I popped smoke awhile back and I gave no one an explanation as to where I was going or when I would be back. It was strategic. It was time. I wanted to disappear from the echo chamber and take time to explore new and complex ideas but most importantly, examine opinions opposite of my own. I have been searching for details. Answers to complex issues. How to really think critically. I intended on continuing that trip down the rabbit hole but I feel I must come back now. There are too many things to discuss.
It would be an understatement to say that my country, the United States of America, is going through some difficulties. We have protests at universities seemingly every week. Most of my country is upset with our President. We have questions about who can use what bathroom and what pronoun to use when speaking to someone. And, the biggest and most concerning problem, we have a Neo-Nazi problem.
i have the solution to all of these problems.
It seems that in the technological age we have lost our ability to discuss anything. It seems all too apparent that we as a species only like one opinion: our own. We find all other opinions “offensive” and revolting. I don’t know the science, but something about the human condition puts us in the position to believe the first thing we heard and follow the leader. We find someone we can believe in and hitch our wagons to them.
How is that beneficial? Well, it would be beneficial in a world where we are constantly searching for food and attempting to avoid war with a neighboring group of unknown people. A world far different from this one.
The world we live in today is the safest place in the history of our existence. We don’t have to go search for animals to kill, clean them, find a way to store them for future use, and we don’t have to be overly concerned with foodborne illness. We can go to a store and buy anything we want, take it home, put in the fridge, and then enjoy it as the week goes on. Most illness is easily medicated and many completely preventable. We no longer need to attach ourselves to specific people to survive. Survival is built into the 21st century.
it’s time for us to evolve.
We, as individuals, need to learn how to think. How to really think. How to evaluate ourselves, our choices, our possibilities, our opinions. This time in history requires you to expand the limits of your intellect. The better your brain works, the more you can achieve.
This extends to our society. The level our collective intellect could elevate our world society to levels only dreamed of. But the only way to get there is by working on ourselves first.
What we achieve mentally can be turned over to this generation’s ability to effectively change society for the better. What has our generation, the millennial generation, really achieved at this point? Being the most frustrating of all the generations? Being the ones who make the most noise that only sounds like constant bitching? While we as a generation have legitimate problems, and we’ve successfully used our voices on social media to make people aware of those problems, we haven’t done anything to this point to draw favorable attention to those problems. We are failing on multiple fronts and we have no one to blame except ourselves. We aren’t achieving anything in the way of the betterment of our society.
Yup. I said it. We suck. But we can so easily utilize our strengths to overcome our weaknesses.
So what is it that I’m saying our generation’s biggest weakness is exactly? Our ability to effectively communicate and exchange ideas.
Think of something like the Presidential race. How many people do you know who wouldn’t even consider another candidate unless “their guy” dropped out of the race? How many people flip flopped and couldn’t give a detailed reason why? How many of you, who at the age of 24, KNOW you’re a conservative or a liberal? How many of you immediately hitched your wagon to Hillary or to Trump, and as such, immediately began spewing the rhetoric of your respective party about the “evil candidate” on the other side?
If we evaluate something as simple as our dismal presidential race, we can gather some very straightforward understandings. Things like our media are terrible. People say the media is terrible yet we can’t get enough of their information and cite it as fact. We have people who aren’t willing to research complex issues and give insightful counter arguments.
all we really have is in this country is outrage.
Outrage. It’s a waste of energy if you ask me. Remember that prayer we hear on TV all the time at the end of the fictional AA meeting? “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It is legitimate wisdom we can all learn from.
what the world needs now is debate.
Open, honest, complex, public debate. Debate by experts of their field to discuss the pros and cons of societal and governmental issues. And if you think the presidential debates qualify, I’m going to tell you right now that is not a debate. It has never been a debate.
We are the generation who grew up with the power of the Internet. We are the generation who has spent our time surfing to the edges of cyber space. Yet, we only know how to yell about our problems and not how to approach them with any level of skill. We cling to our Twitter feed to get news and find “facts” yet the number of us that have actually read a study and the findings of its peer reviews is so small it’s fucking gross.
I’m telling you,
if we spent half as much time looking at gifs or cat memes we could change the world over night.
Instead of finding someone on Twitter to idolize and retweet them or beg for retweets, maybe we could find that person and investigate their claims. The sooner we learn to evaluate our surroundings and ourselves the sooner we can end a society that is driven by one outrage.
This brings me to a difficult subject.
the subject of free speech.
I understand that a lot of things are said or done under the guise of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. What I am about to say is going to piss so many people off. And quite honestly, I don’t care. I’m here to debate our issues and how to overcome them. I’m here to have a conversation and not an Internet yelling match.
people are emotional thinkers.
We see something and depending on the emotions it evokes, we form opinions about that thing. Let’s take something as simple as hunting. A guy goes into the wild, he carries with him his daily needs to survive the elements and shoots a bear with a bow and arrow. Many people will say that is disgusting. Common quotes are, “if you were such a man you’d kill that bear with your hands” or “I hope the next time you go a bear eats you. Then you’ll get what you deserve.”
Why? Is the hunter an asshole for killing his own dinner? The answer is we emotionally connect ourselves to bears. This is our show of empathy. We also have a culture where Smokey the Bear tells you to prevent forest fires so we have this strange imagination creating personalities of mega fauna that isn’t accurate. But for those uninformed that bears kill and eat other bears and the human interaction with the population control of many species is important to the well being of our current animal kingdom, this act is nothing short of murder. We forget that the things we bought in stores once lived and many of those lived in terrible conditions. I digress. This post isn’t to debate the ethics of hunting. This example is an example of emotional thinking. We see something like a man killing a magnificent bear and we draw our opinions from the emotions our body exhibits from this stimulus.
