Working on #5-7: Compassion is a Gift not a Transaction
With the almost non-stop onslaught of propaganda, bad news, scary news, horrifying headlines and the very distinct possibility that the monsters are in charge of the steering wheel of the Big American Buick, it’s difficult to find some guidance to proceed. Many simply give up, hide under the Eddie Bauer blanket on their couches and beg the noise to stop.
The zeitgeist of today indicates that we cannot change. James Gunn cannot change from the guy who reveled in shock humor, who wanted reactions and didn’t much care if they were negative or positive. To the mob, while it’s a shame that an alt-Right fuckface got his way, Gunn should be fired for having the audacity of being young and brazen and having poor taste. To the mob, making a joke about pedophilia is the same as endorsing pedophilia and is thus, deserving of the shaming and the career-ending consequences of offending the future with moments in the past.
As a former homophobe from the ’80s, a former fatass, a former self-proclaimed “Angry White Guy,” a guy who back in the day thought it was hysterical to hang my testicles out as a shockingly funny thing in front of everyone (men and women were treated to this,) a generally poor husband to two women, and a kid who thought that wearing red gelled Sally Jesse Raphael glasses frames with a bleach blonde mullet was hip, I believe unquestioningly in the power of change.
Where the alt-Left gets it wrong is that you can’t force change upon someone and hope that it sticks. Suppression of words does not equal a change in perspective. Often the forced suppression and shaming of people results in an opposite effect — it creates a sense of injustice and a doubling down of the behavior we want to control.
No, change in individuals cannot come from a societal demand for conformity — and that’s really what the Army of Identity Fetishists are calling for after all. Conformity in the presence of their non-conformity. It isn’t enough to be empowered being who they are (“You Do You”). It is also essential that everyone around them espouse (at least openly and in public) the Party Line of Fealty to the Tribal Mentality. As if, in response to a mantra of assimilation to a more homogenized America, the tables are being turned and the demand for assimilation to a fractured America is being required. The individual is all, morality is defined by the loudest, most relentless voices, and everyone else be damned.
In light of all of this, I recall reading a list that somehow resonated with me. It’s a simple list. It’s a list of general self-improvement (based on the idea that regardless of how fucking woke you are, we all could stand for a bit of self improvement).
1. Believe in something
2. Finish something every day
3. Have hopes and work towards them
4. Choose to be happy
5. Exercise Compassion and Generosity of Spirit
6. Make decisions first before you do anything
7. Let little things go and learn to forgive
8. Learn to be organized in your head
9. Get to know yourself
Currently, I’m working on #5–7.
Interestingly, in focusing on #5, the most difficult thing to grasp (I know it but kind of hate knowing it) is that exercising compassion is like giving out presents to people. If you expect a return gift, it isn’t a gift any longer, it’s a trade. Compassion is something you give without expectation of return. And demanding compassion from people is like demanding someone throw you a birthday party — it’s a bit petty, entitled, and always results in a shitty party.
You receive compassion by demonstrating it. That’s it. That’s the only way.
I believe in change. I believe that if someone does or says something that does not affect you directly, it isn’t any of your fucking business. Even if it’s broadcast across the InterWeb. I believe that offense is required to hone our abilities to see what matters and what doesn’t. And I believe that James Gunn was fired because the Hard Left opened up a Pandora’s Box of using the most effective communication tool in the history of humankind to call out and pillory anyone and everyone they can find, exactly like the Puritans before them and the anti-Communists before them and the Christian Right before them and forgot that the technique was invented by the Catholic Church.
In the meantime, I’m really working on #5–7.