It is no real secret that the world is going bonkers. Not exactly a hot take to say that we are a people divided, confused, and angry.
Ultimately, what is happening in this world is a fight for truth. Which should be a beautiful process of collaboration. The trouble is that we carry with us an ever-growing set of double standards. Reinforced with poor logic, hypocrisy, and unchecked bias. The real shame is that we all carry a certain valuable perspective around the truth, one whose importance and validity dissipates when we try to make it THE truth.
But we, increasingly, are a society defined by extremes. We validate our own pain and undermine others’. We focus on the dangerous consequences of what others think while glossing over the dangerous consequences of our own line of reasoning.
Befuddled by ME
So the fault in the world is more and more theirs. We are more and more right. They are more and more wrong. They need to be silenced; their attempts to silence ME are oppressive.
All kinds of people and pundits want to talk about why the world is how it is. Why are we so divided, so afraid, so alone?
The answer, in my opinion, is that we have become obsessed and blinded by ME. Rather than truth, what I want to be the truth, has overcome our agendas. What is uncomfortable is abuse. What we disagree with is blasphemy. “Truth” has become so personal that it has lost all meaning.
We can’t get out of our own way. We can’t see the ways in which ME is contributing to the problem, only the ways in which ME is being inconvenienced. Perhaps, after all, there is no truth. Perhaps it is all perception, opinion, emotion.
If we internalize this idea, we no longer perceive the truth, we invent it. We determine what we want it to be rather than discover what it is. Our world is mired in an extreme case of Missing-The-Point. We are ALL defensive, biased in ways we refuse to acknowledge, and hypocritical. We are not looking for what is true, we are looking for what we want to be true. A dangerous and befuddling difference that has even the best of us mired in self-deception.
Who are these OTHERS?
As ME seeks validation, comfort, and ease from the world around us, it struggles with the question: who are all these others?
In the world according to ME, the value of others is placed on how much they look and sound like ME. The less they sound like ME, the more monstrous they are. The more they validate ME, the more valuable they are, the more empathy I have for them, and the more I admire their courage and character.
Rather than measuring others against any sort of reliable truth, we measure against what I think and how I feel. We use shame as a weapon, trying to force monsters into cages and manipulate people to huddle closer to ME.
We overreact and blame their actions. They overreact and we blame their overreactions. What “they” say is predetermined to be abusive, absurd, or dangerous. We measure ourselves by our own noble intentions and others by our worst-case fears.
Without truth, there is no trust. And there certainly is no trust in our world. Let alone forgiveness.
So what about these others? They are obstacles. Enemies. Objects of blame, deserving of our derision and scorn. Not our love. Never our love. We fail to see that our love is not validating anything about the choices of the other but about revealing the choices within ourselves.
I mean this with all sincerity: is there any hope for our world? Have we committed to the idol of ME too fully to find our way out? I fear we have. I fear I have. I am afraid truth has been replaced by emotion and confirmation-bias masking itself in new manifestations.
How can we pursue a de-personalized truth without losing the value of our person? Can we value experience for what it is worth, valid and important, but not definitive?
The future will look back on us and they will not judge different factions. They will judge us all. “The people of the day”. It is embarrassing and frightening that they might be able to judge us with more truth than we are judging ourselves.
Can our pursuit be redeemed? Or are we destined to spiral deeper and deeper into this vortex of ME and more. Polarizing to the extremes. Silencing the dissension.
I honestly don’t know.