Sunday, April 26, 2020

30-Something Navel Gazing At My Navel-gaziest (And 13 Other Reasons Why Smooth is Better than Crunchy)

Sometimes, I feel compelled to write about politics, but then I question that urge, and ask myself if I really want to be another voice in the echo chamber. The problem with so many people feeling their opinions are valid just because they have them has kind of made holding any opinion seem absurd. But hey, you know where the US is ranked in education.

If I hold any particular political viewpoint--and it's sad that this is in fact looked at as a political viewpoint--it's that the humanities are important and provide something vital that you can't really get through facts and figures alone, unless you're truly looking at the macro. It's the humanities that help people to build empathy through the experiences of others, to get anyone to look at the macro in the first place.

It is more evident than ever that we need the humanities in our everyday lives, because not enough people are focusing on the bigger picture and how they affect it, and many seem to have a difficult time recognizing that we, as a collective of individuals, have become overly narcissistic and that it is seriously damaging our society. After all, if Donald Trump represents anything, it's narcissism more than anything else. I look around me, and look into myself, really deeply, and I come to the conclusion that too many people have stopped listening, myself too, to some extent, because they are focusing so hard on shouting out into the abyss, to the detriment of everything else in their lives. Listening, and really, actively paying attention to what's happening around you instead of hyper-focusing on what other people think about how you think about things is important and something that we often forget to do.

But maybe nuance really is dead, and we are really living in a post-nuance universe.

After all, it does seem like everything has to be a bold bright explosion of sensory overload navel gazing narcissistic masturbating pile of maggot infested horse shit, which let's be honest, is necessary to view in 4K, in order for people to pay attention. The maggots just don't seem real enough with less definition.

I am pretty sure this is what Ray Bradbury in the 50s, Kurt Vonnegut in the 60s, DEVO in the 70s, William Gibson in the 80s, Chuck Palahniuk in the 90s and Radiohead in the 2000s were all talking about in their own way, and I hope I am adding in my own small way to that conversation, because it's more relevant than ever.

As an aside, I recognize that those are just a few examples from a nearly infinite number that I could have chosen, and that there are probably many that I am even unaware of that might be better examples, but these are all ones that spoke to me in some way.

Anyways, as a Xennial, I grew up in the age when the public internet was in its infancy, before it was quite so universally accessible, and the speeds weren't really fast enough to do any significant computing, so it was easy to look out into the universe wearing major blinders, but not hard to avoid if you were open to finding things you weren't expecting. True, you had to be looking for something in order to find it, but you also had to be open to understanding it if what you found contradicted your viewpoint. That doesn't mean you had to change your viewpoint, but you had to at least question it. And you had to be looking. You didn't have to accept anything as a hard-fast rule, but the fundamental rule still remained the same. Look...

Fast-forward to today: the idea that this and others of the old rules also still apply, that you're not always right and it's a good thing to censor yourself sometimes, has gotten lost in the abyss--just look at the chatter on Facebook or Twitter on any typical day and you'll see what I mean. Of course, these rules are all interrelated.

By the way, the point of being anti-censorship and promoting freedom of speech isn't that censorship itself is wrong, it's more based on the enlightenment principle that censorship is only reasonable when it is self-governed, and you develop the ability to understand right and wrong from learning, and thus avoid making mistakes from understanding them through the experiences of others. Hence, it's okay and actually really important sometimes to withhold saying something if you're not really adding value to the conversation. True, sometimes the only value that something has is the contribution itself, but I suppose that's something you have to take the time for yourself to decide too, and that maybe, even if you decided to do something once and think something once, it does not mean that you can't change your mind when you get new information that changes your understanding of the thing.

Everyone just needs to take their fingers off the triggers and back down little, or a lot, even, and really stop and think about things, and start paying attention to what is really happening. Just because you have the ability to share your feelings instantly for the entire mega-verse to see, maybe a little filtering isn't a bad thing sometimes, or maybe even more often than not, it is a really good thing, and it's okay to think things through a little before reacting to something.

That's another thing the humanities can do, if you let them: they can help you develop a little emotional intelligence. Emotions are primal but trainable, if you take the time to question yourself a little and be willingly to admit that sometimes you have bad ideas and that it's good to learn from others, you will be better off. Can I just say here, yay multi-culturalism! And I am not sorry if that offends you because fuck you.

I know I can be guilty of being ignorant sometimes too, and it's safe to say that I have had plenty of bad ideas over the years, and many of them involved alcohol, but that's neither here nor there. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I am better or worse than anyone, but I am saying that I try to hold myself to higher standards than what my actual nature sometimes wants me to, and that's a good thing.

Also, it is not my intention to be lecturing anyone, but take what I am saying for what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't, and I am open for a real, intellectual debate about it, but other than that. I am right and you are wrong, so, as they said it in The Midnight Gospel, put that butt plug in the asshole of your universe.

No comments:

Post a Comment