This is only one example. But another example is when people use their First Amendment to gather and display hateful and disgusting ideologies. Like in Charlottesville.
Before I get too far into this, I am going to make it very clear that I find racism disgusting. I think anyone who brandishes a Rebel Flag is either a racist or naïve. I think the KKK, White Nationalists, and Neo-Nazis are the scum of the earth.
Is everyone on board with that? Ok. Let’s move forward.
I also believe that they have the right to gather and display their bullshit ideology when that gathering is organized and planned through the proper channels and is specifically organized as a peaceful demonstration.
This is where people get emotional.
If it is disgusting and horrible and has no place in this world, why should we allow them to even demonstrate?
I’m going to provide you a few points of argument here as to why these scum should be allowed to gather in public and hold these rallies and why it’s actually good for them to do that.
First and foremost the First Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t say that you have the right to freedom of speech except if it is offensive. The First Amendment doesn’t say that you have the right to peaceably assemble except if you are attempting to advance your perverse ideology. It says that the United States shall make no law prohibiting your right to freedom of speech or to peaceably assemble. It is their constitutional right to assemble and as such we must allow them to do so and we must allow them to say their hateful, shameful, nauseating rhetoric.
Second, if we don’t allow them to do so, we aren’t just attacking their rights; we are attacking every person’s right to the freedom of expression. If we find exceptions to the First Amendment, where do we draw the line? If we block them from their First Amendment right will the government then find a way to block your right to verbally detest the president and his actions? While that is a quick jump, it isn’t one that is hard to imagine. We have this right so that we can keep our politicians in check and prevent our government from becoming a totalitarian government.
Third, if we censor this counterculture, we actually give it life. People love to be rebels. Especially when that rebel cause is attached to any form of righteousness. The naïve people who fly the rebel flag, fly that flag because it “represents” the right of states to govern themselves. Why would anyone fly the flag of a group of people who committed treason? A group of people who attempted to violently overthrow the United States Government? Something about us wants to go against the grain. We have so many people that feel the need to be contrarians. Look at flat earth theory for just one example. It seems the more we belittle the argument of flat earth, the louder the crowd becomes.
if we censor any idea, that idea is bound to develop steam.
Lastly, by allowing them to demonstrate, they open themselves up to be discussed and for their shit ideas to be evaluated and picked apart. If we leave them in the dark, they fester.
Like a disease, bad ideas must be recognized, studied, and medicated to destroy.
Not medicated in the medical sense, but medicated with words and ideas that are better structured and more informed. We cannot pretend that bad ideas don’t exist. The argument that if we just don’t acknowledge this idea, it cannot grow, is not only naïve but completely wrong. Radicalism in all forms grows bigger and stronger in the dark just like yeast does when you make bread. You take that dough and you put it in a dark cool place to allow the yeast to work its magic on the dough and bring the final product to fruition. This same thing is true of nasty ideas. If we put them in the closet and don’t acknowledge them, they will become the monster in the closet that terrifies us. We must openly talk about difficult ideas like racism, police brutality, abortion, and the list goes on and on or we will never understand them and they will create waves we cannot control within our society.
so how do we actually combat these volatile ideas?
All things must be given their due. Even something as ridiculous as flat earth or White Nationalism. We must look at their arguments. Allow their arguments to be well expressed and allow another person to provide a rebuttal. Society likes justice. Justice is a dish best served cold and I can only think of one way to serve that dish in the 21st century. By destroying someone’s ideology by eloquent strings of sentences. By making someone look unintelligent.
Have you ever lost a debate, or more likely an argument, and felt completely shattered? Ashamed? Was it because you couldn’t find the words to combat the opposing idea? Or was it because you were not as informed on the topic as the other person? And therefore looked unintelligent?
I am not a man with a large vocabulary. I like easy words. Anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written can tell you that I can put a sentence together but I don’t use fancy vocabulary to express my ideas. What I rely upon in any debate is what I know to be true and attempt to draw conclusions from that truth.
Twitter and Facebook are not the formats for you to debate any idea. They may be a “market place” of ideas, but they are not the place to develop intelligent arguments or understandings of our society and our development.
All I want is for this world to get better and safer. We have enough nukes to blow the entire world to smithereens (there’s that fancy vocabulary again). We have basically eliminated deaths from a number of diseases like polio and measles. We are the only generation who has grown up with the knowledge of the world within our grasp, yet our best skills are hashtags and spotting Kardashian Photoshops.
the time has come for our generation to utilize our skills on the Internet for the development of our society and our world.
It is time for us to come together and destroy ancient ideologies that have no place on our planet. But we have to find a way to develop our brains to stop thinking emotionally and instead think critically. We have to understand how to form ideas and how to positively combat evil in this world.
I started dating my girlfriend in June. And if there is one thing I’ve learned from her more than anything that would be to always ask, “Why?” She has literally asked me why I don’t like a song. Sometimes I feel like she’s questioning my thinking. But really, she’s trying to understand my thinking. By understanding the way I think, she can better understand who I am as a person.
This basic step is how we start debate. This is how we develop our minds to think at full capacity. If we come upon a piece of information, maybe we should just ask ourselves why and then find that answer. We have the Internet. We can easily find most answers with multiple citations that empower us and give us a little weapon called knowledge.
So the next time you meet a Neo-Nazi, or a flat earther, or someone who has a different idea than you, just ask them.