THE BLOG
11/29/2011 06:23 pm ET | Updated Jan 29, 2012

Occupy Is (Fill in the Blank)

The Occupy Movement seeks to bridge our fragmented society -- a crowded and fragmented society of
lonely individuals. People have long sought a sense of belonging. The human search for community is
not a new one with more traditional means of church, neighborhood gatherings and sporting events. A
search for connectedness to humanity through digital means such as Twitter feeds, Facebook threads
and YouTube videos is an ever increasing phenomenon. Humans -- we search to find a home among
other welcoming humans -- we need community.

Can the idea "typical North American" be defined? Is there such a thing as an ideal type when discussing
people who reside in North America, or anywhere? One cannot start with ethnicity as that is not
typified. As each attempt to categorize is found to be as inadequate as the last in defining "American,"
each single word used to define "Occupier" or "99%" is as well: middle-class, working class, working
poor, elderly, veteran, student, disabled, person of color, radical, patriot, socialist, conservative,
liberal, children, teen, young adult, college youth, homeless youth, old, middle age population,
retired, environmentalists, marine, teacher, ex-con, nurse, state representative, techie, scholar, punk
tribal, deviant, conformist, stay-at-home mother, struggling father, bank worker, career woman,
field worker, unemployed. Occupy microcosm will continue to mirror our surrounding macrocosm --
effectively defining the macrocosms and thus the 99% as the broad base of the society.

Categorization is a common learning strategy and quite useful in teaching and memory techniques. For
instance, vehicle: two wheels/three wheels/one wheel/no wheels/ water/ air/ ground/pedal powered.
The list goes on until we have effectively learned the concept of vehicle. Humans are more complex and
resist categorization, but still the brain seems to be biologically programmed in some of these primary
ways. An additional function of stereotyping works to divide again as we are biologically linked to primary levels
of creating safe groups of survival and nurturing.

Armed with knowledge and followed by positive presumptions, could we move forward with
the understanding that once we meet the primary level of human needs, we are to assist in the
development of the secondary needs and perhaps into full illumination and empowerment? How shall
the bridge be defined; the bridge that brings people together -- individuals into a form of community?
Will the meme of 99% be enough? No one individual is responsible for the degradation of equality in
our society. A systematic set of policy over the course of developing time has solidified individual effort
into a pattern of collective oppression.

Public opinion continues to support the Occupy movement because it is the just position to hold -- it is
the right thing to do. Is it a lack of willingness being demonstrated when one claims the message cannot
be understood? True, many individuals step forth to join this movement by passions for local issues,
environmental issues, police brutality issues, economy issues and the list goes on. Every separate issue
that is brought forth by individuals is contaminated by the corruption of corporate money in politics.

It is evident that the majority of people clearly understand that message and the rest will continue to
learn it. We the people are the 99%. We the people may not always understand all the complexities
of lobbying powers and the impact on the well-being and quality of life for the citizens, and that is by
design. If this movement is to succeed, it must be in part an education movement at its core.

The 99% percent is hard to define as it spans across people who have never before had anything in
common. What about the 80%? The 60%? The 30%? Where can you find your home, your sense
of belonging? Perhaps by defining your passion, finding your bliss and letting that energy flow into a
movement. A natural part of social development is to find a comfort zone, a sense of belonging or a
circle of trust. Within these groups we learn to find a voice that has just begun to develop. Within these
groups we learn to trust our voice and let it be heard by others. Through these small circles of trust
(affinity groups, working groups, caucus groups, etc) each individual is more likely to gain strength to
stand and be heard in the direct democracy process. We, humans in search of community, have strayed
from humane-focus far enough and long enough; we have to learn how to be together in dialogue.
Working together is activism that is not taught in our schools. Learning how to be a part of a democratic
dialogue that is not taught in our passive society. Individuals find the "home" with the small crowd that
can provide tools and support to forge through the challenges (of the big crowd) with a sense of
empowerment that comes directly through phenomena that is embodied in a small circle of trust.

The aim to form alliance should not be degraded as simple division and segregation. The voices of a
growing collective of affinity interests within the same movement build momentum for all. Redefining
the dominant ideology to include "outsiders" however they choose to define themselves is crucial in
developing this conversation. The choice to find others with common interest and build alliance is part
of the "leaderless ideology" and is often squelched by old paradigms. The acceptance that we all have
such diverse talents and experiences to offer will be what grows the movement and our future as a
humane society.