We Owe it to Ourselves to Tell the Truth to Each Other
April 30, 2018
We owe it to ourselves as a country and as a nation to tell the truth to one another.
We owe it to ourselves as a country to make telling the truth our personal commitment and our mutual agreement and understanding, and our basic and foundational approach to sharing information and to communicating directly with one another.
Telling the truth can help us survive as a people and a nation.
If we want to have a country that will succeed and survive and consistently thrive — and if we want to leave our grandchildren a world where they will not be at war with each other as groups, and hurting and damaging each other in very intentional, multiple ways as a basic and constant set of both group and individual behaviors, then we should agree now to have our shared set of values as a nation guide our behaviors.
We should make telling the truth both an expectation and a shared value to give us a respectful and positive context for our interactions with one another.
Sun Tzu wrote two thousand years ago in his book, The Art of War, that telling lies is a core strength and a key success strategy, tactic, and skill needed to succeed in times of War.
Today — as we enter into our own troubled times, and as we very much want to avoid being in an internal War with ourselves — we need to understand the reality that making the commitment to only say things that are true can be an extremely important strategy, tactic, and foundational behavior that can help us be successful in achieving Peace for ourselves.
Truth has the power to steer us at multiple levels that can support us being at Peace with ourselves as a nation.
Simply committing very directly and very explicitly to not tell lies to each other can help create a context for interacting with one another that can become a core and essential strength and tool for succeeding in essential components of The Art of Peace.
That used to be what we did.
We used to tell the truth.
Truth telling used to be part of the American Way of interacting with one another. We have slipped away from that core value for far too many of our communications because of our intergroup division levels, and we have damaged ourselves as a result.
This is a very good time for us to restore telling the truth to its historic position as a core and universally shared American value.
Shared values are important. We need shared values to help bring us together as a nation and a people and telling the truth is a value we can all see, understand, and commit to in the interest of intergroup Peace.
It is extremely important for us at this point in our history to have explicit and clear shared values that guide our lives in ways that give us an on going sense of being an American Us because if we do not become a values based Us, we will destroy ourselves as a nation and all of our groups will be damaged forever in the process of going to war with each other.
We need to be an American Us to keep that from happening.
Instincts are the reason why that is true.
We have very powerful intergroup instincts that we need to understand and manage in effective and intentional ways if we want to avoid becoming a nation at war with itself.
Our inter group related instincts very clearly and directly put us at high risk today because those instincts can do immense damage when they steer our thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors in negative directions and we are in the process of activating those instincts in multiple very dangerous ways in too many settings and too many situations in our country today.
We need to be an Us as a nation, or we will tribalize into warring groups in very powerfully divisive ways at highly instinctive levels and we will face massive inter group problems as a result of that tribalization.
Our instinctive behaviors will cause us to damage one another in ways that we will all deeply regret over time because of how much damage those behaviors will cause us all. In the short term, however, there is a high likelihood that we will not regret those behaviors and it will be very easy for us to feel that doing negative things is entirely and completely the right thing for us to do.
The sad truth is that we will unfortunately far too often actually embrace those most negative and damaging behaviors as individuals in the moment when that damage happens because those tribal instinct channeled emotions and that sense of intergroup anger can be so powerful and so seductive when those perceptions are activated that they can take over our minds and cause us to act entirely in the context they create for each of us in that point in time.
When that is happening to each of us, we tend to feel completely right in the moment of doing the damaging and even evil things we do to one another.
The four InterGroup Understanding books on instinctive behaviors all describe how that process works and explain at length what those instincts do to steer our thoughts, behaviors, values and emotions when they are activated.
What we all need to know and understand is the very important fact that our tribal instincts can be dangerous, destructive, and emotionally seductive once they have us in their grasp and steer us into conflict with other tribes.
When we tribalize, we can far too easily deeply embrace behaviors that help our own group and that are intended to damage the other group.
It is a good thing to protect our own group. We all tend to protect the people we love and the people who we perceive to be our Us and that behavior to support our Us can be very good to do. Our commitment to our own group can trigger very positive feelings and behaviors and those behaviors that help and benefit our Us should be encouraged, supported, appreciated, and even celebrated.
We Feel a Deep Need to be in an Us
Being Us is a good thing.
Being Us is clearly something we each feel a need to do.
We all feel the deep and highly instinct driven need to be part of an Us, and that is a good instinct to satisfy in our lives.
We should do things and create opportunities that help us all meet that basic need for everyone to be an Us because that need actually needs to be met for each of us and because we each tend to feel significant stress, anxiety, frustration, unhappiness and concern when that need is not being met for us by at least some element in our lives.
We each tend to be very unhappy whenever we are not part of an Us that we feel is relevant to our lives.
It is possible to meet that particular need with multiple categories and levels of Us. We have amazing and highly useful flexibility relative to being able to satisfy that need. We can meet those needs to be an Us with a sense of family, clan, tribe, community, profession, or any of a number of other alignment groupings that can cause us to feel like an Us at a relevant level for our life.
Cults and gangs can both trigger a powerful sense of Us for the people who are in cults and gangs. People often join cults or gangs to have that need met in their lives.
It is not a bad thing to be an Us. In fact, it is almost always a good thing for each of Us to be in an Us — and we should all do things that get those needs met for each of us in the ways that are most appropriate and useful for our own lives.
We all want to be Us. We want to be part of a group. We tend to be significantly flexible in figuring out ways of making being part of a group happen — and when it does happen for us and when we feel that we are accepted and included in a relevant and real Us, that alignment can have a major positive impact on our lives.
That feeling of being included in an Us guides our thoughts and behaviors relative to that group of people. We feel comfortable and safe when we are surrounded by our Us. We all want to help our Us — and it generally feel very right giving our group the support we feel that it needs when support is needed.
That set of thoughts and emotions that are triggered by having a sense of Us, sometimes has a negative component, however, because when we figure out who is our Us in any setting, we also tend to look around us to figure out who in that setting is Them — not Us.
Us/Them instincts have great power over our thoughts and emotions at both positive and negative levels.
We have very strong, highly protective and sometimes very negative instincts relative to people we perceive to be Them. At a very core and basic level, we tend to distrust Them, and we often fear that we will be damaged by Them.
We each instinctively have a tendency to feel anxiety, discomfort and stress when we perceive that we are surrounded by Them or are under the power of Them in some way.
