“Marriage is socialism among two people.”
– Barbara Ehrenreich
Terms such as ‘self’ and ‘socialist,’ as well as ‘capitalist’ or ‘egalitarian’ require specific definitional boundaries lest any discussion devolve into meaninglessness. Terminology is critical to rational dialogue. Some terms, though, simple monosyllabic words, contain a plethora of definitions and meanings, sometimes contradictory. Language itself is a word which attempts to define itself. What is language?
The Latin root of the word ‘language’ is ‘linqua’ which itself comes from the Pre Indo-European (PIE) ‘dnghu’ and which translates into English as ‘tongue.’ Other definitions refer to words, speech and oratory. Without language, would we have a ‘self?’ The Greek word for ‘self is ‘autos’ and the term ‘autism’ is, essentially, ‘selfism.’ Autism is considered a ‘spectrum‘ ‘disorder.’ It is only considered a disorder in the context of current cultural norms, which themselves may be limited and narrow. As a spectrum, there are degrees, not absolutes. One can postulate absolute extremes, and a severely autistic person would be two or three standard deviations below the norms of the day. Likewise, an autistic person, a selfistic person, could be two or three standard deviations above the norms of the day.
Typically, the measurement is predicated on social skill sets. That is, the more autistic or ‘selfistic’ one is, the less social skills are exhibited. The less selfistic one is, the more social skill sets are exhibited. One of the more fundamental drivers of human behavior is socializing. Human beings are very social creatures. One could argue that all human progress is predicated on social interaction, on collaboration, on ‘socialism.’ One of the more common reasons a selfistic person is often frustrated and tantrum prone is because they cannot engage in ‘normal’ social interactions, normal socialism. They are typically unable to use words well, to communicate their needs and wants, to listen, and hear, to read social cues and signals, to adjust and adapt to new situations. As one might imagine, the inability to satisfy a basic drive such as socializing can lead to outbursts of frustration often labeled as a ‘tantrum’ or severe withdrawal such as ‘depression.’
If a selfistic person learns to be more social, they would find life more enriched, more rewarding, more satisfying. But, the very nature of a selfistic person is to be wary of social interaction for it requires a social skills set which, if not available, or learned, makes socializing both difficult, and scary. A social life is a larger life than is the selfistic life. That larger social life is pervasive and even ‘normal’ people often fail to acknowledge the incredible dependence upon social spheres. Social spheres are more than family, community, state or nation; there is a planetary social sphere of complex multi-leveled interactions; the solar social sphere is even more expansive and quickly goes beyond rational dialogue. But, consider, all life on the planet, no matter how interwoven, how large or small, fast or slow, is dependent upon the sun.
The term ‘social’ originates from PIE ‘sekw’ which translates as ‘to follow.’ The selfistic person desires, perhaps more than anything else, to participate in and contribute to, in a sense, to follow, a social sphere larger than itself which is deemed of value, import and relevance. From the initial pairing of man and woman to form a basic social unit, to children and family, to community engagement, and beyond, the drive to be part of something more than what we are as a selfistic individual is undeniable. The selfist often fails to recognize the comprehensive support received from the social sphere, be it family members, community services or planetary climate and the vast host of life upon which the selfist is dependent. Even the ruthless competition of ‘self-interest’ is predicated on a social system which necessarily involves others in an economic system. The word ‘economic’ is, as are many English words, Greek in origin, and translates as ‘home management.’ Just as it has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, so too the selfistic person is utterly dependent upon the immediate and larger sociosphere in which it exists, the larger village. The selfistic person, no matter how individualized, exists within a social context, a village, if even global. The selfistic person is, essentially, a socialist. The selfistic socialist uses the social milieu to enhance itself. A socialistic selfist uses social resources to enhance social life, which includes, and respects, the individual selfist. Out of the vast communal sea of social existence arises waves of selfism which is saturated with socialism in the same way an individual wave on the ocean is saturated with ocean – is, in essence, nothing but ocean, in a unique individualized temporary ‘selfistic’ form.
The grand developmental task of selfistic human beings who all swim in a social sea is to organize social systems which support and encourage collective collaboration with the aim of benefit for all, whether in small family groups, or large nations, or even as a global species. Of course, this requires the average person to exhibit basic social skills, including cognition and perception, as well as objective behaviors. Ideology is one thing; action another.
Learning social skills is an inborn, innate capacity, as is learning languages. Social skills are learned in many ways, observation, emulation, imitation, role playing, trial and error, intellectual constructs and a modicum of consciousness. The human brain is wired for life long learning and, being social selfists, social skills are a set of cognitive-behavioral patterns that can when learned and applied be very conducive to selfistic well-being within the social sea. Below are a few links to web sites which offer some basic information on learning social skills.
“Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.”