Resilience conveys staying-power in the ability to withstand stressors. What supports resilience? A social support system undergirds resilience. What supportive network kept a piece of pottery intact for 5000+ years? Resilience also has links to having a meaning or purpose. The purpose of pottery sealed into inner protective chambers of Egyptian tombs was to help the deceased transport necessities for an afterlife.
If humans can preserve fragile artifacts for safe-keeping, why not treasure human life itself?
What purposes underlie the excruciating stressors of war?
Evolutionary psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada studied 60 different cultures around the world. While 95% of these groupings of people had some form of blood revenge, 93% of them also included forgiveness or reconciliation. The researchers did not believe that killing was so much an evolutionary edict as it was meant to fulfill some goal. Afterlife was not a consideration, but higher social status placed high on the goal list.
It turns out that humans are not alone in seeking higher status. Chimpanzees have been followed closely since their behavior was highlighted at the Jane Goodall research center in Gombe, Tanzania. Chimps sometimes engage in gang violence and kill their neighbors. Chimpanzee wars result in the winning side gaining members from a losing tribe. Through domination of another community of chimps, the aggressors also expand their territorial range and possible food supply chains. Does this sound familiar?
The noun resilience comes from Latin resiliens, meaning “to rebound, to recoil.” I picture a slinky when I think of recoiling after being stretched to the max. Slinky resilience occurs over and over, each time reshaping a semblance of “holding together.” Ukrainian mothers are “holding together” as they stand in long lines to get on trains, get off trains, obtain food, find shelter, and most importantly, tend to their precious children. Many women are forced to leave their homeland without partners. Courageous Ukrainian parents and grandparents are today’s pearls of resilience. They deal with the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine with passion and persistence.
One thing we must not hold onto is hatred. The resilient words of Volodymyr Zelensky are for everyone: “Don’t let rage destroy us from the inside.”
Look carefully at the spiraling circles holding onto Egyptian pottery. It is curious to find in another part of the planet that similar swirls were carved into stone at the Newgrange Stone Age passage tomb in Ireland around 3200 BCE (blog post, Pearls and Swirls, 1-10-22). I wrote then about an “interdependent wholeness.” I did not imagine a war-ravaging crack about to shatter our coming months.
Resilience is a possibility for all of us. It works best when we are “holding together” with passion and persistence, the definition of “grit.” Remember, pearls are born from grit.
Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz:
76. When do you use a resilient part of your personality?
77. What can you do today that shows passion and persistence?