Team of international diplomats with advanced expertise to move out of the way all players in the way of getting massive — unprecedented — quantities of humanitarian aid to millions of Syrian people whose standard of living is literally dirt, and to get the incredibly wealthy nations of the world to deliver that aid.
I’m thinking about starting a normal people anonymous support group.
Members have the right to define normal for themselves but not for anyone else in the group.
You’re anonymous to each other, at least at the start of your membership. If you surrender your anonymity with another member, that’s okay. You can still attend, together or separately, but it is recommended that you come out of the closet about it, for your own good.
If you have sex with somebody in the group, that’s normal, even if you remain otherwise anonymous to each other.
You do peer-led programs, activities or projects together, such as 12 steps, meditation, yoga, hiking, book study, nature study, photography, joke-telling, litter cleanup, gardening, sailing, canoeing, singing, teaching disenfranchised children how to fish, putting Kahlil Gibran in every hotel room, Christmas caroling in July, picketing industrial cattle and chicken growers, making art together, including music, Amazon forest fire-fighting, skinny-dipping (peer-led), putting on a play about climate change and domestic abuse of males, or what-have-you things that normal people do.
The normality of the activity is as beheld by the peer leader, and you quietly accept it and have fun, perhaps expanding or shattering your notions of normal, and squelching the ferocity of your clinging to them.
The peer-led things, the anonymity, and the group dynamic are good for you. You affirm this aloud in unison at every meeting and outing, holding hands in a circle, a perfectly normal thing to do with strangers.
The anonymity is to help avoid the stigma of being normal, even more normal than most others are. In the group, you can enjoy — if possible — a place where you can be non-judgmentally welcomed by similarly frustrated normal people. You define “non-judgmental” loosely, considering its extremely elusive nature, like unconditional love.
You take it all lightly with good humor because you all know that normal exists only from your perspective in the mirror. That is the guiding principle. Take your normality lightly. You affirm it together in unison, religiously, sorta.
Over time, with consistent participation, you may be able to give up excessive notions of your normality, as one might give up excessive drinking, smoking, or gambling, and be freed of the pathetic frustration you inflict upon your deluded self. Amen.
Take your normality lightly.
You might enjoy this hour of David Brooks talking at the Commonwealth Club. His new book (among several) is The Second Mountain; The Joy of Giving Yourself Away.
Recording (an hour):
also available in a Commonwealth Club podcast
Brooks is a “moderate conservative” (he discusses this in the recording, saying he is really more of a 19th Century Whig) NY Times columnist, TV and radio pundit/commentator, book author, philosopher, and now director of a social movement called Weave: The Social Fabric Project with the Aspen Institute (weareweavers.org – you’ll like his 2-minute video on this page; find out about the project in the text under the menu bar items).
I’ve been a big fan of Brooks for many years. I once posted a comment on his Twitter page nominating him for Secretary of Reason in the next White House administration. (I don’t use Twitter anymore. Or Facebook.) But I guess it wouldn’t make sense for the government to have a Department of Reason.