You Must Swim – 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:

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If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways

Thursday: Morning

“To learn how to swim, you must swim. It’s not something that can be described. Someone has to throw you into the water.” Compare Brené believing there are no easy how-to answers and that Wholeheartedness is an ongoing practice.

“Let’s make a conjecture: There was no felt need for anyone to make sense of it.” Quinn and Brené both deal with phenomena which some people believe unquestionably need addressing while many other people don’t question those phenomena at all.

Elaine. The story we tell ourselves is that being fully human means planting crops and building civilization. This makes us the only true humans. In order to maintain our status as the only true humans, we don’t want to look at the humanity of our hunting-gathering ancestors. We want to deny their humanity. They weren’t in any sense real humans at all. They were just Stone Age brutes. So we don’t have to think about them.
Daniel. To accord them humanity is to deny that we — and we alone — are humanity, which is an important element in our cultural mythology.” Compare Brené on othering/dehumanizing.

Thursday: Afternoon

“I’ve already mentioned that Marshall Sahlins described Stone Age peoples as the first affluent society. They had a life of ease, compared with ours. Contrary to the popular conception, they didn’t live on the knife-edge of survival. To put it in technical terms, they expended far fewer calories to stay alive than their agricultural descendants… In Ishmael and elsewhere I pointed out that, in addition to this, tribal peoples have a life they enjoy living… Factually speaking, where their culture hasn’t been undermined by our own, they’re not constantly struggling with anxiety, rage, depression, drug addiction, and crime. This isn’t to say that they’re sweeter, more spiritual, more high-minded, more generous, or more selfless than we are. They’re just as susceptible to selfishness, temper tantrums, bad judgment, and violence as we are, though they have a different way of handling these things than we do.” Compare Brené on various Guideposts for Wholeheartedness and on the value of embracing imperfection.

“Most people in our culture strive for a maximum of control over their destiny…” Compare Brené on shame going along with control, power-over, rigidity.

Friday: Morning

“Mother Culture is… the personification of all the collective wisdom that comes to us from our parents, our schoolteachers, our textbooks, our movies, our television commentators… Mother Culture wants to reassure us that everything we’re doing is okay.” Compare Brené on the prevalence of shame/scarcity culture and the way people get and stay stuck unless/until they have a breakdown/awakening.

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