12/2/15

Separation . . .

I am not a doctor nor even a scientist (that there is a device on my counter that (sorta) turns bread in to toast still fascinates and (in logistics) eludes me) and I'm certainly not an expert on anatomy, how the body works, or where babies come from but here's what I do know - we're complicated systems walking around waiting for our bread to become toast.

What does this have to do with the price of a bridge in Brooklyn? I'll clarify - if we upset the body or its systems too much bad things can happen.

It is why we don't consider vodka the fluid needed to sustain life (sorry, stereotyped Russian) and why we brush our teeth at night and get mammograms (note to self . . . schedule mammogram) and it is why the phenomenon of conjoined (Siamese) twins is at least 1,000 times more interesting to me than my aforementioned toaster.

Think about it . . . every day in the world there are billions of people walking around with very, very different appearances but otherwise (largely) uniform composure - two eyes, ten fingers, one spleen (note to self . . . confirm we only have one spleen) and a thick, luxurious head of hair. There are very, very few examples of "abnormalities" in the way humans are formed and go through life - we even get our "wisdom" teeth and menses in an approximately consistent time frame. But there are those that are not "alike". Yep - conjoined twins. Less than 1,000 of the 134,000,000 people born every year are conjoined. That, while a higher frequency than me getting "lucky" in my youth and way, way more common than Ebola was/is, is RARE.

So what is the point? I'm getting there - relax.

WHEN conjoined twins are born they are frequently (nearly always) separated. The sad and unfortunate truth is that many of them simply won't make it through life if they are not and often when they are separated . . . one of them doesn't make it. The body, from my limited understanding, just has to have its own resources and it needs just about all of them to get by.

I've been pondering this phenomenon a lot the last few weeks (months, years, decades) - how people that start out sharing things and working in harmony and agreeing on how to share even vital organs and bodily systems are not long to do so. How temporary and tenuous some of these connections are and how much both parties can benefit (survive) if the fragility is broken in a direct, proactive, intentional way.

What is my point? Think about extremism. Over-eating, over-drinking, not brushing your teeth, failing to comprehend the toaster, political views, religious beliefs. They may all seem normal and regular to people in their own bodies but they are not of the norm. They are not technically part of our intended experience. They are not natural or easy. They are not sustainable.

It is for that reason that I think - like so many (few) conjoined twins - we need to separate the extremists from the expected. I don't think that cleaving (in the splitting sense) should result in their death (breath easy, conjoined community) but they - like the humans I degrade in this analogy - should have to develop their own systems and functions to survive. If they don't have the right resources to do so without the twin ("normal" community they have left) then that is on them. But we can't continue to ask the mainstream/majority of communities, pockets, and ideologists that extremists cling to for varied reasons to support them, endure them, or take responsibility for them.

Modern medicine exists to help conjoined twins be - increasingly all the time - sovereign, healthy, developed individuals post separation. I don't think extremism has the allies, the tools, or the awe and wow of the people to do the same.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my toast is ready.