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I looked at the two toddlers playing in a sand-pit. I could not help smiling when I noticed how the one boy with his carrot red hair and freckle washed little face was doing his level best to gather all the plastic toys around them into a position where he had total control over them. The little guy with the white hair was not happy with this turn of events. He got hold of a fairly bulky truck that was not secured yet and in a thin high pitched voice cried, “Mine”. I notice the frustration on the red haired little guy’s face when he puffed up his cheeks and attempted to wrestle the truck away from what he now perceived his enemy. Then things started happening rapidly. Before anyone could intervene the white haired little guy swung the truck like a golf pro and hit the red haired boy on the side of the head. The red haired little guy immediately dropped to his knees and started hollering for help and his mother. Both “fighters” mothers arrive on the scene with blistering speed. You could see that the red haired little guy’s mother was seriously pissed off. I think you get the picture. A wonderful play experience turned into a total disaster because the little boy with the red hair suffered with what I called the “entitlement” virus.
Have you noticed how most of us start accumulating things from a very young age. We have been conditioned with the perception of “mine” and “yours” from soon after our birth. This perception of separation is taken to extreme levels by us. You will when you become aware of this separation syndrome notice this everywhere. We are domesticated to stay in our box and look after the stuff that we accumulated while others that subscribe to this recipe do the same. Even within marriages you have this separation thing. You have “His” and “Hers” everything from towels to bank accounts. We have my car and your car, my house, my dog and my everything else. How many times don’t we talk about my doctor, my plumber, my bank, my gynecologist etc. We thus end up that even in a household you have this box subdivided into smaller compartments where everyone rules over his segment of the household. Look in the community where you live and you will suddenly notice all the compartments that we carefully constructed to bolster the separation mentality. This is one of the reasons why a man and a women can live in the same home for decades and still know virtually nothing about each other. We might now and then venture outside our little box to come and play with our partner or some friends, but rush back to our box and its safety the moment we notice any potential adversity on the horizon.
I noticed that things are very different in Eastern societies. You get a feeling that it is much easier to share in these communities. There is a much more intimate feeling of oneness here. It is much easier to share shelter, food, protection in these societies. You for example will find that a whole family will work together in the family business for the collective good of everyone. We in the west find it virtually impossible to keep our families together when the children reach an age where they can fly solo. They leave the nest and might periodically call or drop in for short visits, but do their own thing regardless of the collective status of such family. Please do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with flying solo or with building a future away from home. The point that I am making is that there is no need to disconnect mentally and emotionally when you have your own little box with its tiny garden and white picket fence.
How can we show real compassion when we live in a fog of entitlement? How can we become one family, community or one nation while everyone is adamant protecting and promoting his/her own importance? We will never work for the collective good of society while we rather beautify our own little box, lawn or garden while the community live in sub-standard conditions. Can you see how the divide and rule mentality that we hammer into our children from an early age weaken the structure that we try and survive in? How can we feel the plight of others while our own family, for example an aging mother or father that live and die in his or her little retirement box only see their family on old faded photos of a time now just a faded memory?