Herb Ruhs: Our Imperfections and Vulnerabilities Make Our Mutual Dependency Strong


I have been working on the growing insight that our imperfections are what makes our social groupings strong. Real humans feel best when deeply embedded (did the Army ruin that word?) in a dense network of mutual dependency. That only really works if evolution has equipped us with vulnerabilities that lead us to depend on others. No vulnerability, no society.

Try to imagine a society built of only Robinson Crusoes, fully self-reliant, hyper-libertarian types with no need for anyone else. Actually, we tend to have a form of that here in Mendoland, and it is why our society is weak and we find ourselves continually at the mercy of human predators, the lizzards in human skin to whom we give power over ourselves.

We are meant to find those individuals and groups that compliment our weaknesses, make us more whole. Instead we are taught to look for people as much like ourselves as possible and try very hard to never feel in debt to anyone, except possibly our parents. It is a terrible way to live. As a result we get all kinds of people who end up bad at what they try to do because they are continually trying to model themselves on “successful” people in order to gain acceptance. They end up trying to do things that they are least equipped by nature to accomplish. We have become a nation of conformist failures because we denigrate our uniqueness and treat our varying disabilities as shameful rather than the raw material of the social links we are meant to make in order for our social group to be stronger than the sum of its parts.

The current authoritarian conformist dominant view is like watching people trying to work a picture puzzle where all the pieces are alike and none fit together properly. Dr. Brown, “Connection, Shame, and Vulnerability” video, explains this concept beautifully in twenty minutes. Time well spent.