Sadly, those instincts to feel anxiety, caution and even fear at an ancient and purely instinctive level when we feel that we are in a situation or a setting involving a Them are not irrelevant to the world we live in today.
Those instincts can create dangers for us today, and we should recognize that to be true.
The truth is that in our world there actually are people who feel like and believe that we are a Them to them — and those people who feel that way about us are too often capable of doing damage to us in various very intentional ways because of those feelings.
There are dangerous people in our country and in the world who have those instincts activated in their minds against us right now, and some of those people can be a real and current danger to us if they have the opportunity to do us wrong in a wide variety of ways.
That is not theory. It is very real and we need to understand that being afraid of Them even in our own country might be the right thing to do and a very legitimate way for us to feel. Each of us has some neighborhoods in American cities where we are not safe walking down the street alone today because dangerous people in those settings can easily perceive us to be Them and many people who have those instincts activated are willing to do damage to us if that opportunity exists.
Physical danger is real as a result of those instincts being activated. So is damage at non-physical levels. The Internet can create a context for very serious attacks at an intergroup instinct level that are just as instinct driven as the face-to-face attacks we can see in some settings.
We face the risk of attacks, damage, and danger at multiple electronic interaction and connectivity levels and formats that did not exist just a few years ago.
The internet has been the format and context for some very serious and ugly intergroup attacks in our country that very clearly follow negative and direct instinctive interaction values, emotions, and behavior patterns.
Our most modern sets of devices and tools now create a technology-supported context for some of our most ancient and ugly and even evil intergroup behaviors.
We clearly are seeing too many people with those sets of intergroup instincts activated who are using internet connections of various kinds today to attack other people.
Those attacks can be really ugly, cruel, and evil in part because the anger levels are so high for some people and because those social media level attacks can often be functionally anonymous with the real identities of the attackers hidden from the normal constraints that might constrain people from being involved in those most damaging behaviors if they personally were visible as an attacker and as a participant in the process.
Those angry and damaging Internet behaviors are all clearly structured by the inter group instincts that guide and trigger them and they are painfully predictable because when people truly feel that other people are an evil Them, no level of attack is too extreme to be used and every tool feels like an opportunity to hurt the people who are the subject of inter group hate.
Unfortunately, it can feel very right at a deep instinctive level to do damage to any group that is believed to be a threat to our Us. We tend to feel that is right to do what we can do to prevent the other group from succeeding in whatever it might be doing that might damage our group and we feel that attacking the other group is a legitimate thing to do because those attacks help our own group either win or survive.
We activate those sets of feelings and behaviors in a wide range of settings.
Those group linkage to instincts can be particularly damaging when we have organized ourselves into the functional equivalent of Tribes in any setting and when we have the reinforcing energy of other members of our own tribe to direct against Them as well as the perceived instinctive need to protect our group activated in direct ways by the actual existence of our group.
The patterns are clear and they are consistent in all inter group settings where we have activated our tribal thoughts, emotions, instincts, and behaviors. We each always want our own tribal group to be protected and to prevail and we are ready to act in a wide range of ways to protect our own group whenever we feel that our own group needs that support and protection from us.
People can hurt other people and feel no guilt then that damage is being done if we believe that the damaging behavior is being done to protect or support our own Us.
When we perceive people in our cities and our communities to be enemies, we can far too easily do things to discriminate, damage, and hurt whoever we feel is an enemy to our group in each setting.
At this point in our history as a country, we need to do very intentional and intellectually enlightened things to keep those kinds of ugly, damaging and emotionally seductive behaviors from happening now in our communities and putting us into a future where people hate each other as groups and are literally willing to spend generations damaging the other groups that are part of the overall fabric of America.
Preventing those negative inter group behaviors from happening in our communities and various work and school settings can functionally be done if we understand exactly what those instincts are and if we do things to have our best instincts bring us together as a people in each of those settings instead of driving us apart.
We Need to Create a Sense of Being a Values Based American Us
To succeed in that effort to prevent those behaviors from tearing our communities apart, we will need to build and re build a sense of being an American Us that is based on the enlightened and positive values we share and then we need to very intentionally build a future of Peace and collective safety for us all from that American Us foundation.
To build a strong and healing sense of being an American Us that can give us a future of mutual success, safety and even prosperity, we need a set of shared values and behaviors for all of us to tie us together as a nation and a people.
We each need the comfort and the peace of mind that comes from an alignment with our various categories of Us — and we also need to add on to that sense of alignment and identity that will exist for each of us with our own groups a strong functional sense of also being an American Us — brought together by the values we share.
We do not need to surrender our sense of being Us with our own most relevant personal groups and alignments in order to become an American Us at a very real and powerful level. We can be in more than one Us at a time. That is an extremely important point to understand about being Us.
We can simultaneously be an ethnic or family or racial Us and we can all also be a very real American Us, because we can create an American Us that includes the other groups and that very clearly and honestly wants all of the other levels of Us to succeed.
Creating a values based American Us allows us to have a sense of identity, loyalty, and alignment to ourselves as a nation that includes all of our other, more primal and basic groups in a powerful, positive and effective way.
We are now an extremely diverse country. The majority of births in America this year are to our minority populations. We all need to know that we will never again have any single group that will be able to be the American core Us based on race or ethnicity because we will never again have any group that is the majority in this country all by itself.
That new reality is absolutely not a problem for us as a country because we can clearly replace race and ethnicity with something better for us all — and the something better that we can use to be an American Us is that we are a wonderful, inclusive, accepting, enlightened, good intentioned, good hearted, highly diverse people united by our core values and core beliefs and working together with pure hearts and extreme good will to make sure we all benefit from those shared values and beliefs.
We have a wonderful set of core beliefs. Those beliefs are truly enlightened and inclusive for anyone who believes in them and who commits to have them define their lives.
The InterGroup Understanding books discuss and outline the core values that we all share.
We believe in democracy, acceptance, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and inclusion of all people as equal members of our society and that set of shared beliefs lets us be an American Us who accepts, and supports and commits to those values for our own lives.
We can unite around those core beliefs and we can do extremely well as a nation and a people. We can be the strongest, safest, best, and most successful country on the planet because we will all prosper when we are all achieving the American Dream and thriving together with all of the powerful synergy that having multiple component parts can create when we are aligned around our shared beliefs and working together with a clear and shared commitment to win-win outcomes for us all.
