, Taker culture coming to believe there’s something fundamentally wrong with humans.

“On one hand, I desperately want to be in the boys’ club. They have more fun, get better clients, make more money and have more freedom. On the other hand, I hate them. I don’t want to be like them or do what they do; I just want to enjoy the perks.” Compare Quinn describing hierarchy as a prison for those above just the same as those below.

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