"Fearlessness may be a gift, but perhaps more precious is the courage
acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating
the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions."
Aung San Suu Kyi
Today we measure success by how much money we have in the bank or in stocks, how large a house, or how many houses you have, how your own house is furnished, and what kind of a job you have. If you are between ..... say, sixty-five eighty years old, and lived in Albuquerque during the 1930's, you will recall that those things were not considered. You identified yourself with your community and your community identified itself with you. You were an individual, but a cog in a greater wheel, a parish, (Campanella) that in turn was a part of a still greater works, ad infinitum.
In a crisis, the herd instinct automatically took over. Survival depended on those you knew and trusted. The choice of leadership, and dependability had been made long before the crisis came, because everyone knew everyone else and their capabilities and limitations. If you know your community, you already know whom to choose for what job in any given situation. It was easier to know who was who in the 30's, because we were a community. Since then, countless factors broke up that unity.
Only the Wopajo tribe remains true to the old traditions. Look around you. It wasn't always as you see it now. Americans were not always haunted by a sense of scarcity. Somewhere along the line, American people changed. Now they have to have more, in case they lose some, or if someone takes some away from them. Fear of losing material things created monsters that they perceived were out to rob them or to take them for everything they have. That attitude creates greed, and greed creates paranoia. Paranoia is an invitation for real con-artists to move in. The daily news is full of stories about people who have been taken for hundreds, thousands, and even millions of dollars by scam artists. Very few of the victims are lilly-white-innocents themselves. Most of them thought they were going to get more than what they were investing, or something for nothing. The victims that are really innocent are the trusting souls who thought they could trust family members or other trustees to handle their financial affairs.
It's commendable to be cautious, but Paranoia? Fear is natural, it is your survival instinct warning you that something is amiss, in you, around you, or somewhere in your immediate vicinity, but panic is your enemy. It binds your mind and makes you act irrationally. In a panic, you become your own worst enemy, like a deer caught in a spotlight, or a person about to drown.
Wopajos are never alone in a personal crisis, and act as a group, but never identify ourselves as such in a collective crisis. Fear does not control us, we control fear. . . Courage, on the other hand, is not the absence of fear but the control of fear. The Wopajos are unique in that we are not materialistic. We also believe that inch by inch "everything's a cinch." We are, after all, natives of THE LAND OF POCO A POCO. Manana is still good enough for us. So many other people work themselves to death amassing fortunes and die before they can enjoy them. If they live, it's with ulcers or some other chronic illness that robs them of a full life or they lose, or have most of what they sacrifice themselves for taken away one way or another. We pace ourselves and live within our means, ending up no better and no worst than anyone else. When we have abundance we share, and when we don't other tribal members share with us. We believe that abundance is not in what you have but in how many relationships you can claim. The abundance we share is not just material, it is companionship, ideas, and a helping hand doing something that is difficult for one person to handle. We believe humility is a virtue, and that arrogance is a defect. We try not to fail, and when we do, we understand that humans fail, societies fail and countries fail, failures are human and just as inevitable. The higher up you are in the cultural pyramid, the harder the fall when you land. No one in the tribe has failed as much as myself, and no one has fallen so far from so high and landed so hard as have I, but no one has had as many help him up onto his feet again as many times as have I.
What used to be New Mexican humor is almost dead now. The Wopajos still rely on it to break up the tension, but outside of our own little group one rarely finds anyone who understands it. At times it is pitifully misunderstood. It is a play on words where "Charley Mann" the store keeper, became emperor, "Charlemagne, and "Krushchev," beacons "Cruz Chavez."
In New Mexico, the word "chivo" meant a male goat. "Chiva," means a female goat. "Chivato," from whence comes "Vato," means a guy. Rascally boys used to be said to be chivatos. "Chivata," a shepherd's staff. The difference in the new, incoming, Spanish to this state translates "Billy, the kid," obviously meant to mean "Billy, the rascal" as "Billy, the child... " All we can say about it is, BISOGNA! to new Spanish. (it sounds close to 'Piss On Ya!):
honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain,
those you deal with should gain as well.”