Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Everybody just cool out....

 I’m trying to understand this and I hope you can help. My question is this; WHY ARE WE SO ANGRY? I’m on Facebook a lot and I drive quite a bit and I spend time in line at the grocery, the bank, at red lights, etc. I notice a lot that people have little patience, they’re ready to rumble and seem constantly on edge. 
 On Facebook, I notice that if you post anything philosophical you can guarantee a certain amount of flame. I joke with my wife because she seems to generate a lot of unexplainable aggression by saying that she could post “have a nice day” and get responses like “Don’t tell ME what kind of day to have!”
 You may wonder about my terminology when I say “philosophical”. I originally wrote “political” but then I realized that what I was thinking of weren’t political things but philosophical ones: ( Webster's: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.) Gun Control, Health Care, Education, Racism, Homophobia, Misogyny, War, Religion, Economics, Evolution, Death Penalty, Red, Blue, Tea Party, etc. Yep, that’s philosophy. 
 My view of gun control is philosophically directed a certain way. It’s not dictated by the Republicans, the Democrats, the NRA, the Anti-Gun folks, the Christians, the Muslims or the Home Shopping Network. It’s about my experience, my upbringing, my family, my  friends, my awareness and my understanding. 
 My view of Healthcare is the same, I base my views on my experiences, my understanding and the understanding of my friends, family and loved ones whose guidance I ask for and appreciate. 
 I’ve got opinions on everything. (Just ask my wife or my friends!) I struggle daily with the BIG questions and try my best to “refine” my views and my stand on every topic I come across. What I struggle with these days is the simple question of; “Why are we so angry?” Think about it, check you’re Facebook feed and if someone says something “anti-gun” they get blasted, if you “like” certain posts you get get blasted, defend your opinion and someone will call you an “idiot” or worse. 
 In ancient times (like 20 years ago), you and I might sit at a table and you might say “ I really like the Democratic candidate for President, he seems to have the best view for our future.” and then I might reply; “ I don’t know, I hear what you’re saying but I think the Republican makes a strong case for our independence.” Now, we sit at a computer screen and type; “I love Obama!” and someone types; “Glad you love Muslims! Sorry you don’t love GOD! GO BACK TO KENYA YOU MORON!!” It doesn’t even have to be that blatant, you can “like” a post and receive a response like the one above. Try it, find a picture of Barack Obama, Jesus, Elvis, John Lennon, Che Guevara or Ghandi, “like” it and see how many comments you get. 
 Before you accuse me of being hypersensitive, this is the 21st Century, everybody knows that all caps is YELLING!! Just like everybody over 40 knows that LMFAO means “Limes Make Fabulous Alternative Oranges” ;) 
 Seriously, my question is “Why are we so angry?” I guess another way of putting it is “Where did dialogue and discussion go?” We don’t debate we argue. EVERYWHERE! FOX, CNN, ESPN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MsNBC, THE FOOD NETWORK…ok the debates on the Food Network are valid, cinnamon and Lima beans do NOT go together!! Everywhere else though, WAR! 
 Here’s a thought; you yelling at me or threatening me isn’t going to entice me to fall in line with your views. It doesn’t work for anything. Christians went to foreign countries and threatened violence in exchange for conversion = lotta death. America tried it with the Indians, Romans tried it, Nazis tried it, it always ends the same; If you have to “force” someone to think like you, they will…as long as you’re watching…but they’re planning your execution…
 You want to “win me over”? Let’s talk, you hear me, I hear you, views are exchanged, ideas are traded, maybe you persuade me or maybe I persuade you, but civility is restored and ideals replace “positions”. 
 Just remember; Wolf Blitzer, Ann Coulter, Anderson Cooper, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’reilly, Jon Stewart and Bill Mahr are ENTERTAINERS. They work for corporations that have no philosophy. They are interested in the god that most of us pray to; $$$. 
 Which brings me back to my original question; WHY ARE WE SO ANGRY? Yeah, I yelled it, cause I wanna know! If you speak to a person on Facebook like I’ve described above, would you in real life? and if you would, WHY? What is it about someone’s differentiating view point that so threatens you? Is it the thought of Communism, Socialism, Agrarianism or some other “ism”? Is it the worry of Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Judaism, or another “ism” encroaching on your right to be what and who you are? Are you afraid of more guns, less guns, free healthcare, expensive healthcare, abortions, gay marriages, anti-war protesters, pro-war protesters…
 And then, reading my own writing (to spell check of course) I realize that I’ve already described the answer; it’s simple, it’s FEAR. Fear of the unknown, fear of not belonging, not being ‘right’, not being the smartest one in the room…
 We’re angry because we’re scared. Scared that what we know to be true will turn out to be false, scared that we might be wrong, scared that someone else might screw up our ‘good thing’. My old friend Gary Busey would say FEAR =  Feeling Every Alternative Reality. 
 Don’t be scared. It’s ok…as ‘ok’ as it’s gonna be. You’re gonna live your life, I’m gonna live mine and we’re gonna go the same way as our ancestors. You’re gonna meet your maker, I’m gonna meet mine and we’ll find out who was right and who was wrong. 

 In the meantime, consciously, let’s work at being less angry. If you love the president and I don’t, I promise not to call you an idiot. 


thelucyhammondband said...

Couldn't agree with you more! Not entirely sure where, or when,we as a culture, seemed to have lost our ability to have a lively, but friendly,discourse. To then agree to disagree, if need be! I was raised to see the exchange of ideas as healthy, and certainly not to give up a friendship with someone, if all our ideological viewpoints weren't identical! Too much time spent talking about sound bites,and not enough time spent reading, experiencing, overcoming,and most of all,maturing to a point where you have,and are capable of employing, critical thinking skills! Sad. Rather channel my energy into creating positive outcomes than arguing with those ill equipped for the undertaking! ;o)

stu said...

Why are we so angry? There could be many reasons. One could be ultra fanatic factions in politics (both sides)have polarized the nation and we have a distorted view. My theory is that, ideologically, people believe more black and white. Example: I may post a view critical of the President's policies and labeled a Republican by some Democrat...but wait,I voted for President Obama, twice. So, I must be a Democrat, right? Wrong. I voted for Bush Sr. back in the day, as well as Mark Sanford when he made his comeback to politics a while back (as well as fiscally conservative Republican folks running for local and state offices, and like the Democrats that I might vote for for other offices, it was paying attention to the issues and the candidates stance on them that influenced my vote.I'm not a member of any political party, fraternal organization, hate group,sewing circle, book club. About the only thing I belong to is AARP, but only for the discounts and the healthy living tips for aging folks like me. I won't say that I don't read the political pieces in the newsletter, but I don't always agree with them....my point is that while a lot of us think we are on one side or the other, the truth is that we are (most of us)in the middle. Most of us, were we to tune out the voices of hate and division (a large portion of it coming from the out of control beast we call the Media)and practice a little compassion for each other, we might just see that we all want the same things.
Another way to look at it is this: our American free market capitalist economy has led to a lot of people equating "the good life" to financial success and the amount of possessions one has. By definition that is materialism. Materialism is the antithesis of spirituality.But for a great many people, materialism IS their spirituality. This spiritual imbalance breeds greed (a manifestation of fear) and unrequited greed becomes anger (the expression of fear). I can't say this theory is my idea alone, Buddha foretold what I'm talking about when he taught about the Ages of Buddhism.His description that matches what is happening today, is called Mappo or The Latter Day of the Law. But , then again, I'm not a Buddhist either.
Very good Blog, Scott.