We are part way toward that goal today — and there is no reason for us not to get there completely if we understand exactly what we are doing and if we now very explicitly make the mutual commitment to each other to be that nation and to be that people.
When the hijackers flew those airplanes into the World Trade Center to damage and kill the people who they very clearly perceived at a very instinct supported level to be Them, we had a moment as Americans where we saw clearly how wonderful we all are and how wonderful our shared values are.
That sense of how wonderful our core values are that we had as a nation and as a people when those planes flew into those buildings was very real — and we need now to regain that sense of alignment because we are a great people and it is our shared values that bonds us together and binds us together heart to heart and head to head to be great.
So we need to regain that momentum and clarity now — and we need to move away from becoming just another multi-tribal nation at war with itself to being the great unified nation that we are at the center of who we are.
We need to accept all of the other Americans who share our vision and our personal commitment to our values as part of our powerfully legitimate and believable American Us — and we then need to interact in intentional and enlightened and fully committed ways with the people in America who we perceive to be our Us to give us and our children and our grandchildren the wonderful and safe future we want them all to have.
Shared values very clearly and directly anchor that process and that alignment.
We need explicit, core and shared values for our Us that can anchor, support and guide that process.
That’s where Truth comes into the picture.
Truth can be a shared American value that can help define Us as an Us to one another.
We should make telling the truth to one another our commitment and our expectation and we should agree that we will do that out of respect for our shared status as an American Us and out of respect for each other as people who we owe the truth to as a key aspect of who we are.
Telling the Truth is an anchor value on that list.
We need to once again make telling the truth to one another a shared value that we hold as a commitment to each other and then honor that commitment by doing exactly that in our interactions with one another.
We all need to understand clearly what that commitment means.
We Don’t Need to Debate the Truth — We Do Need to Tell the Truth
This commitment to telling the truth is not about debating or defining the truth or even about discerning the truth.
This commitment we make to each other is very simply about “telling” the truth.
We don’t need to create a debate or a process to determine what is actually true on any given point or any particular point of view — because we all have different experiences and different information and those differences can very legitimately give us all different perspectives about the actual truth of any given situation.
The commitment we need to make right now is not to debate the truth or even to have everyone somehow agree to the same perception of truth on any given point.
The commitment we each need to make to each other right now is simply to not actually say anything to each other in important communications that we know is not true when we say it.
That is a truth commitment that we can all make to one another. It is very functional. It doesn’t require debate or delineation or discernment about what is actually true on any point. It simply requires clear intent on our part to not say something we know is not true.
The commitment we need to make to each other as a people at this point in time is that none of us will say something to the rest of us that we know for a fact is not true when we say it.
Our own belief about what is true is our guide. We will each commit to not say something that we absolutely and personally know is not true.
We will simply each agree to only say things to each other that we personally believe to be true at the moment we say them.
If we make that commitment to only say things that we believe to be true, it will raise the level of the debate and the interactions we have with one another to a much higher and more positive level — because there are so many bad things that happen even for ourselves and for our own self-respect when we say things that we know are not true and when we make things we know are not true part of the public and private communications we have with each other.
We can bring the dialogue in each of our settings to a higher level when we agree not to say things that we know are not true and when we know that the person we are listening to about any given topic or point or issue also believes that what they are saying on each given point is also actually the truth.
We also need to be respectful in our conversations with other people about the points in the discussions we have where we perceive the truth on a given point to be different than what we are hearing another person say. We may believe that something being said to us is not true. With this agreement in place, we might possibly challenge the facts of that particular point, but we will not challenge the motives or the honesty of the speaker on that point.
When we believe something being said is inaccurate, incorrect, or untrue, we need to be able to respect the statement as being what the speaker believes to be true, and regard the difference in what we perceive to be true as a point of honest disagreement rather than being a lie or a falsehood deliberately told to damage us or our group.
We should definitely take the opportunity to understand more clearly what the other person is saying when we believe that something is not what we are hearing said — and that will lead us all to be wiser and better informed on many points — but we do not need to debate the truth or convince the other person of our perception of what is true on any point. We just need to each say what we believe to be true.
Saying things that we believe to be true can be a commitment we make to each other as Americans. It can give us a foundational and anchor shared behavior that can give us a shared and collective sense of being a nation of people who tell the truth to one another.
That will help define us as a nation to ourselves. We are the people who say things that we believe are true.
Having that sense of being an Us as a nation for those purposes can help keep us from seeing and perceiving each other in dangerous ways to be a Them because we are telling lies to hurt the other group and telling lies to people is a very negative, clear and definitive Them behavior.
If we do want and value Peace for us as a nation, it is important for us to do a couple of things to create the sense and agreement that we all are Us.
We need to recognize the reality that we all have very powerful instincts to see the world as Us and Them and to be on constant alert against the behaviors done by Them.
Instincts Have Great Power Over Our Lives
We need particular shared and collective awareness and understanding of the instincts that are triggered by a sense of Us and Them so we can use them as tools for Peace rather than having those very powerful instincts being catalysts for War.
Knowledge is Power. That is extremely true at a very important level relative to the issues of intergroup linked instinctive behaviors.
We can have great power over the instincts we understand.
We have the power and the ability to make the instinctive behaviors that we understand serve us as tools to make us safe and secure and successful as a country and a people.
We can each have more control over our futures and our emotions and our personal thoughts and behaviors when we understand in clear and direct ways that instincts have huge and too often entirely invisible impacts on our lives and decide at an intellectual level to use them rather than being used by them.
We can either have our instincts work for us or work against us both in our inter group interactions and in our own thought processes. Our lives are clearly better at multiple levels when any of the more important and powerful instincts triggered in our lives work for us instead of against us.
We are all guided every day in multiple direct and indirect ways by our instinctive sets of beliefs and behaviors. Some of our instincts — like our maternal instincts — almost always guide us in good directions. But some of our instincts cause us to do bad, angry, and even damaging things relative to one another and those instincts have the power to cause us to feel right when we are doing those damaging and even evil things to one another.
At this point in our history as a country, it is particularly important to know and understand the power of the instincts we have to divide the world into Us and Them, and to cause us to think and behave very differently based on whether we perceive someone to be Us or Them.
Those instincts are activated all the time in both group and intergroup settings. They exist in communities, work settings, schools, and in every situation where we have a sense that there are people who we believe are not Us. We trigger those perceptions at both conscious and subconscious levels, and they can have a major impact whenever they are activated.
