Date: 25 April 2011
The concept that, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.” Has been around for thousands of years and this concept is attributable, in its earliest form, to Caiaphas, the High Priest mentioned in the Gospel of John. (John 11:49-50)
Aristotle, in his work “The Aim of Man” develops a very similar concept in his discussion about the “highest good”.
Of course, no consideration of the words themselves would be complete without considering the death of Leonard Nimoy’s character Spock in the 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan – the source that actually gave us the most concise and easily understandable explanation of the concept, yes, Hollywood helps sometimes..!
However, I would like to look at some transpositions of the idea. Are there times when “the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the few or of the many”? Are there occasions when “the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the one or of the many”?
Consider the following scenarios:
One ~ A small regional hospital, late at night, almost on shift change for the weary few that have been manning the accident room. The rest of the hospitals staff have already started changing shifts, the rest of the patients in the hospital are resting as comfortably as they can for the night. Suddenly an ambulance screeches to a halt at the accident receiving doors. There’s been a car wreck and a six year old girl is rushed into the emergency room suffering critical and life threatening injuries.
Two ~ A woman with a baby in her arms and little girl is collected from her home on a stormy night and driven to a coastguard station. An emergency distress call has been received from her husband’s fishing boat that is carrying a crew of four. Within a very short space of time a full scale air-sea search rescue is under way despite the fact that it is a bleak, stormy and dangerous night to be out on the sea, or over it, dozens or more specialists are at work trying to bring the crew home safely to his family.
I would suggest that scenario one qualifies for the statement: “The needs of the ONE (the six year old girl) outweigh the needs of the FEW (the emergency room staff) or of the MANY (the rest of the hospital’s inhabitants)”
In scenario two, I believe the statement would read: “The needs of the FEW (The crew of the boat and his young family) outweigh the needs of the ONE (any single person involved) or of the MANY (the coastguard, rescuers and searchers)”
I’m sure you can come up with other scenarios that would do just as well. So, how do we apply this train of thought to community and community issues amongst the VC/OVC? Which set of “needs” has, or should have, the priority? Is it the one, the person who is trying to discover, accept or change what or who they are? Is it the few, those whom are affected in any way by the person who is struggling to discover their truth? Or, is it the many, is it the wider VC/OVC that should be looked after in the face of having someone asking awkward questions or seeking opinions, answers and some kind of truth?
The very concept of a community, and the most common one, is usually applied to cities, towns, villages and the like. Places of human gathering and habitation. Places where people come together to provide things and services for each other, where they attend church and football games together, where they hold celebrations in public on holidays together. That is the most common and general concept of community ~ people living in proximity, sharing resources and creating better lifestyles for the whole community to become a healthier and more productive place.
What is it that the VC/OVC is missing in the formula that would allow us to become such a thing? Do we provide services for each other? Do we provide material goods for each other? Do we attend church together? Hold holiday celebrations together? Do we go to football games together? Do we share resources? Whom does the VC/OVC cater for? The one, the few or the many and does this basic ethos need to change?
The VC/OVC is an abstract and will always be that. It is not a global community unfortunately and because we have no fundamental need to provide for each other in a way that would draw us closer together we are rather like a collection of icebergs, floating in a darkened sea and occasionally bumping into each other, or each others ships.
What’s the answer? What do we do to become more like a “community” and less like a group of “tribes”, or “gangs”? Unfortunately I don’t think we have the answers worked out yet, there are some who have had glimmers, there are some who have had ideas, and there are many more who can’t fathom any answers to the problems. Is the answer in over-regulating ourselves? Putting ourselves into one great collective? Playing poker ~ winner takes all? Splitting apart into separate “camps” and skirting each other warily, always looking for threat and assault? There are some pretty ugly options indeed.
The more I look at the situation the more often I come back to one idea, one theme that seems to hold out at least a glimmer of light in the darkness. To the Native Americans it is pow-wow; to the Aboriginal people of Australia it is caribberie ~ tribal gatherings to exchange news, trade, celebrate and socialize. The Pan-African Festival is that continent’s modern equivalent. A more formal construct is the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, originally founded during the reign of King George VI, whose task is to consider matters affecting Scottish chiefs, their clans and names and then represent, in a non-political sense, these interests to the monarchy. Needless to say, in any of these situations the representatives are still representing their group, their ways, their views and outlooks and are bound by their own regulations and even though such regulations might differ from group to group the “gathering” and its business are conducted in a mutually respectful and beneficial way.
The mechanisms for achieving such gatherings are in place, they already exist right under our noses and perhaps we have lost sight of the wood because of all the trees in the way. The biggest obstacle to realising a goal of this nature is, quite naturally, the fierce independence of the majority of groups and individuals within the VC/OVC, very few of them willing to accept any other view or way than their own and it is these things that we must get past if community building is truly on the agenda.
Two organizations that have, and are, attempting to overcome the divisive aspects in the VC/OVC are the VVC and Dark Nations.
The VVC (Voices of the Vampire Community) founded in 2006, is made up from leaders of groups and notable figures in the community and aims to create friendly relations amongst various groups within the community and to foster a co-operative approach, based in mediation, to resolve community related problems without; according to their public statement on the site page, trying to establish some sort of “ruling” body or elite.
Dark Nations was established in December of 2007. It was created by Khan and Madame X of House of The Dreaming, with input from Seven Hathors of House Crescent Moon. It was, ostensibly, created to unite participating houses in a co-operative venture to improve communications, exchange of information and relations between the groups ~ a sort of “United Nations” of groups if you will, wherein each group has equal input and rights.
So, we have at least two, viable and well established resources with which to work toward having a healthier, more balanced and more mutually beneficial community ~ the question is, do we want that or not?
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