(1) We begin with further tales of our GOOD hero, Ronnie Look. After being stung by a wasp in his head a few months back (requiring a trip to the ER), Ronnie discovered he was allergic to bee, wasp, yellow-jacket, and hornet venom. These stinging insects are collectively found within the Hymenoptera family. When provoked, Nature has given these creatures the defense of injecting poisonous venom into the blood stream of human beings. Man has his guns, knives, and pesticides; hymenoptera have their venom.
Ronnie learned from his doctor that additional Hymenoptera stings could cause additional dangerous systemic (all over the body) allergic reactions. These reactions could range anywhere from hives, itching, redness, difficulty breathing, and even death when airways swell and close up, blood pressure plummets, and the heart stops beating. Ronnie discovered that indeed some 100-300 people a year die within the US from the venom inflicted by Hymenoptera. The absolute absurdity of a tiny stinging insect killing a grown man in peak physical condition was not lost on Ronnie.
(2) Learning all of this, Ronnie came to the only sensible conclusion he could: he must avoid areas where non-trivial numbers of Hymenoptera "like" to stay and sting. After his reaction, Ronnie was not too keen on the idea of cycling in remote locations, summer BBQs, extensive gardening, and marathon golf rounds in the peak of summer. Ever vigilant like a hawk for any visible sign of Hymenoptera, Ronnie would immediately distance himself from all such areas known to have Hymenoptera. Knowing that one sting could cost his life, Ronnie rightly concluded that areas where Hymenoptera congregated were NOT HIS AREA. His internal mind chatter was something like this: "ohh crap, do you see that Hymenoptera over there? That thing is pretty darn close. This is NOT OUR AREA. This is THEIR AREA. We must avoid this area."
While Ronnie always carried EpiPen with him (the only known treatment for such venom stings), he STILL believed that his best strategy was to AVOID Hymenoptera areas. Ronnie reasoned and concluded the obvious: where there are no Hymenoptera, there can be no Hymenoptera sting! His best strategy was not to venture into these areas, get stung, and then hope the EpiPen would "save" him. This is the strategy of a fool.
(3) Very few of us are severely allergic to Hymenoptera venom. But the tale of Ronnie Look is instructive in a deep way. For all men and women seeking, pursuing, and hoping to actually achieve the GOOD, there are many thousands of environments that are "not their area." Men and women everywhere have only a temporarily finite opportunity within reality to reach the GOOD: "Let's go dancing I do believe we're only passing through..." (Ben Howard, Time is Dancing) Decisions must constantly be made to ensure one is spending this brief moment in OUR areas and getting out of areas that are NOT OUR AREA.
(4) Let us pose the question starkly: for the lover of the GOOD, what makes a human environment "our area" and what makes it "not our area?" The following questions are usually dispositive:
- How regularly does this area deliver the GOOD to persons like me? Has even one person achieved the GOOD in this area? Is there a visible, identifiable path to the GOOD in this area?
- What would it even mean to reach the GOOD in this area?
- What am I doing in this area?
- What areas am I neglecting by being in this area?
- Is this area dominated by social programming and conformity? ("Not that I would have a grudge against such...ones on that account; they are well enough for laughter to me!" Nietzsche, Zarathustra)
- Is this area affected by racism and other stupid prejudices?
- Does this area permit real or total honesty?
- Does this area permit real or total freedom?
- Is this area infected by money and success worship?
- Are individual results in this area unaffected by one's merit or ethical character? ("There is no sorer misfortune in all human destiny than when the mighty of the earth are not also the first men. Then everything becometh false and distorted and monstrous.") (Nietzsche, Zarathustra)
- Does this area tend to foster friendship between persons?
- Does this area foster appreciation of and actual growth of mind understanding as to the most important human realities?
- Is this an area dominated by persons under the near total grip of fear, anxiety, and the endless search for narcissistic supply?
- Is this area doomed by a maze of bureacracy, procedures, and rules that make getting anything done extremely tedious and time-consuming? ("Where doth one at present learn better to wait than at courts? And the whole virtue of kings that hath remained unto them- is it not called to-day: ABILITY to wait?" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra)