Thursday, January 20, 2011


People are beginning to wake up: [they're saying] "I'm not separate from my community. I am my community!""  ~Bruce Lipton

Last night I got sucked into American Idol. I'm loving the new judges. But that's not actually what I was going to write about. After that, there was a PBS special on stress featuring lots of different scientists. Well, not Bruce Lipton, but Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. [Brilliant book--altho, not for the footnote phobic, which are some of the best parts]. Anyway, as you follow me thru this labyrinth of thought processes . . . here's Bob in Africa studying his baboons. He's been studying the same tribe for 30 years now. He was noting the usual hierarchy of alpha dominance in males, with subordinate males & females. Here's where it gets interesting: they started eating tainted meat from a resort trash bin, and some of them developed tuberculosis and died. Survival-of-the-fittest, Darwinian logic would say that the alpha males would be the ones to survive. In fact, the opposite happened; the alphas were less inclined to engage in daily grooming with the other baboons, they were more aloof. [they were the lone wolves of the baboons. haha] Not as much touching, loving & bonding. And they died off. Did the surviving males suddenly become more aggressive to take on a new role? No, there was a new community that emerged. Lots of grooming & cooperation. New males coming into the tribe would be aggressive or do the alpha dominance thing initially, but Zapolsky said that they adjust their behaviour. It takes about 6 months, but they get the message that "that's not how things work around here."

I'm reminded of a recent story about Egypt's Muslim community that banded together as a "human shield" to prevent bombers from attacking churches after an attack on New Year's Eve on (Coptic) Saints Church in Alexandria. Said one person:

“We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

How long does it take to bring peace into a community? It starts now.

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