I’ve been scolding myself to not talk about social issues that touch various people because I want people to read my blog, but I also don’t want anyone to read it. It’s because I am a coward. Why lie?
I really like learning through conversation and I do that by holding serious conversation with opinionated, knowledgeable, interesting people. I ask questions and I listen. Sometimes these conversations turn into a competition to appear smarter than one another and other times ideas clash so much, and disagreements occur. It might become difficult to separate a person’s idea from the person and I personally start to dislike that person heavily. I read somewhere in Dan Brown’s new book Origin (which I recommend by the way) that conversation is better than consensus. We learn so much just by talking to each other and it is not necessary that we agree to learn. The quote rings tremendously true to me. Still I can’t help but feel very badly about people and the way they carry their ideas.
Hypocrisy is a thing I feel strongly about. I have been on the internet a long time. Facebook does a very good job of reminding us just how many things we have been wrong about or how many things we once argued for with such shoulder shaking confidence and feel differently about now.
Hypocrisy technically means being that thing you are telling people not to be or it might also mean thinking you are superior to others when you really, really aren’t. Technically it means being a total contradiction of something you claim to stand for.
I wonder if that sometimes happens because one doesn’t really know what one believes or because one does not understand what that one claims to believe.
I’m writing about this now because when asked at some point I wasn’t able to pin point properly what I disliked about people. Upon deeper contemplation however, I have learned that this is one reason. And I have a crippling fear of becoming that which I dislike.
It is said that understanding people and the reason behind what they do will make you less likely to hate them because you know they usually don’t mean harm. Understanding the motives to the most minute details justifies it somehow. Because you are human, you empathize. I found in the book I am reading now titled, Existentialism: A very short Introduction a quote by some French novelist Madame de Stael that goes, “To understand all is to forgive all.”
Trying to understand the motives of other people worked for a little while for me. I try to be practical as much as I can so I tried it. It made me realize that people aren’t really evil. They can be selfish sometimes. They can super sadistic sometimes. But weirdly enough, I don’t hate that about them as much as I thought I did. I mean I really really hate selfishness, but I can tolerate it. What I really do not like, I realized, is when people cover it up with something else and when people lie about their intentions. What I’m trying to say I guess is that if you’re a jerk who can admit that you are a jerk, I can live with that.
I was talking about Charles Bukowski yesterday and the old man is reputed as being “a real author” because he “writes his truth”. I personally think Charles Bukowski writes brilliant poems with the mere intention of offending people, but I’ve never known the man so that’s wrong of me to say. When approached by people to be less of an asshole in his writing, he openly talks about how he will not change his ways to be accepted but it’s obvious that he knows his ways are a bit vulgar and doesn’t hide it. There’s also this poet whose name I didn’t bother to grasp. He writes in Amharic and he performs at the Poetic Saturday thing sometimes and his poetry almost all the time cleverly starts off with words that instantaneously appear dirty and end up meaning something mundane. Like for example one poem was titled ‘ንፋ”. The poem continues pretending to describe sexual acts instructed by the woman but then turns out to have been about a woman telling him to sieve flour (ዱቄት መንፋት in the most literal sense). The first day I heard this guy I was like, “why the hell is he being a dick on purpose?” but then I heard more of his poetry and later dubbed him the king of puns. He does it on purpose and it offends people; it made me feel stupid and super dirty minded that first time. But then I learned that it’s actually his intention and he is unapologetic about it. I don’t like him, but I’ve learned to respect him just like I don’t like Bukowski, but I have deep respect for him too.
I wanted to think that people should always try to be good and I had convinced myself that I can only like people if they know that they are bad and if they try to be better. When I was younger I was an advocate of embracing who you are and being unapologetic about it. It was probably the result of being impressionable to the famous teenage dramas of that time with their teaching to ‘be yourself’. I practiced what I preached too but I was also crying myself to sleep thinking about how I deserved better from people. Now, I’ve learned that your life and everything you do almost always touches someone else, so you have to be cautious of how you want to affect people while you are “being yourself.” or just pretending to be. If you don’t care how what you do affects other people, then you must also be ready to accept the back lash you receive from it. If you aren’t trying to be better for them you shouldn’t expect to “deserve” what you want from them.
It’s something I see everywhere from the way people dress to the way social media is utilized and I’ll even admit that I was once part of this hypocrisy. We’re always talking about how our body is ours to dress and that we do it for ourselves and not because we want to affect other people, but it stands true that we might still draw attention to ourselves with it whether we intended to or not. And we were always claiming that our social media is our private personal space to do as we please with when we share information that enrages and triggers other people. Other people do get to unfollow you and remove your bullshit from their feed which is mostly advisable but they won’t do that. People are drawn towards bullshit and other shit they disagree with to feel better about themselves by putting it down. (See the most recent internet fiasco featuring non other than genuinely stupid youtuber Logan Paul. I will not post a link. Google it if you want.)
If we’re talking about living together in tolerance, I think we should be putting other people into account when we do anything . If we really do not care and out intention is to trigger and offend, I can learn to live with that. At least don’t lie about your intentions and be prepared to take the back lash.
P.S I am not immune to hypocrisy. In fact as a growing confrontational writer, I am a number one candidate. I will not hate you for pointing mine out to me. In fact, I’ll be indebted to you….and then maybe I’ll go out of my way to find something on you too.
P.P.S I am reading “Existentialism: A very short Introduction” very, VERY slowly even though it is a really slim book. However, there will be an entry about it.