Our basic pattern is to like and trust and support whoever we define to be Us, and to dislike, distrust, fear, and even damage whoever we perceive to be them. It tends to feel good and safe to be with our Us — and it can be stressful, and threatening and anxiety-triggering to be surrounded by Them.
We all often dislike and even hate the normal instinctive feelings we feel when we feel that we are surrounded in some setting or in some way by Them.
It tends to be good at multiple levels to be an Us and to be with whoever we perceive to be Us. We tend to have respect for our Us and for the people who lead our Us.
Honesty and truth tend to be most relevant to Us.
We are naturally honest with our Us and we expect our Us to be honest with Us in return.
We generally have strong ethical standards that we use to guide our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in dealing with people we perceive to be Us. We often feel individual pride and have a sense of self-respect and self-esteem relative to our personal morality and our personal ethical behaviors and our personal levels of integrity relative to our Us.
We generally feel a strong personal ethical obligation to follow, model, and even celebrate ethical and honest behavior relative to our Us.
But the unfortunate truth is that we often feel no ethical constraints of any kind in dealing with people we perceive at a core level to be Them and we too often don’t even recognize that ethics are relevant to us when those instinctive thought patterns are triggered and when we are doing various kinds of bad things to Them.
The patterns of history for our own country that have been defined by those sets of values, emotions, behaviors and beliefs have been painfully clear. Those sets of instincts have created very negative sets of life experiences for far too many people in our country since the beginning of our nation several centuries ago.
We have had tribal instincts at very basic and primal levels in gear in this nation for a very long time and we need to understand that history as we go forward to building our next generation of Us today.
The InterGroup books all explain those packages of behaviors and alignments and that history for us as a nation.
Those sets of instinctive intergroup behaviors are not unique to us as a nation in any way. They are in place everywhere on the planet that groups of people interact with groups of people, and history in every setting reflects the interactions between those instincts and the intergroup situations each group finds itself in.
History is relatively easy to both understand and even predict when we look at the interactions between our instincts and a couple of key situational realities that consistently exist in each setting.
History both repeats itself and rhymes — and the instincts that create the context for behavior patterns in every setting create extremely consistent sets of behaviors for each group of people and for each setting where groups of people interact with one another.
Hierarchical instincts, territorial instincts, gender-linked instincts, and tribal instincts explain the patterns of history in most settings with great accuracy once we apply those instincts and their normal rollouts to the events in all of those settings.
History is happening right now in a number of settings — and the fact that there is large scale activation of many of our most problematic intergroup instincts now in a wide number of other multi-group settings in the world is extremely relevant to us as a multi-group nation, ourselves.
We need to have a clear sense of what is going on in the world around us right now relative to intergroup conflicts and instinctive intergroup behaviors because there are conflicts in many settings that will have negative spillover impacts on our own future at multiple levels and also because we do not want to end up, ourselves, as being just another multi-tribal nation at war with itself.
We need to learn and understand exactly what they are doing wrong in all of those intergroup settings that are damaging themselves today so we do not repeat their far too easy to make intergroup mistakes here.
There are More Than Two Hundred Ethnic Conflicts Happening Today
The world is full of intergroup conflicts today. There are more than two hundred multi-ethnic conflicts going on in the world today. People are being displaced, exiled, and ethnically cleansed by the hundreds of millions based on pure instinct driven and instinct shaped intergroup conflicts that are happening in a wide range of settings today.
People who do not understand what is really happening at an instinctive intergroup context in all of those settings, tend to label those conflicts as political, ideological, or even economic, and try to come up with situational, positional, circumstantial, and generally highly anecdotal sets of historical explanations for the behaviors that are happening now in order to describe and understand them.
Those political and ideological labels that are generally used for those conflicts and emotions are dysfunctionally inaccurate, and those highly situational and anecdotal explanations of why people are fighting can also be dangerously misleading in a very high percentage of the settings.
There is a much better and far more useful way of understanding and describing those intergroup conflicts. A very basic and much more accurate approach than using political and ideological labels for those conflicts is to look directly at what is actually going on in each of those settings to see what is actually going on in each of those settings, and then to point out clearly and explicitly who is actually damaging whom in each conflict.
The anger and the conflict that exists in pretty much all of those settings is conflict between tribes. The conflicts are not between belief systems or between political ideologies, or between any other kinds of personal group alignment choices or loyalty linked decisions made by any of the combatants.
Birth is the only deciding factor in every setting for what side anyone and everyone is actually on. The people on each side who are shooting people from the other side in those settings were actually all born into their tribes or their clans or their ethnic groups.
That is an extremely important fact that we all need to know and understand. The people in conflict from each group in each of those settings were not somehow converted as individuals to their beliefs or to their current group alignment.
They were all born into their group.
The Shia who are killing Sunni in all of those settings were born Shia. The Sunni killing the Shia in each of those settings were born Sunni. None of those people on either side in those settings voluntarily converted to that identity and to that alignment.
The Alawites were also all born into their tribe and they are standing shoulder to shoulder in Syria with other Alawites to shoot Kurds — who also did not go though any philosophical or ideological, or economic or political conversion process to become Kurdish.
There are all actually instinct shaped and instinct guided very fundamental and basic intergroup intertribal conflicts happening in each setting, and anyone who sees the very clearly intertribal conflicts in The Congo and Syria and Yemen and Kosovo and Ukraine for what they each actually are, has a much better chance of both preventing and resolving those conflicts in the future and understanding what to do about them now.
Pretending and insisting that the differences in those settings are political or ideological is simply wrong. Attempting to resolve those local conflicts in each of those setting with democratic elections of some kind very consistently fails to resolve anything significant because all that the elections do in most of those settings is give us a current count for how many people in each of those settings are from each tribe.
We have a significant number of people in our governments and in the various international Peace making efforts, and even in the news media, who have an almost magical belief that holding democratic elections in some of those settings is a preferred, positive, and potentially successful functional pathway to local Peace.
At best, elections create a truce. They don’t solve anything, because the people in all of those settings are fighting as tribes, and not as ideological or political alignments, and elections do not solve intertribal issues.
If we really respected the right of people to make democratic decisions about their own future, and if we truly believed that people in settings should design and determine their own destiny, the only moral, ethical, and democratically respectful thing to do would be to allow each group of people in those settings to democratically design their own future at the local level, and then to reflect that decision by each set of people in a safe way in the governance that would be used for each area.
