The world is changing and I find myself feeling old and hankering after the good old days….. and then, I don’t. Walking this morning I realized that sometimes I live in the past and I must make an effort to be in the present. I wrote a blog post once theorizing that perhaps aging is what happens when the volume of forward-looking thought is outweighed by the volume of backward-looking memories – I called it the tipping point. I still think there may be something to that idea but essentially, we have to live in the moment or we are not living at all rather we are dreaming our way through life.
I struggle to explain some things and this idea that the world is increasingly black and white is one of them. I don’t mean to be rude or sound arrogant or condescending, but it does seem to me as though many, many people are really quite dumb. They do not think, but they do react. I’m as guilty of this dumbness at times as anyone else and it annoys me when I realize it. We want things to be black and white – to be simple I suppose. These days, we surround ourselves with like-minded people via social media not realizing that we are in our own echo chamber. We don’t want grey……. it is too complex and we might actually have to think.
In order to keep the world black and white, we have come up with ways of debating and following. We parrot without really thinking what we think we should be saying. We don’t debate but rather find ways to ridicule, undermine and destroy the opposing point of view – if we don’t just choose to ignore it altogether. We don’t listen and if we think we are listening, actually we are debating internally and not listening at all.
Yesterday, I had a post in my FB stream. Someone had liked or commented on a meme on a feminist page about how women dress is not an excuse to abuse them. Fair dos, it isn’t. It caught my attention and I read the comments on this meme. I was shocked. The hatred of men was deep, bitter and angry. Testosterone is the problem, said one. Men are the problem and they should all die, said another. So far, par for the course. A bunch of people in an echo chamber getting all worked up about a chip on their shoulder and blaming others for it…. that is life today. It’s never our fault – always someone else’s. But then buried within this diatribe of hatred for men was a post of an article on Scientific American and very long comment. In short, science shows that women are equally likely to engage in sexual abuse as men are but men are ashamed to admit they have been abused. Women are just as likely to engage in violence both against men and other women for sex. That’s what the statistics say. The comment was well written and enlightening – somebody was thinking critically about the issue and coming to the conclusion – it’s not men. It’s us. Not a single comment to this comment. It was as if no one had seen nor read it. They were blind to it. It couldn’t possibly be right because it burst their bubble.
Recently, a party of schoolboys went off to a march in the USA. I’m pretty sure a school should not be sending parties of boys to a women’s march but then religion is a funny thing demanding that others obey your beliefs. at some point, the boys got into some kind of confrontation with a native American banging his drum. What we saw of this almost immediately was a few seconds of video of this event. Instant reaction (including much to my later chagrin, from me too!). It didn’t help that the boy was smirking wearing a MAGA hat and that the Indian was a war hero. Politicians and movie stars, as well as average Joe and Jane, came out of the woodwork to condemn this boy(s) and support the Indian. Some tried to identify him and ‘out’ him – destroy his life, send his parent’s death threats and so on. Later, a new video emerged. One that showed the entire sequence of events and it was a very different interpretation that followed. The boy is now suing one media outlet for 250 million dollars – I hope he prevails as he will forever be that boy …. his life is ruined. Yet, actually, he did nothing wrong. We did. We reacted. We saw a black and white world. We didn’t think.
I realized today walking that really nothing else matters but my happiness. All of this stuff going on…. it is all a distraction from being happy and getting on with life. From now on, I’m going to try harder to think not to react and to get on with being happy.