Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I had a very interesting discussion with a non-Quaker friend this morning. I've long studied animal behavior, especially regarding canines (wild & domestic) and horses, but have certainly enjoyed learning about the behaviors of other creatures with whom we share the planet.
If a young springbok is being pursued by a hungry lion, is the little antelope safer making a solo run for its life or should it head for the herd?
Are you in a prey mindset, or are you a predator? If you are prey, what are your defense mechanisms? You have 3 choices: fight, flight or "play possum."
So, now you ask, "How does this apply to being a Quaker?"
In any group of people you will have those who behave like prey (victims?) and those who behave like predators, and then often there are neutral members who are just part of the herd. Oddly enough, depending upon the issue, individuals can change from prey to predator and vice versa.
I believe it is the prey type who respond with flight or "playing possum" who are the most likely candidates for being Quaker Hermits.
Personally, I don't like fighting. I'll flee if given the option. I really have to feel cornered to go into fight mode; it only happens when I perceive that I have no other option. Fleeing or "playing dead" are my most comfortable responses. Let me go hide and get away from the controversy. Controversy makes me feel unsafe. Ah, fleeing into the safety of being a Quaker Hermit!
It's the reality of feeling there is no solution to the conflict. Is it healthy to fold oneself up into an envelope and get mailed home? Is fleeing or "playing possum" a productive way to pursue a peaceful existence. Is impasse acceptable? Why can't some people simply "agree to disagree," and learn to "disagree without being disagreeable?"
Avoidance of conflict seems to be yet another purpose in becoming a Quaker Hermit.