Respecting the right of people to self-governance would result in groups in all of those multi-group countries that are hating themselves doing exactly what they did very recently in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and what they did centuries ago in Switzerland — and allow each group in each area with its own culture, its own language, its own history, and its own group legacy and group determined leadership approach to set the path for it’s own group future.
We would need to set that process of creating self-governance for each set of people up to be sure that the remaining minority populations in each of those new countries would have both political rights and physical safety.
We would need to protect minority people in each setting from having their new local ethnic majority activate the worst kinds of intergroup instincts against them and damaging them in all of the ways that those instincts can cause groups to act toward other groups.
Damaging other groups in those situations happens far too often — and we need to learn from history how to keep that from happening.
That is the normal pattern for group behavior in those settings. India and Pakistan faced all of those negative intergroup instincts when they divided into separate countries at the end of the British empire, and then Bangladesh went through those same sets of ugly intergroup behaviors as the Bengal group sought independence from the other tribes of Pakistan after the initial division with India. More than a million people died in intergroup instinct-triggered violence in each of those settings because we did not begin the process of division by group in those settings with processes in place to protect local minorities.
Creating legitimate levels of group self-governance can and should be done in a number of those settings to keep them from being at perpetual war with themselves as countries, but we would need to understand all of the instinct intergroup behavior risks that would be created by setting up those new nations, and we should set up safeguards for the new minority groups that would still exist in each of those settings in order to safeguard people who might be damaged by local self-determination.
Leaders of major nations tend to hate that model of using group self-determination and self-governance to resolve those intergroup conflicts in those internally conflicted nations, because all of the major nations have their own internal ethnic groups who would like self-governance.
When the leaders of major nations have their own internal groups who want to be separate and self-governing, then the current national leaders who each have both their own alpha instincts and their own territorial instincts fully activated tend to be very reluctant to support that thinking about group self-governance in any other settings.
Barcelona and Scotland both would like pathways to self-governance that are not blessed or supported by the leaders of Spain or Great Britain.
The Kurds desperately want self-governance in several settings, and the people who run their countries have their full Alpha instincts and territorial instincts fully in gear, and would rather kill Kurds instead of having Kurds run their own land and country.
Russia and China both have a number of internal ethnic groups who aspire to self-governance, and those groups are not likely to have that aspiration blessed by the people who run either of those countries.
Instinctive behavior patterns very clearly explain both those local aspirations and the absolute rejection of those aspirations by the Alpha leadership of those countries.
So we have unresolved and perpetual ethnic conflicts with deep seated instinctive energy and underpinnings in all of those settings, and that makes it much more difficult to solve instinctive intergroup problems in Syria or Sudan or even Ukraine, with solutions that receive external support from other countries.
So national leaders in Europe who believe with passion in the inviolable sanctity of nations and current national boundaries would rather put up with all of the challenges created by millions of ethnically cleansed refugees from Syria moving into their cities instead of just breaking Syria into its logical pieces and allowing those pieces to govern themselves and allowing the people in exile to be in the places where they would prefer to be.
Those issues have their own indirect impact on us as a nation. What we need to understand is that those sets of instincts are in people everywhere. Those hostile intergroup behaviors and those negative feelings about the people from the other group can be seen in just about every multi-tribal and multi-ethnic nation in the world — and those instincts feel very right at a very basic level to each person who has them activated in their own mind, because we all feel right acting in accord with both our instincts and our cultures, and we all want our own group to be protected and to survive.
What we need to understand when we look at all of those intergroup conflicts, angers, and behaviors in all of those settings is that we Americans are at increasing risk of having those same basic sets of primal divisions channel us into intergroup conflicts and intergroup anger here.
We have those same instincts in our hearts and heads. We did not get a national exemption from primal influences.
We also have the ability to become a country made up of groups of people who dislike, hate, fear, and try to damage other groups of people within our nation. Intergroup anger exists in far too many places in our country today — and we need to deal very directly with that anger and both resolve it and rise above it, or we will lose our position as the bright and shining beacon on the hill, and we will deteriorate into being just another multi-tribal nation at war with itself.
That is the path we are on if we do not rise above the seductive power of those emotions and thought processes, and decide very intentionally to once again become an American Us.
We are at a cusp, a tipping point, a decision point, and a very important crossroads right now, for which path we are going down as groups and as a nation. We have choices to make about all of those perceptions and alignments, and our future will be heavily dependent on how we make them.
We Should Make the World Safe for Our Grandchildren
It would be the very best thing for us to collectively agree to make the world wonderful and safe for our children and our grandchildren instead of having the future for all groups be grim and to have the years ahead of us be damaging for everyone.
Making the choice of being a nation at Peace with itself would be the best choice for us to make, because people we love will be hurt if we choose the grim future of division and conflict that will be very dangerously, seductively, compellingly, and generously fueled by our instinctive perceptions, emotions, and behaviors if we let ourselves go down that path.
We can save ourselves.
We do not need to have that most negative future happen to us as country or as an American people.
We can choose to be a people united by the values we share rather than a nation divided into sub groups who hate, fear, distrust, dislike, disrespect, and try to damage one another.
Truth telling can help us avoid that negative future and put us on the right path.
Telling the truth can be an important thing to do.
Telling the truth to one another can be one of those defining and aligning values and behaviors that we share and that we prove that we share by actually doing it in our communications and our interactions with one another.
We can make our instinctive behaviors and thought processes bring us together, instead of tearing us apart, by having conversations and communications with each other that are functionally anchored in simply not saying things that are not true.
If we do not make the decision to rise to that level of being Us as a people and a nation, we are currently at high risk of sinking into the quicksand of instinctive intergroup hatred, intergroup distrust, intergroup anger, intergroup division, and extremely dysfunctional and damaging intergroup behaviors, and we are on a path today to create a future where our grandchildren will need to be armed to defend themselves in their own homes and communities against other Americans who will hate them and damage them because of the group they are in.
That is not a hypothetical concern. We can turn on our television sets today and go to any of several channels and hear persuasive and eloquent people at both ends of the political spectrum who are encouraging us to go in those directions. Those people are doing an excellent and intentional job of teeing up many of our most negative emotional intergroup triggers.
