An Easy and Ordinary Part of Life – 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 Invisibility of Success, session 4 reading: Are Ours the Religions of Humanity Itself?; The New Renaissance; Afterword: A Confession and an Apology
  • Brené Brown Book Club — Rising Strong, finishing session 4 reading: Eight – Easy Mark through Nine – Composting Failure

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

The Invisibility of Success

Are Ours the Religions of Humanity Itself?

“Those who let God run the world and take the food that he’s planted for them have an easy life. But those who want to run the world themselves must necessary plant their own food, must necessarily make their living by the sweat of the brow.” Compare Brené’s guidepost on cultivating rest vs. letting go of productivity.

Prohibition is the essence of our law, but the essence of tribal law is remedy. Misbehavior isn’t outlawed in any tribe. Rather, tribal law prescribes what must happen in order to minimize the effect of misbehavior and to produce a situation in which everyone feels that they’ve been made as whole again as it’s possible to be.” Compare the difference between shame declaring something irretrievably bad vs. guilt being something for which amends can be made.

“Tribal law doesn’t punish people for their shortcomings, as our law does. Rather, it makes managing their short-comings an easy and ordinary part of life.” Compare shame not being effective at fostering change in people while other things can be.

“Every time someone is sent to prison or executed, this is said to be sending a message to miscreants, but for some strange reason the message never arrives, year after year, generation after generation, century after century.” Again, compare shame being ineffective at fostering change in people.

The New Renaissance

“One of the key ideas that remained in place — and that remains in place today — is the idea that humans are fundamentally and irrevocably flawed.” Taker culture experiences shame and lack of self-worth on a culture-wide level.

“Far from being benign or harmless, it’s the most dangerous idea in existence. And even more than being the most dangerous idea in existence, it’s the most dangerous thing in existence… All the same it sounds pretty harmless. You can hear it and say, Uh huh, yeah, so? It’s pretty simple, too. Here it is: Humans belong to an order of being that is separate from the rest of the living community.” Brené repeatedly discusses the danger of othering and power-over.

“We don’t know how people will live here in 200 years, but we do know that if people still are living here in 200 years, they will recognize that we are as much a part of the living community — and as thoroughly dependent on it — as lizards or butterflies or sharks or earthworms or badgers or banana trees.” Compare Brené saying that people both need to give and need to need.

“Changing people’s minds is something each one of us can do, wherever we are, whoever we are, whatever kind of work we’re doing. Changing minds may not seem like a very dramatic or exciting challenge, but it’s the challenge that the human future depends on.” Compare Brené believing that leadership is for everyone.

Afterword: A Confession and an Apology

“… using the Permaculture approach to problem-solving, they will all be following (in widely different ways) Permaculture designs, systems, principles, ethics, and techniques.
“To put this in language that Ishmael readers are familiar with: They will all be living like Leavers…
“… Permaculture… is at peace with the world in every way; it isn’t just another way of growing food, it’s an entire and complete culture, different from ours and more wholesome than ours…” Connect Quinn calling Leaver/Permaculture cultures wholesome and Brené advocating for a Wholeheartedness revolution.

Rising Strong

Nine – Composting Failure

“‘But sometimes the greatest threat is keeping your head down and staying too focused on dodging the sinkholes that you lose sight of where you’re going and why.'” Connected to the notion that Taker culture keeps sticking with what it knows despite its many ills and even if it means driving the human species to extinction.

“It’s always helpful to remember that when perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun.” Given Taker culture’s drive to ever more perfectly conquer the world and to create utopian schemes within itself, it’s no wonder that it is also riddled with shame.

“[Blame] doesn’t have to make sense either. It just has to give us some sense of relief and control. In fact, for most of us who rely on blaming and finding fault, the need for control is so strong that we’d rather have something be our fault than succumb to the bumper-sticker wisdom of ‘shit happens.’ If stuff just happens, how do I control that? Fault-finding fools us into believing that someone is always to blame, hence, controlling the outcome is possible… I imagine most of us have had the experience of trying to blame and hustle our way out of the pain of I’m a screwup.” Compare Taker culture simultaneously striving for ever more control while also believing people are inherently flawed.

“… we are most dangerous to ourselves and to the people around us when we feel powerless. Powerlessness leads to fear and desperation. Look behind an act of violence, from bullying to terrorism, and you will often find a frantic attempt to escape powerlessness.” Compare Taker culture’s inherent and widespread violence alongside its ever-present attempts to gain power it feels it never has enough of.

“If we’re never allowed to fall or face adversity as children, we are denied the opportunity to develop the tenacity and sense of agency we need to be hopeful.” Compare Quinn’s Tales of Adam story about the lions needing their competitors in order to stay strong themselves.

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