21 03 2008

I was sitting with some guys last night after a night at Billy Bob’s and had sort of an epiphany about something.

This one guy was saying how he was frustrated because he still didn’t have a girl, and how he just wanted everything to be over. He said it very facetiously, but the other guys said something to the extent of, “Quit being so Emo”. I was struck by this, because for some reason it just seemed wrong. Now, I know people that are “Emo”, and to be honest, they are some of the nicest people I’ve met. Most people I know that are “Emo” don’t really have the stereotypical suicidal thoughts or depressed mood that most people believe they have. Their joke really upset me. It frustrated me to a point where I started to lose faith in people in general.

I contemplated this all last night, and I was led to a conclusion that I think most people know, but don’t know that they know. (Sorry…that’s the only way I can really describe it.) The real problem with this is, no group of people completely understands any other group of people. Think about that. When you were in high school (or even if you are still in high school) whatever stereotypical group of people you were or are in would make jokes about the others or even about the people who were in your own group. It’s the people who didn’t quite fit in or stuck out. The oddballs, the weirdos, etc. and the jokes would be about something everyone assumed they did, or what they looked liked, or something else along those lines. That’s because they wanted to single them out, to get a laugh, or something along those lines. The picture I get is of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Actually, I can’t think of a better example for the point I am trying to make. Rudolph had that huge, red nose and it was weird because no one understood it, and why he had it. So, everyone called him names. (No pun intended) This goes far beyond one group of people. I mean, think about it, parents complain about their kids, because they “don’t understand”. Everyone, at one point or another, probably has been in this position.

So…we’ve got that no one understand anyone else. Why does this happen, though? Why is it that liberals don’t understand conservatives, why parents can’t understand kids, why Americans can’t understand Europeans, etc. The reason this happens is because everyone has different experiences in their lives, and everyone’s experiences lead them to where they are in their lives. If I had certain experiences growing up, other than what I had as a child, I’d be a completely different person based on the facts I established from those experiences. This is true for anyone. Our identities are not given, or set in stone before we are even born. We come to be as a person by these inanimate and superficial factors that are different for every person, hence why no one is exactly like everyone else. No one can understand why you act the way you do, unless those experiences are shared with someone else.

What can we do about this, now that we understand what is going on in our world to some extent? There is nothing we can do to change the experiences we have had, and why we are the way we are. That would require a “Back to the Future” type scenario, which is impossible. However, while we can’t change who we are, we can change our attitudes about others. Why do we need to worry about why someone is acting the way that they are? It’s irrelevant and it completely misses the point. It doesn’t matter why these truths are there, because in the end they are still there. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. The dog can chase its tail until the end of time, but the dog still won’t ever get it. Instead of worrying about why people are the way we are, we just need to accept that they are who they are. I don’t care if someone is a conservative or liberal, or whatever polarizing groups they happen to belong to. Start to see people as a citizen of the world. As someone who is your brother or sister in the modern world we live in. Find some common ground that you can agree on, and move on from that point. There are so many things that literally everyone can agree on. We all want to be happy, to have our needs met, and to be able to do all the things we want to do. It doesn’t matter what makes you happy or what makes me happy. We all just want to be satisfied. Maybe you don’t understand a certain person, but it doesn’t matter anymore, because they are still a person. You may not understand each other, but you still can treat them as a person. It’s ok if you don’t understand each other. Be satisfied with that mystery.

If we could all move off of these things that are so simple to understand, yet so hard to actually practice, we could do so much good in the world. But, I wonder if it’s possible for us to ever move off of this issue. We’ve been stuck on discrimination for millennia…I have a hard time believing that it’s going to disappear overnight…




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