Monday, November 1, 2010

Vol #1, Col #13: You Can’t Handle the Truth

I think things must have been easier in the Wild West. If you had a beef with someone, you called a duel, and whoever could pull their gun out of their holster with superior lightening speed well…problem resolved. But it wasn’t merely this method of “social control” that proved more effective (and straight to the point, I might add), but further the nature of the conflicts that emerged between people seemed to be largely based on more “tangible” concerns (ie: limited resources, whether in the form of food, water, territory and/or women).

In contrast, these days, and I propose it’s because we, as North Americans, have SO much (tell me when’s the last time you worried about whether or not you’d be able to find drinking water untouched by arsenic? Oh right, such a thing has never occurred in your lifetime!), we CREATE conflicts and social categories intended to enhance divisiveness (something I like to term “human-made drama”), that in reality don’t have very strong feet to stand on (sound familiar? 9/11 perhaps?).

A more down-to-earth example can be seen in the case of “internet flame wars.” I mean, honestly, can someone please explain to me the purpose of such juvenility, let alone the cause? As always, an instance from my very own life proves illustrative -- don’t you love it when real life serves as inspiration? I know I do! So here goes:

For absolutely no reason and without any provocation on my end, just the other day, some random chick posted up big and bold for the whole world to see, that she apparently hates me, in her Facebook headline (something I only learned about because it would seem we have some mutual acquaintances). Seeing as I’ve NEVER met NOR conversed with this individual in my entire life, I find it hard to believe that she could harbour such strong emotions toward me. I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy, but I am selective when I use said term, and you best believe that if/when I do employ “hate”, it’s for good (pardon my French) f-ing reason.

I guess I’m just of the belief that if someone has a grievance, they should have “the balls” to confront the other person to their face. (Talking trash behind peoples’ backs is underhanded and vicious. More importantly though, it also fails to solve anything! Oh yeah, and for those of you who think this is the more “polite” approach, I hate to break it to ya, quite the opposite is true.) Not only would this, I’m sure, prevent a whole hell of a lot of long drawn-out affairs that arise entirely from miscommunication (ie: it would give “the accused” an opportunity to explain him/herself), but further it is the respectful and mature way to broach said situations.

Perhaps my “flamer” was having an exceptionally bad day, but rather than host an introspective investigation into her own psyche in order to ascertain the underlying cause(s), she decided to project her negativity onto me to scapegoat any sense of personal responsibility. Or maybe…more simply, her actions were fuelled by jealously? In either scenario, I maintain that her animosity in my general direction was and remains unjustified.

There are a lot of individuals out there, in both the real world and cyberspace, with whom I don’t particularly mesh well (to put it lightly), but I don’t have the time nor do I wish to waste the emotion on creating hate postings. For what purpose? To put someone else down so that temporarily I can feel grandiose? I’d like to take this moment to send a personal message to my flamer: If the only vehicle through which you are able to develop a sense of confidence and self-worth is by putting others down, then my darling, you’ve got bigger problems than just me. But I digress…

To bring everything full circle, what this story so aptly demonstrates is contemporary humankind’s obsession with negativity (and yes it is an obsession, NOT a natural inclination - as they say, happiness is a CHOICE). Because we no longer have to direct the vast majority of our intellectual and physical faculties into acquiring the bare necessities of life, we have time for gossip, we have time for “flame wars”, we have time to bully – all instances of “human-made drama”.

We have forgotten that every word, every action, and even every thought that we put out there affects others. We have become so caught up in our own selfish individual existences that we tear each other down, without giving it a second thought, just to get ahead. We care about our lives now, instead of planning for the future. We externalize our desires, and blame everyone else for our failings. So, is money then the root of all evil? No, money is merely a medium of transaction. As for the aforementioned negative and obsessive line of thinking? Yeah, I’d say so. The truth hurts. Deal with it.

Modern society’s issues are indisputably human-made, but in the ever-so-slightly paraphrased words of Jason Mraz, “The remedy is [in] the experience.” We can AND should learn from our mistakes. And while I may be undertaking a “dangerous liaison” by pointing all of this out, “the truth” as another famous quote suggests, “will set you free.”