Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
More often than not, life is not a binary experience.
Take Kobe Bryant's death. It's absolutely possible to feel conflicted, since he was one of the greatest athletes of all time, but that he may have also raped a woman. It's ok to feel both disgusted and sad. Same with Aaron Hernandez, Louis CK, Michael Jackson or any other "celebrity" who has been wiped off the map by uber woke cancel culture kids for being someone we looked up to until we learned they did something terrible.
You can have both thoughts at once, it's ok to feel both (or multiple thoughts and various emotions). It's odd to me that people can't just express their feelings without someone having to instantly scorn them over it. I'm not excusing wretched behavior by any means.
In fact I'm saying it's ok to feel upset with someone but also appreciate other contributions they've given. I'd venture to say that virtually every person you look up to or respect has probably done something you'd be angry or disgusted by. I'm sure YOU have.
I used to feel like I had to pick one side or another. Like, you can't listen to Thriller or Bill Cosby anymore because that indirectly supports the work of a monster. And there's nothing wrong with that feeling if that's how you honestly feel. I guess it's impressive that you can be so pure, so clear with your stance. But I think many have lost their sense of nuance and are forced to have to pick a side and that anyone who doesn't is equally terrible. I think thats absurd honestly.
So many of these folks grew up watching and praising The Sopranos, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Joker and other stories depicting the conflicted protagonist. But then these same people turn into a self righteous defender of morality and decider for YOU about how you should feel about things.
Just remember, every time you point a finger, there's 3 pointed back at you. And the world and it's human inhabitants are not perfectly categorized as good or bad people. We all fuck up. We all do bad things. If you choose to ban that person over it, so be it.
But we all get to make that decision for ourselves.
And if we choose to keep watching highlights of Kobe and we can tuck away his crimes for awhile, then so be it too. How about letting other people feel how they are going to feel.
No one thinks rape or murder is ok. But it's absolutely possible to feel disgust at that but also be impressed at the work of a potentially awful person.
Today, while many folks reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, "militias" geared up in war cosplay outfits and armed themselves to the teeth, while our impeached president ripped through another day of nonstop gaslighting of the American Republic.
So it's even more important to remember the fundamental tactic of Martin Luther King Jr: nonviolence.
Personally, I find this tactic to be increasingly difficult to employ in the face of hate-filled trolls and loudmouth racists who take pleasure in the suffering of the downtrodden and the weak, but I employ it nonetheless, because I believe in it as much as I believe in Ghandi's words of "being the change I wish to see".
There has been a daily parade of horrific shit that has gone on in the past few years that has truly challenged my sanity and calm, but I actively choose to stay above the fray as much as possible. This nonviolence goes with communication (online and otherwise) as much as it does with physical action.
Do not confuse my silence in times of darkness for weakness or apathy. I deeply feel the pain of this dark era, but as often as possible, I choose not to engage in the gaslighting and prodding to aggression. I learned many years ago in martial arts that disengaging an opponent is always the better solution and you will never regret NOT resorting to violence.
There are many ways to get your point across and many tactics to win over a potential opponent. Fighting is a last resort, and personally if I am forced to use that tactic, I will win. Sadly, in my youth, I had to resort to it, and despite it being for survival, I always regretted it.
I have learned that the tactic of nonviolence is far superior. I want to be an example of who we can be, and walk tall knowing I am better for it.
I know this era will end, and I hope that we can all come together again and get past this hideous fragment in our history and become more than the hateful few than drag us down.
I thank MLK for his wisdom and his lessons, but none more so than the art of nonviolence.
I'm constantly streamlining and weeding out my connections on social media to a pretty close group of friends and family due to the violent political idiocy, aggression, trolling and horrific disinformation sharing that I have seen. I don't need trolls in my life. Flame wars aren't funny or entertaining to me most of the time, even from well-intentioned friends.
If you're reading this, I implore you to start trimming your social feeds. Stop adding strangers (many are fake profiles). When you see bullshit from someone you don't actually know on social media, don't engage, just delete and block them. Report them if it's bad enough.
There is a psychological war happening against you and every one of us, and it takes skepticism and restraint to fight back. If you find yourself getting depressed or angry BECAUSE of social media, that's the war I'm talking about. I'm not gonna be that guy who says to get off of social media (although it's good to take breaks and if you can get out entirely more power to ya).
Just know as we head into 2020, there are very powerful dark forces at work and they're attacking us constantly with disinformation, lies and half truths.
I'm not talking about "fake news" like the NYTimes or WaPo (actual news services). I'm talking about fb groups run by strangers, memes that fire you up, click bait bloggers whose sole job is to manufacture unrest to get under your skin and chisel away at your peace of mind.
It is literally a war against your mind, your thinking and your sanity and their goal is to divide us, hurt us, make us stupid and hate each other. The forces are wide reaching from our own insidious government to foreign agents to the very owners of these social "media" sites.
With one of the most brutal presidential elections on the horizon, there's a lot at stake.
Don't just mindlessly scroll.
Be critical of what you see, who you are "friends" with and what you choose to embrace or chastise.
Be kind to people you care about. Eject anyone you don't know, especially if you find them constantly shitposting or attacking your own circles.
Friend counts don't matter in real life. Don't be a head collector.
Quality over quantity.
Be critical, compassionate and don't let the bastards win.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.