Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right….


Gangs are for the weak and feeble thus we are all condemned.

We read and hear all the virtuous, judgemental twaddle regarding gangs and gang culture in society today, how heinous it is and how abhorrent those who subscribe to it are, and yet noone seems prepared to face the fact of why this behaviour perpetuates.

We began our evolution in tribe form – fair enough – but we are thousands of years on from that and yet seemingly no further evolved in our social mentality. Obviously I don’t include traditional, and usually remote, existing tribes from this discussion.

I come from a large family and, whilst we naturally formed a tribe as youngsters, we were an all-inclusive, welcoming group with space at the table for anyone else and room in our group for all. The mindset I grew up with was that everyone is welcome. Gang mentality is the polar opposite to this.

As a child I despised the little gangs that formed at school and always eschewed the narrow-minded and restrictive inevitability of having to conform to one ideal in order to apparently ‘fit in’. I liked having friends of all backgrounds and persuasions and didn’t appreciate the attitude of being unpleasant to, or about, anyone slightly different.

As I have matured I realise that it is a self-perpetuating inevitability that gang mentality, and in some cases violence and warfare, should continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Consider this objectively, honestly and simplistically;

Of which of the following ‘gangs’ are you a member?

Nationalist: Do you consider your nationality to be all pervading, outside sports and inter-country competition? Do you see other nationalities as different ‘gangs’? Do you feel threatened?

Political: Are you a subscriber to a particular political ‘gang’? Do you ridicule those with other political affiliations and views? Do you feel threatened?

Religious: Are you a practising believer of a faith in which you ‘gang’ together as a righteous pack of self-proclaimed ‘right folk’ in a world of ‘wronguns’? Do you look down on, and try to change, those who do not agree with your doctrines? Do you feel threatened?

Familial: Does your family group believe “family is everything”? “Blood is thicker than water”?  Do you look down on other families who do things differently? Do you feel threatened?

Class: Do you subscribe to this shite? Do you feel threatened?

Educaton: Do you see yourself as superior due to your fortunate educational background? Do you hate folk who have had a good education? Do you feel threatened?

Music: Do you judge people who like genres and forms of music that you don’t? Do you only socialise with those who share the same tastes? Do you feel threatened?

Other gangs in the series: Town and Country, sports team supporters, techies and luddites, Apple and PC, meat eater and vegetarian, traveller and homebody, Audi and BMW, Iphone and Blackberry….. is it dawning on you yet?

Gang mentality is a simplistic and highly under-evolved attitude. Most of the world subscribe to at least one gang and mark themselves out as a member, asserting their right and their view much of the time specifically in opposition to anyone with incompatible or conflicting views and opinions. I myself am a country girl, born and bred. I’ve tried the town and the city and the suburbs but it ain’t for me because I can’t live a truly low impact and sustainable lifestyle surrounded by concrete…… and to be honest, I’m terrified of crowds and I adore nature. That’s just how I roll. At least I’ve tried it. However, I have good friends who are confirmed city slickers and we love each other for our differences. There is the odd clash, times when I have to gently put them right on countryside facts or they have to gently put me right on city life. What binds us is the simple respect one human being can have for another, and the fun and pleasure that goes along with that ideology. There is no spiritual growth in the act of remaining firmly surrounded with like-minds.

I truly believe that for humans to continue to survive and, hopefully, thrive then we need to reevaluate our core attitudes and embrace our differences. I don’t believe for one second that the whole world can u-turn into a mass lovefest but I am sick to the back teeth of the petty bickering and fighting that is upsetting the balance continuously.

Sometimes I look at the global ‘troubles’ and feel sad, angry, irritated and ultimately hopeless. Did you know that the earth is in real strife? Our earth, our home? The why’s and wherefores are irrelevant, the facts speak for themselves. Do you realise that most of the misery in the world is due to some form of gang mentality or other, leading inevitably to brutality, subjugation, violence, destruction. I am only saying it as I see it but religion seems to be the unequivocal perpetrator of the very worst and the most insidious breakdown of society, culture and humanity. With greed/capitalism as a very close second. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realise what happy bed partners these two doctrines make. I’m sorry but please, show me otherwise if you can.

In my own experience, if you put an unharmonious group of people to an essential joint task you get staggering results. Perhaps we should all put down our weapons, religious and political doctrines, fashionable allegiances and outdated factional thinking and instead all put our minds to saving and protecting our home. After all, that’s what we would do on a local level in a crisis.

My final thought is this: Our house is burning down and everyone is fighting too hard about who’s in charge, who owns what and who is right. We’re all going to burn because we’re too busy acting like children. We just don’t have the luxury of time to argue any more.

Don’t shoot the messenger but Jamiroquai was right way back in 1993 : Image

NB. I don’t actually like my outdated metaphor as it is the children who are stepping up in these difficult times and putting their parents, the so-called adults, the ones in charge, to shame. Of course, we have to overcome the most simplistic divide of all in this instance – the lack of respect that adults show children, many of whom are far more enlightened than their elders.

Severn Suzuki, aged 12, speaking at the UN Earth Summit in 1992

Why haven’t we listened?

There is an emergency on planet earth, it’s their future, let’s grow up and act like children.

p.s. I have purposefully avoided naming any specific conflicts, if you don’t know what and where they are then you are fortunate to have lived in blissful ignorance under a stone all your life. Futility breaks my heart – do you have room for a small one?

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