©2021 Michael Raven
As I said in my daily “runepoem”, I think the world has put less value on patience, compassion, and love in recent years and those things are harder than ever to come by as far as I tell. Maybe not over all time, but for the past two decades, those things have begun a steep decline in availability by my estimation.
Honestly those three things are not the only things in apparent decline, but I can’t possibly try to track them all — so I am narrowing my focus on the things mentioned for now; focusing on a path to walk differently.
I’ve been ruminating all day these kinds of things, ever since I added that special note to that poem. It’s driven me to a kind of distraction and supplanted the anxiety I felt yesterday with a bit dull tristesse — nothing overwhelming, so perhaps it is more of a slightly sad lassitude. It is a kind of weariness with the way things are and, in these ruminations of mine (choose definition 1 or 2, it amounts to the same except the cud I chew is mainly made up of tough and stringy gobs of thought).
One of the things that has been dragging me down a bit in this matter, although I haven’t explicitly said so, is that people are increasingly more concerned about “proving” they right than they are in finding consensus and common ground. Everyone seems to have picked a team to plant their flag with on nearly anything we might have a discussion about, and that flag is almost always at a polar opposite of the other team. There is no continuum, no middle ground, no borderland marches in which to meet and find solutions. And, because of that, a difference in opinion becomes a war of words, sometimes invoking real violence as the only solution some people can see to make the other side come over to the place they planted that flag. Coercion is considered a valid tactic for finding a unilateral decision for the “right” way of doing things. Even freedom of speech in this country has eroded to the point that someone will tell you they will kill you, or encourage you to kill yourself if you say something they find disagreeable. Silence via the threat of violence is not freedom of speech.
And it is hardly one side or the other that takes up this immovable position. Both sides of many issues have their member who will advocate for the elimination or annihilation of the other side.
This isn’t just the big issues either.
The small interpersonal issues are suffering too, as we express immovable, intractable positions on where we stand on things with our nominal friends and real family. An example was me asking a former friend back in 2005 or so to quit bashing everything American after he’d lived overseas for three years. Because I had the audacity to ask him to stop bashing literally everything he dealt with when he returned to the States, I was suddenly the dumbest sonofabitch in the whole fucking world and he was tired of my hippie-assed Zen which diminished what was important to him. I had asked him to stop a constant stream of vitriol and his response was to unfriend me. All attempts to reconcile our differences have been met with silence. I would argue, in 2021, someone like him would add telling me to go kill myself for asking him to moderate his anger and frustrations.
He was never good at seeing the other perspective. The problem is, his attitude — an uncompromising, lacking in compassion for other perspective, absent of patience with anyone who might think differently (they were always “fucking idiots” for even entertaining another point of view).
I was no angel back then. Nor am I perfect now. But I try. Sometimes I have more grace than other times. Sometimes I fail miserably. It’s a never-ending evolution.
But I know that, lately, I’ve been getting weary of the hate, the vitriol, the lack of humanity, the “I’m not being judgmental” judgmental, the anger, the cruelty, and the absolute certainty that ever issue has to be a war of words and opinion.
I have been trying to make some inroads in my own flaws on this. I’m trying to at least understand another perspective, even if I don’t agree with it. I’m trying to have patience for people who are different minded, or live alternate lifestyles. I am trying to find love to send out into this world where I can, finding the diamonds in the rough, show appreciation where I can.
Am I perfect? Oh hell no. I don’t know if I’m even very good at it.
But I see a need for something other than rage and intractability. I’m trying.
And, as I said earlier today, I’m asking everyone else to just… in whatever small amount of energy you can spare on such things, try to extend an open hand instead of your fist when conflict finds you. Every little bit has got to make it better than walking the direction we, as a society, have been walking of late.