After writing last week about what divides us in the San Juans, I instantly reminded myself that the real topic is what unites us. We mostly stick together and serve each other.
People are dominant on Earth, not because of their machines and powerful tools but because they cooperate and work together. We have roads and schools and hospitals and treat each other with a modicum of respect. We wait in line at the Island Market or the Gas Station or the Doctor’s office and, if we are lucky, when there is a movie at the Sea View Theater. And certainly we line up in an orderly way at the ferry, and no one demands they be served first in restaurants or shops. And we depend on trust.
Trust, based on mutual respect, is the great saver of costs and energy. When trust fails we have expensive ways to repair the damage and restore function. The police and the courts domestically, the national government and the armed forces internationally. But mutual trust is how things get done at the lowest possible cost.
In the old days of VHS tapes, each customer was expected to rewind the tape after playing so the next customer could start playing. “Be Kind Rewind” is a good symbol of the endless acts of courtesy that bind us together, the essential glue that makes our society work.