In many cases, we hear people saying things that are clearly not true. We need to understand that one reason Sun Tzu advised people — in his book The Art of War — to lie constantly, is that when we dislike and hate the other side deeply in any setting, we feel entirely justified in both lying to Them and lying about Them, because we feel that they are so evil that intentionally lying to defeat or damage Them is entirely legitimate, and a good and effective thing to do to protect our Us.
We need to understand when we look at those behaviors that those levels of dysfunctional and dangerous division and intergroup angers are a natural path for any deeply divided intergroup setting to go down.
We need to understand how huge that risk is. We do need to look at those issues in all of those other countries, and we need to be very aware that those same behaviors could happen to groups here. This is not a hypothetical concern.
Syria is going down very clear intergroup instinct paths now. So is Somalia. Indonesia is at war with itself. Burma is purging its own people.
Many cities of Western Europe have become multi-tribal, and many now have extremely tribal neighborhoods where people damage people from other groups and feel entirely legitimate in doing real damage to the people who are from the hated other groups.
There are neighborhoods in some European cities where the police do not dare enter because the intergroup hatreds in those settings are so high and so powerful that the police would be at excessive personal risk to be in those areas.
Multiple countries in Asia and Africa and the Middle East have very clear intertribal instincts in gear, and people are killing each other and hating each other with deeply activated Us/Them and tribal instincts in full gear in all of those settings.
It is a frightening and undeniable thing that those instincts have such massive power to shape what people believe and do.
It is extremely important for us to understand that people can far too easily sink so low and feel so justified doing evil things to other people when those instincts cloud and shape their thinking, that damage is being done to many people in many places and in many ways, and it is also clear that the local people who do not understand what is happening to their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors at the level of instinctive intergroup interactions in their settings have little chance of bringing those settings to safety or Peace.
The Rohingya are being murdered and ethnically cleansed from Burma. The people doing the cleansing in that country are proud to be ethical and caring relative to their own people, but they feel entirely legitimate and ethical in doing those horrible things to the Rohingya people who are being damaged extensively, because they are a Them at a purely instinctive level to the majority group in that country at this moment in time.
People naturally default to tribal emotions, thought processes, and behaviors whenever we have intergroup settings. We need to recognize how true that set of behavior patterns is and how easy those intergroup instincts are to trigger and feed.
We also need to recognize clearly that we, ourselves, have been down that road in many unfortunate and damaging ways.
To achieve future Peace in our own country, we should spend some time to understand, recognize, and acknowledge that we have done some of those worst instinctive intergroup behaviors to people in our own country for a very long time, and we have been far from either innocent or undamaged as that set of instinctive intergroup behavior has been going on for people in this country.
We Have Done Some Damaging and Evil Things Under the Influence of Intergroup Instincts
Those instincts have structured and influenced behavior at many painful and damaging levels in our history as a country.
In our own country, our own history shows us clearly that the people who are White have discriminated for centuries at various levels against all the people who felt like a Them to them because they were not White.
Us/Them instincts could not have been more clearly in operation at a very functional level.
Discrimination triggered by that instinctive set of perceptions created ethnic cleansing and cultural destruction for all of the Native American groups who were almost entirely purged and exiled from their ancestral tribal lands.
That same basic set of instinctive Us/Them intergroup values and perceptions also created and fostered the extreme evil of slavery in our country for centuries, and then triggered extremely damaging and also clearly evil Jim Crow laws for more than a century after slavery ended.
Those same sets of instinctive behaviors and intergroup thought processes created prison camps for Japanese Americans in World War II, and it created laws and practices that discriminated in explicit and intentional ways against Hispanic Americans at multiple levels for a couple of centuries.
The only reason that we are not entirely damaged to the point of being permanently disrupted and divided as a country is that we were also blessed with having a core set of beliefs that truly are enlightened at multiple levels about democracy and opportunity and human rights and dignity, and those core beliefs gave good lives to enough people in our country that we have thrived as a nation, and we have had a foundation of success for many people to use to build a more inclusive application of those opportunities in recent decades.
We have been blessed in the last century with both a civil rights movement and a suffragist movement that have each worked hard and courageously to have us become more enlightened and inclusive as a country and both movements have now had significant success.
For a very long time, only White males were given full access to the American Dream. Women were not allowed to vote. Other groups were forbidden by law from owning property or voting or having full access to education or to basic public services. Discrimination against everyone who was not a White male was written into our laws and embedded in major parts of our culture.
That is no longer as true as it was.
We are far from perfect, but we have made major progress in a number of key areas.
Everyone can now legally vote.
Everyone now has the right to be educated.
No one can be officially excluded from a job or a career based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, or religious belief.
Women still face both damaging and discriminatory behaviors in a number of areas, but the worst of those behaviors are now illegal, and those laws are being increasingly enforced.
We have made significant progress in all of those areas. We now need to make some decisions that will determine whether we continue to make progress as a nation in bringing everyone into the American Dream, or if we will fall back into less positive and less inclusive realities in all of those settings, and possibly even divide now into anger-driven warring groups, and end up losing our wonderful current levels of success in a wide range of areas and ways and becoming just another multi-tribal nation at war with itself.
We can build on the best of what we have done to keep that grim future from happening or we can just allow our instinctive behaviors on intergroup issues and gender issues to push us back for both intergroup damage and intergender discrimination.
We can make that choice.
It is a very good thing for us all at this point in our history that we have been becoming increasingly enlightened and increasingly inclusive as a country at multiple levels for the past couple of decades.
We have been making huge progress in a number of areas of enlightened intergroup behaviors and beliefs for the last half-century, and we have made particular progress on many key issues in just the last couple of decades.
Our laws have grown in enlightenment to make most kinds of explicit intergroup and intergender discrimination illegal, but we still have multiple areas where discrimination damages people, and where instinct guided Us/Them thinking is keeping people from succeeding in their lives.
Heroes did great work by gender, ethnicity, and race to have us grow intellectually, morally, and ethically to put laws in place that have created official inclusion for all of us in the American Dream and in the core set of American opportunities, rights, and values.
Many people were damaged by negative instinctive behaviors at many points along the way to our current levels of enlightenment and inclusion — and memories of that damage will never disappear. But major progress has been made, and our laws now are very well constructed to help us end the worst discrimination and abuse, and to create real opportunities for all Americans.
We have not changed who we each are at our most core level — and we still have all of those core sets of intergroup and intergender instincts intact, because there is no way for us to ever be instinct free — so we continue to have some negative and sometimes painful intergroup and intergender behaviors that are far too visible in far too many settings. But we have come a very long way and we are pointed very much in the right direction for major parts of what we do today.
