Remembering that we are one

By Alleyah Brown

While the world is trapped in the regimes of emotional detachment, war, and disloyalty, Sebastian Junger is advocating for the indulgence of human relations. In his book ‘Tribe’, Junger travels into American Indian territory in order to record and understand the importance of brotherhood with the hopes of spreading their traits into our nation.

“You can’t indulge in the illusion that you’re okay in the world on your own,” Junger said during the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

I was impressed with the devotion he acquired for the welfare of people and their relationships between each other. Through growing up in a safe neighborhood in Boston, the journalist gained a passion for adventure and exploring the world of consequences outside of his own.

How can we expect a generation to understand the principles of wisdom, equality, and togetherness without teaching them the importance of sacrifice? Granted, there are people like Junger who grow up without having to experience hardship or sacrifice, but what makes Junger an outside-the-box thinker is the fact that he uses his passion for writing to paint the pictures of those who struggle for those of us who do not, thus, allowing them to experience problems other than their own.

Humans are meant to thrive in this world together, to need and help each other, even if their struggles are separate than those of others.

“I don’t care if someone’s black or white, rich or poor, I care that they’re hurting more than I am,” Junger stated. “It’s that quality in human beings that brought us to where we are.”

I enjoyed listening to Junger because his views compare to that of mine: that the world needs to think communally and objectively if we plan on being the United States we built our foundation on.

At the end of Junger’s keynote speech, there was time for questions. A man asked Junger a question any human would be befuddled to answer: “Are there any winners in war when people die on both sides? And is war justified?”  

Junger responded with what I believe is a very mature perspective.

He explained that war, of course, is not the answer to every problem. However, when our nation’s patriotism is threatened, it is our job to stand up for the very foundations we were created on. War is not so much about winning as it is about obtaining respect for your country.

Do we allow outside threats to perpetuate against us or do we come together towards a single understanding? That’s the point Junger was trying to get across. Not that hardship is necessary to congregate us, but that it aids in distracting us from our personal lives and allows us to come together for a cause.           

“Sacrifice is healthy in withholding the value in our country,” Junger said.

Sebastian Junger delivers a powerful speech on how the American society needs to do more to make soldiers feel needed and productive after coming home from war at the Literary Lights Dinner on July 22, 2017. Photo courtesy of Junebug Clark