Posts Tagged ‘confusion’

I’ll just start off by saying that this whole entry is purely inspired by this article. I swear I made sex noises when I read it. I read it and then read it again, and then I went to talk about–but wait, no, I want to read it again, okay now I’m ready to write, no I’m going to read that article again. Oh god, don’t stop, keep going. That article made sweet, sweet love to my conscience. Facts are not things that take sides. Facts are not your political views. Facts are not your precious fucking identity. They might support some of your arguments but they do not–they cannot–depend on your morality. They might sit well with your agenda, and if they do, then that generally sits well with me. Of course, I believe it works the other way, too: your morality would be very finicky and fragile indeed if you only believed in cold, hard facts and nothing else as your moral compass.

I’d love to write about how you should deal with people on an individual level and never, ever, ever deal with somebody on the basis of what group they come from, but that would make me a hypocrite. That, and it’s much better addressed in the above article so just read it instead.

Still, it got me thinking about divisiveness: people seem really open to the idea of getting along–this is the future, after all–but it always seems to be the other person’s  fault that we can’t do it, and most efforts to join hands degenerate into something only slightly more subtle than a shit slinging contest. People are angry, and they have every reason to be, “if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” seems to be the rallying cry of EVERY GROUP ON THE PLANET. Leftists, right-wingers, anarchists, politicians, conservatives, queers,  everybody–and while that’s probably technically true (there is, after all, a lot happening where the logical–maybe even the humane–reaction would be anger), I take issue with the attitude of the statement. It’s not the anger part that gets me, so much as the manipulative manner in which it’s presented.

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the quote from Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” It’s a cliché, but it’s a good one. Still, it seems to me that getting angry is one thing, clinging to it is another, and encouraging others to cling to it… it’s just not the side I want to be on.

See, the screwed up thing is that everybody seems to think that the other group is getting what they want and that everything is going to hell because of it. Everybody thinks we’re all screwed forever while their supposed opponents are running wild. So where are the other guys? Where are these horrible, happy people that are ruining everything just so they can carry on with their wicked ways (and I swear to god almighty, if anybody mentions the 1% I will personally come to your house and release my pent-up projectile vomit on your face). I mean, somebody is pulling the strings, because somebody always is, and I have little doubt that it’s a group of people. I have even less doubt that they’re the type of people I wouldn’t trust as far I could throw them.

After all:

“The world is full of motherfuckers. Prepare and act accordingly.” –Henry Rollins

I get mad, same as anybody else. I’m not above it. I know that I get carried away with it, too. I know that I say ridiculous things in conversation without thinking, just like all those reactionaries that have me fuming on a daily basis. Is that the problem? Is it as simple as the fact that too many people talk without thinking? Or maybe that they think too much? Maybe we hear a purported fact and think, “how does this fit in with my morals, how must I interpret it to keep my political/religious identity intact, and who’s fault is it if it doesn’t fit?” and then we just get angry because thinking is hard? (Not trying to insult people. When it comes to this stuff, thinking is genuinely hard.)

I’m in no way trying to say you should quell your outrage when your morals are tested. I’m not saying that anger isn’t useful. I’m not trying to imply that some truths are subjective. I’m not even trying to say that you should stay neutral. Christ, I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. There’s been a sentence rolling around in my brain for the past two years and I haven’t been able to quite pin it down and say it yet. Just one sentence. It has to do with facts in relation to morals but every time I try to sort it out, the thought goes everywhere and just gets away from me. It’s something like, “facts are always worth knowing, but often not important.”

Again, that’s not it, but I think it’s close. For somebody who claims to be honest with themselves, I don’t know my own brain too well.

Let’s try this again:

I don’t know if you recall, but some time ago there were several studies of whether or not being homosexual was genetic/inborn. Now, they are trying to figure out whether or not being transgender is genetic. The usual rhetoric gets thrown around: some people find it dehumanizing (I’m tentatively inclined to agree), some want to know if there’s a “cure,” or “treatment,” and then there are those like me: those that don’t care whether it is or not. Are they trying to figure out whether or not it’s a fact? What does it matter? Are they trying to prove the “born this way,” argument?  Are we trying to settle some kind of natural law debate or some other bullshit? WHAT IS IT?

Alternatively, facts have a bearing on my day to day actions for no apparent philosophical reason. Like climate change and environmental damage. They are things–we know that now. They are real. Yet, I’m not going to have children to dump a ruined planet into their hands, I don’t believe in an afterlife (much less one where the outcome is based on who I was nice to/who I slept with/what worship house I went to) and when you get down to it, I find no philosophical justification for a moral structure at all let alone one grounded in how I treat the planet. Even if I leave the planet in a sorry state, I’m dead so what the fuck do I care? So why do I not eat things from factory farmed animals? Why do I try to be as environmentally conscious as I can? When I’m face with the fact that we’re strangling planet Earth, I do it even though I can’t justify it.

Ultimately, I think it’s because my friends can, and they’re smarter than me.


Read Full Post »