There was once a couple that were Barb and my best friends. That we lost them is entirely my fault, and like so many stories from my life, I find lessons in the loss. If only I could see the lessons in advance. Maybe I could find a way that would both make the losses less likely and fulfill the Mission as well.
Roger and I were probably the linchpin of the two couples in that Roger and I started as friends from our mutual membership in Kiwanis and drew that forward to the couple front. But it was close all around and the women quickly became the social directors. We were virtually inseparable. Since Barb and I have separated, she has succeeded in keeping contact with them, although my efforts of late have fallen almost totally on non-responsive ears.
Here’s how the falling out came about, as I saw it: Barb and I had already been living separately for several years, but Roger, Kristine, and I went to breakfast once a week at a restaurant conveniently located for breakfast.
As always, since 2001, my single obsession was getting my iideas accepted and understrood. At the time, I had finished The Call and was having nothing but trouble wiith finding a publisher. Kristine and Roger, of course, knew about as much as anyone about my ideas and my unusual solution to the environmental crisis a frequent topic of our conversations.
I was still in amazement at how strrong the resistance to the Message was. The main points that seemed crucial to me in people’s resistance were anthropomorphism and the belief that space was not the answer.
Perhaps the denial of the danger we are in came from elsewhere, but I thought it was driven by these two perceptions more than anything else. Whether rightly or wrongly, the biggest manifestation of resistance I saw was over whether humanity’s effects could wind up killing all life on the planet.
One morning I severely hurt Kristine’s feelings by using the “head in the sand” phrase when she pressed me too hard in trying to get admission that environmental problems weren’t as dire as I think. The context may have involved the legacy we’re leaving our grandchildren and, since she has at least five, there’s plenty of fodder for emotionality in the topic. I should have been more careful. Obviously she was having nothing of my points.
She has since refused to see me, or more to the point, has refused to allow Roger and I to continue our friendship. Or at least that’s my reading of it. From the outside, it’s only a guess.
The dynamics of the relationships are complicated, but I think that is a fair summary of the situiation. It’s been over a year now, and there is little doubt that the relationships, once so close, are now defunct.
I still think about it a lot, though, and have tried several times to kick-start some sort of revitalization, but to no avail. The other day while showering it occurred to me that refusal to accept my basic understanding of how dire the situation is the natural reaction most people have to the consonant dissonance that comes from seeing the problem as bad as it is but not believing in the solution I’m proposing as a real possibility. The heart of Kristine’s reaction may have been as much in her feeling powerless to stop the destructive forces from destroying as anything.
If the problem has only one solution and that seems impossible to achieve, then to avoid the dissonance, you simply don’t accept that the problem is as bad as it might be.
It’s the easiest–perhaps the only–way you can tolerate the situation.
Perhaps I am trying too hard to convince you that the environmental problems are as potentially devastating as I’m saying they are. Perhaps what I really need do is put forward the reasons I see that make the solution viable, and the power to bring that solution to the forefront.
Margret Mead is famously quoted as having said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” What I must do is remind those who already understand the possibilities of space of this truth, and inform the rest of you of those possibilities.
I think there are actually two tasks: the first to make you aware of the possibiities, the second to make you aware of your ability to change the focus of the public discussion from that which it has long been to that which it must become.