We need to decide now what to do to go the next steps forward to the world we want to have for ourselves and for the grandchildren who will inherit what we create as we interact with one another now, and set the agenda for the next decade of progress and alignment in America.
We still have issues of gender discrimination and abusive sexual behaviors that we need to address, and we still have issues of racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic discrimination that we need to address if we want to move forward to be all that we can be as a nation and a people in all of those areas of our lives.
We could very easily slide backwards and go to very bad places and many people would feel emotionally aligned with some of the worst and most dysfunctional intergroup behaviors that could be triggered by that degenerative and damaging process if we allow it to be activated to scale.
Our Alpha Instincts can Trigger Some Damaging Behaviors and Need to be Understood
Doing bad things to people from other groups can feel emotionally right because we all have very strong emotions to be loyal to our own group and to want to defeat and damage any other group that we feel threatens our own group.
It can feel very right and even heroic to do things to further our own group position and to follow our own group leaders when they lead us down those paths.
Every group has its heroes and leaders — and our instincts cause us to celebrate and support and follow the leaders and heroes of our group.
We have interesting sets of Alpha and Beta and Theta instincts that guide how we feel and act in hierarchical settings. Alpha instincts, in particular, have great power to influence how our leaders feel and think, and people with activated Alpha instincts too often trigger and aggravate intergroup conflict in ways that increase and solidify the support of their own group for them as leaders.
We need to understand how all of those group instincts and alpha instincts work, and we need to make informed life decisions about our own behaviors, feelings, and beliefs in the context of that level of enlightenment about those behaviors.
As a nation, we need to recognize that we can allow our tribal instincts and the alpha instincts that are now activated in the leaders of our various groups to guide us forward in the most negative, powerful and seductive angry ways, and we need to understand that those negative behaviors will steer us into being just another multi-tribal nation at war with itself if we don’t do things to soften their impact and appeal.
We can also ask our leaders to take on the role of leading us to inclusion, safety, alignment, and Peace — and we can reward the leaders from every group who help us more in those directions.
But that is not the road we are on today for many people — and a future of intergroup conflict is where we will likely end up if we don’t change course.
If we allow that grim and ugly intergroup future to happen, our children and our grandchildren will literally find themselves in a world where they will need to be both armed and guarded in their own communities to function and survive.
Those are not hypothetical or theoretical dangers or risks.
We have parts of major cities that are run by gangs today for major portions and major aspects of how people function in each of those settings.
Our prisons are also now run by gangs.
Anger exists today at several intergroup and personal levels.
We have people from several groups who are deeply angry about other groups and who distrust and dislike people from those groups just because they are from those groups.
We have people who have been damaged by intergroup behavior who are angry and deeply unhappy about the damage that has been done and that is still happening in too many settings.
Those major functional realities about current intergroup anger and division will not disappear because we would like them to go away. Wishful thinking will not bring us together as a country to create a safe future for our grandchildren and children.
What will bring us to a safe and positive future is for us all to understand how seductive and powerful those instinctive behaviors and thought processes are that get us into tribalized behavior — and we need to understand exactly what we need to do to keep from hurting each other as warring American tribes and then do those things, together.
We need to decide that we want to create intergroup Peace in America.
To do that, we will need to rise above those very seductive instincts, and we need to put in place beliefs and behaviors and cultural values that lead us to win-win outcomes for everyone instead of either win-lose outcomes or lose-lose outcomes for us all.
We know what the tools are that we can use to get to that result.
Cultures need to be part of that tool kit for Peace. We build cultures in every setting and in every group to achieve our instinctive goals in each setting and group. We have hierarchical instincts, so we build hierarchies in every setting. We have leaders everywhere, and we have instincts to follow our leaders and to want to be leaders.
We have territorial instincts, so our cultures define owned territory in every setting. We have acquisitional instincts, so we define property possession and property control rules everywhere.
We always tend to each feel that the rules of our own cultures are the right rules — and we tend to feel loyalty both to the rules and to the cultures that create them. So we need to rely on that set of feelings, and we need to build rules into each culture and each setting that will prevent intertribal war and increase interpersonal and intergroup support and trust.
We are a multicultural nation — and we need to appreciate and respect that reality by appreciating all of our cultures. At the same time, we need to recognize that our best chance of having Peace for us all going forward will be to agree on some core values that we all respect, and then very intentionally do what we need to do to embed those values of Peace into each culture in each setting.
One of those shared values for us all needs to be Democracy.
We will only be able to survive and thrive and be safe as a people and a nation if we agree that Democracy is a core value and that we are each entitled to participate as a voter for selecting both our leaders and our laws.
Two of the InterGroup Understanding books have key sections — Chapter Eighteen in Primal Pathways, and Chapter Seventeen in The Art of InterGroup Peace — that outline, identify, describe, and explain ten core values that we generally use now to guide us all. The values listed in those chapters are a blending of the very specific commitments we have already made to core beliefs, and those chapters include suggestions for how we can add to those core beliefs with guidance that will strengthen us as a nation.
We used to pride ourselves as a nation that we were a people who told the truth to one another.
We need to restore that value to the core set of commitments we make to one another.
Truth telling is a value and a behavior that disappears very quickly whenever we tribalize and enter into tribal conflict and division.
At this important moment in time, we should all agree that we want our nation to succeed as a nation, and that we want to function and interact with one another in the context of shared values — and that one of the core values for us to share and honor as a nation and a people is to tell the truth.
Telling the truth is something we do for people we perceive to be Us — and we need to define ourselves to each other to be people who respect each other as an Us enough to not say something that is not true to Us.
War and conflict both invite not telling the truth. Sun Tzu — author of the famous book The Art of War — strongly recommends that people in a conflict situation lie to one another constantly and deceive the other party whenever deception is possible.
Too many of our political settings and interactions today have adopted the Sun Tzu value set, and we have far too many communications happening in public and political settings that are intended to deceive or to sell an untrue set of facts rather than saying what is true.
When we use that approach, it makes people angry and distrustful and undermines both credibility and functionality. It is hard to solve real problems using false information for obvious reasons.
Lies build on lies — and when the lies are intended to do damage, they clearly set up communications interactions that cause us to believe that the person lying to us is definitely a Them in the worst instinct driven definition of that term, and deserves to be treated as a Them in our own behaviors, statements, actions, reactions, and responses.
