Yes, there are often routine aberrations that disrupt that ethic, but the culture persists and in numerous and different ways it addresses these departures. Alcoholism, drug abuse and the fracturing of a very structured family environment are major examples of these breaks from the ethic. Regardless, in my spotty associations with theses cultures (I was born in the West and raised my infant years by Navajos) has always left me with an awed appreciation of their ability to pull oneness around themselves and achieve a unique ability to reflect and "cool down."
So, the cultural ethic is a community force or presence that makes it easier to repair individual states of oneness. When I consider this and compare it to the frenetic lives that most of us lead, I worry that our culture is rapidly moving away from any semblance of a oneness state. In reality, many of us do practice moments of oneness when we go on vacation or even take an afternoon escape to some quiet, natural environment devoid of the humdrum of industrial life. We breath in cool air, we listen to birdcalls, we watch with interest the jerky, but beautiful flight of a butterfly and we lay back and simply watch the sky. We can feel the tension dissipate, but if we stay awhile we begin to participate.
What I mean by participate is, for example, instead of watching the butterfly, we begin to observe it and to think about what it is doing and how it is doing it. If we are by a river or stream, instead of just watching it, we begin to listen to it. Those gurgles, begin to sound like chuckles and when a distraught sounding duck goes winging by we begin to laugh. At the same time a crow behind us lets out a raucus call and then we are howling. What has happened? We have joined in with our natural surroundings and in essence have achieved momentary oneness.
Oneness is not aloofness. Community involvement and interaction are essentials as well. Yes, these can introduce stress, but it is offset by that communal relationship and shared responsibilities. It provides both peer pressure and, most importantly, peer love. The theme song and some of the drama from the TV series, "Cheers" is a characterization of community pressure and love. There are, of course, many other examples. As I stated above, it is an ethic that underlies both community and individual attitudes and actions.
My title, Adaptive Oneness, is intended to suggest that individually, we can begin to adopt some of the concepts of oneness for enrichment of our own lives. Actually, I suspect many of us do. Can we nurture it into an ethic? Can it grow into a community ethic? My guess is the community aspect would be a long haul. As for individual sense of oneness, I see that as highly possible and that in turn could begin enriching communities. The real value is that it is not theory, it is practice with discernable results. I continue, myself, to try to achieve it. Those efforts are never frustrating and always rewarding.