Thursday, August 27, 2015

See Paris First

A photo posted by Wavian Arts (@wavianarts) on

Suppose what you fear
could be trapped
and held in Paris.

Then you would have the courage
to go everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.

Still, you wouldn’t dare
to put your toes smack dab
on the city limit line.

And you’re not really willing to stand on a mountainside
miles away
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
And just to be on the safe side, you decide to stay completely
out of France.

But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.

You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
“See Paris first.”

—M. Truman Cooper

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Just Believe in it.... by S.H.

"My cause is more important!"

"No, MY cause is more important!"

"You're both dumb, you should be passionate about what I'M passionate about!"

"Look, there's pictures of other people on the other side of the world agreeing with me. I am right, you are wrong."

"You're all missing the point, THIS is what you should care about."
 Whoa, whoa, whooooa. Whoa. Folks. Stop a second.

Firearms. Poverty. Racism. Law enforcement. The 2016 US Presidential election. Body image. Global warming. Endangered species. Gender discrimination. Rape culture. Justin Bieber. What XYZ or ABC politician or corporation got away with. GLBT issues. Minimum wage. Veterans. Who was and wasn't inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Immigration. Taxation and government spending. Our definition of bravery. "First World Problems." ALS. Privacy rights. Net neutrality. People who leave their kid/dog in a hot car & people who bust them out. Walmart shoppers. Healthcare. Domestic violence. How Native Americans are treated. Fossil fuels. Douchebag drivers. How much attention one person's death gets over another's. Israel & Palestine. Vaccines and anti-vacc'ers. Plus another 50,000 things I can't even fit into a FB status field. All stuff people can get really fired up about.

But meme-shaming people who are fired up about something one day is as unhelpful in gaining support for your cause/theme/issue as meme-shaming people who donate to one charity over another.

I'm particularly disappointed in friends/acquaintances I consider to be pretty high-consciousness people doing this daily. Come on, y'all know better than to fight anger with nastiness or condescension; it only serves to lower the common consciousness. Compassion in ANY direction is always a good thing. We are all products of trillions of moments and experiences all mixed together, influenced by more factors than there are people in the world. There are lots of things that ethically people ought to get really fired up about. The prioritization of these things is *subjective*. Also dropping some major truth here, wait for it . . . waaaiit for it . . .

It truly IS possible for a person to feel passionate about more than one thing. AND try to raise awareness of all of them! You can do that!

Moreover, if someone isn't fired up about something in a given moment, it doesn't automatically imply they are apathetic about it. Not to mention that it does not behoove anyone to encourage apathy towards any issue in favor of their own strong beliefs. To those who are fond of the "you're only fired up about XYZ because you're a sheep and the media told you to be angry!" meme I can only say that I try to give my fellow humans a little more benefit of the doubt -- we are not all cattle who stupidly stampede every time we hear a clap of thunder and go back to chewing grass the moment it passes. Conversely I know you would not say about yourself "Every single thing I like I only have affinity for because the media told me I should." Come now, that's not always true either. So while it is part of our evolutionary programming to experience a negative emotion when we see something that we object to, often it's more profound than that. People are complex. Issues are complex. We used to be more selective what we discussed with other people because the newspaper, magazines, radio, or evening news were our only exposure to current events. Now we have a continual flood of events and issues passing through our awareness every minute. Not everything will have equal meaning or gravity to every person, nor to the same person on different days. And yeah, while the media (esp. in the US) has lots of bias because Profits, and there are A ZILLION important events and causes we should care about that never make it to our screens, it does little good to belittle that which someone does speak up about.

So perhaps could we, instead of barking at each other through the fence to stop focusing on certain issues, rather *invite* each other to *also* raise our awareness to multiple issues? Can we maybe *listen* to other perspectives AND *constructively voice* our own perspectives? Are we able to say, "Hm, I do hear what you're saying. Another way to look at it is . . . "? And most importantly if we feel that strongly about making a change about something in our status quo, would not the best way to do so be to take action and change it, rather than complaining and judging others? The more we argue about "what's really important" the more we sound like the comments section of YouTube videos.

If you've made it the whole way to the bottom of this post, you're probably already looking at the bigger picture most of the time. And thank you for reading it. I hope some constructive discussion comes of it, or at least a little inspiration for action, maybe.

For those who skimmed the whole way (and that's ok!), I give you:

TLDR version: In the immortal words of Shepherd Book from Serenity, "I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it."