We need to not trigger those perceptions by not saying things that we know are not true.
We also need to raise our level of discourse civility, courtesy, and openness to the point where we can acknowledge that a person on the other side of the debate on a given issue is making a legitimate point when that happens without having our acceptance of a particular point perceived to be a total defeat for our position.
We have sunken to the level of debate where we too often do not take the conversation with people in opposing situations as a learning opportunity for improving our knowledge on a topic, and instead, often feel pressure to defend every one of our points to the death and to the ninth degree because we tend to defend entire packages of beliefs rather than examining points of fact.
We need to lift the discussion to a level where accepting the need to modify a point or two in our own argument can be done without surrendering the entire argument to the other side.
We need civil and mutually enlightening discourse — and that involves being able to learn from each other in the debate process without having to surrender everything and acknowledge defeat if one point of our argument is in need of change or correction.
We need to disagree with each other in the context of being an overall American Us and not have disagreements on any issue cause us to think and behave like a Them.
We are at real risk today of slipping into purely tribal thinking with all of the situational and behavioral risks that thinking creates.
We should begin with the shared goal of having our grandchildren live in safety and of having our grandchildren able to have successful, productive, secure and prosperous lives, and then take the steps necessary to have that future happen.
We should decide now that we want our grandchildren to have a wonderful and Peaceful world and that we want us to be strong, secure, safe, and prosperous and a country. We can have that future as a nation if we collectively decide now that we are going to turn our rapidly growing diversity into a great strength instead of a risk or deficit and that we will interact with each other in a context of mutual respect and aligned values.
Turning our diversity into a strength can easily be done if we make the commitment to do it, and then act in ways that help us all succeed in getting it done.
Telling the truth is a good and important step down that path to intergroup Peace.
It is possible for us all to Win.
There is no shortage of available wins in the world. We live in a world of plenty and we can expand that plenty relatively easily to include us all.
We can do important things to help every child in the first weeks, months, and years of life when neurons connect in each child’s brain, and we should help every child have the support they need for that process.
We are all stronger as communities and as people when we are all helping each other win because the plenty that exists expands most easily when it is shared.
We Need to Put Our Intellect in Charge
We need to put our intellect in charge.
Our old approach to life and to society has almost always been to have our intellect serve as the servant of our instincts and of our cultures to help them both achieve their goals.
The new approach we use now needs to be to have our intellect make enlightened and fully informed decisions about who we are and about what we do, and then have both our cultures and our instincts serve our values and help support and achieve our enlightened decisions about the behaviors we each should use to guide our lives.
The new way of having our intellect and our enlightened values guide us, and of having our cultures and our instincts work as tools for our intellect is better than having our instincts invisibly in control of our lives and having our cultures steer us blindly to negative and damaging behaviors that are a clear violation of basic morality and ethical standards, because we allow instinctive commitment to our group to overrule and over power basic morality.
Acknowledging prior sins and being clear about how wrong some prior behaviors have been is foundational — and once that foundation has been laid and once people have reached the point where they truly do want everyone from all groups to have win-win outcomes in all areas of their lives, then we need fresh starts and mutual support to get us to the world we want to be in.
The book The Art of InterGroup Peace has several chapters addressing those issues.
To make that approach work, we need a blend of guilt, wisdom, insight, sorrow, regret, remorse, good will, personal morality, individual and collective ethical alignment, and fully committed best intentions to enable us to start down the right paths from the paths we are on now.
The alternative to that right path is to keep hating one another and to have intergroup anger grow and to continue doing increasingly negative and damaging things to each other into the future, because those instincts are creating the world we will live in and guiding our emotions and thoughts, and because they are so seductive that we find ourselves under their power and influence and feel that their negative and divisive influence is the right guidance for our lives.
Doing future damage to each other because those instincts have seduced us emotionally into their power and feel right to us is just plain wrong, and we should not allow ourselves to go down that road. We need to rise above that anger and intergroup division and decide to be good people doing good things for the right reasons, and then do what we each need to do to make that future happen.
Let’s each do what we need to do to keep that very ugly and divided future from happening, and let’s each start down that path to mutual good will and mutual good intentions and mutual respect by telling each other the truth.
We need a fresh start — and we will have to do it ourselves because it won’t happen unless we do it, and no one can do it for us.
Fresh starts need to be a key tool we use to steer us to the future that is best for us all, and telling the truth can be a particularly good and effective fresh start.
We all have been acting to help our own group — and doing things to help an Us is not a bad thing to do unless helping our Us also involves doing damage to other people. So we need to decide now to each help our Us without damaging any of the other people who are part of the wonderful fabric that makes up the entire and magnificently inclusive full American Us.
This call to telling the truth is not being critical of anyone.
This is not a call to attack anyone who is not telling the truth now.
This is not a call for drawing battle lines around truth tellers and around people who do not say true things.
We do not need confrontation at this point about Truth and we do not need to make each other wrong about Truth. We simply need to help each other do a good thing well, and we need to do it right and do it in ways that feel right when we do them.
We may need to gently convert people over time to the commitment to telling the truth and not expect to get everyone on board with that commitment today. We should offer that commitment to each other, and be explicit about both what we mean and what we are doing.
In addition — even if no one else agrees at this point — we should declare ourselves to be committed that telling the truth and make it what we do in clear and obvious ways.
We now each should simply “lead by doing” to get us moving in the right direction by making the personal commitment to start now by telling the truth, ourselves, today, and then become tellers of truth.
To prime that pump with good intentions and with personal understanding and good will and clear insight, we each should choose to model this behavior beginning now, and we each should commit to tell the truth now even if other people do not follow suit and do not also commit to telling the truth to us or to anyone else right now.
We might each need to do it ourselves to get that set of truth telling behaviors back into our world, and we might have to do it long enough and openly enough so that other people trust the commitment and join in that behavior over time.
This could give us a chance to find out the answer to the famous old Zen Koan — What is the sound of one hand clapping?
The sound of One Hand Clapping might have to be us.
We probably should be that hand if that is what it takes to prime this particular badly needed pump.
Telling the truth with clear intent is a very right thing to do.Doing it now as a very public and clear commitment that we make without needing or requiring anyone else to agree to the same commitment at this moment in time sends a message to everyone that we are ready to be Us at a very good level, and that we are going down that path with good intent, good hearts, and clear good will.
So let’s commit.