“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
Bear with my initial negativity here, I come to a good compromise at the end.
How I view the world (turn the volume up): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDPWP5GKQA
How most normal people view the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwH4wPz-URM&feature=related
I’ve been having some difficulties dealing with people lately (lately as in the past decade or so). But lately it’s been getting worse. My pessimism is growing like a tumor in my brain, feeding on the emotionally healthy people around me and feasting on their happy-go-lucky thoughts while excreting the waste as evil cancerous cells into my head, which has become distraught by the fact that most peoples’ self-satisfied way of life will result in humanity’s and the earth’s destruction. I try to tell them what they’re doing wrong. I try to show them the world outside their cave, but it turns out that informing people of their ignorance leads to arguments, and arguing leads to dead ends. The more anger I aim at humanity’s atrocities, the less accurate my shot becomes as my arm shakes in anger and sends the arrow flying off into the bushes where it will be lost forever. Maybe I’m aiming at the wrong target altogether. Or maybe I need a bazooka, not a bow and arrow. Either way, I feel like I’m the lone rational person left on earth, which has become overrun with the idiots that populate the ingenious movie, Idiocracy.
Even people who say they care about the world don’t seem to care. I stopped by Occupy Boulder last week, which has relocated and grown in size due to an influx of homeless Occupy Denver protesters after the brutal police raid on their camp put things to an end a few weeks ago. I was eagerly conversing with a group of people about something I thought we all felt passionately about, but was let down when the girl I was talking to interrupted me to ask if I was 420 friendly. I said, “Yeah sure,” and she lit up and passed her pipe around to her friends, changed the subject, and I was left standing there realizing that the entire time all she’d been thinking about was an opportunity to light up and she didn’t actually give a damn about anything we were talking about. I left and continued my job hunt, and found a job. They’re still there, getting high and NOT talking about anything.
A lot of dull people like to say, “Well I just wish everyone would get along once and for all. I just wish people would be nicer to each other you know?” Well no shit Sherlock. Of course that would be a good thing. But there are limited resources on the earth and not all 7 billion people can live the way we do. It’s not compassion that humans lack. Compassion is not the problem in our world. Very few people want to make someone starve, very few want to see an innocent child blow their leg off on a land mine, and very few people want to cut down the rain forests (well, maybe less care about the forests). But my point is that most people aren’t evil, obviously. Most people are kind, and yet the world is an unkind place if you live in the two-thirds of it that make up the third world.
The problem with humans is a lack of knowledge, not a lack of kindness.
When you call someone ignorant, they’re likely to get upset. This is because they think that the word ignorant means stupid. This only further proves how ignorant people are, since ignorant doesn’t mean stupid, it means lacking knowledge. Everyone’s ignorant in one subject or another. (I for one, don’t know how to be less excellent at everything I say and do). But ignorance, when it comes to the small decisions one makes that affect others in large ways, is not an excuse that we can afford to give any longer.
We’ve been brought up with the notion that being a nice person is the ultimate way to make the world a better place. I disagree. Misinformed and misplaced compassion is a waste. What good does being a nice person do when you’re not informed enough to know what to support, what to hate, and what to stop from happening all together? The world is full of nice people. Nice, ignorant people that don’t think of the consequences of buying that Hummer that chugs a half gallon of gas every time they drive five minutes to Walmart for a pound of steak, which also required a half gallon of oil for its creation (this is not an exaggeration). Do people not see the repercussions of relying on foreign fossil fuels? The environmental devastation alone should be enough for them to decide upon walking or riding their bike instead of driving. But even that, PLUS the death toll in the Gulf isn’t reason enough for people to get off their fat, lazy asses and walk. 1.5 million people. That’s how many we’ve killed in Iraq for our cheap oil in the last decade. I assume it’s ignorance that allows this to continue happening, because, as “nice” people, we’d put a stop to it if we really thought about what was going on. At least I hope it’s ignorance that’s the problem.
Most people don’t stop to think about these things, and that’s what drives me nuts. But I know there are plenty of things I do wrong too. I eat meat, I rely on air travel, I require 60 times the resources a single Bangladeshi citizen consumes. But at least I’m aware that I’m a monster, though by admitting this I guess my problem IS compassion.
I’ve been told by a fair number of wise friends, with my best intentions in their minds, that I need to stop being so self-righteous, less confrontational, and more accepting, if not for my own health and well-being, then for the sake of the people and companies I represent as a cyclist on a sponsored team. So do I follow my ethics or do I keep quiet and race my bike? Can I have both?
Martin Luther King Vs. the Black Panthers: if I lived in the era and had to choose between the two I’d most likely have chosen the Black Panthers, a civil-rights group hell-bent on getting their rights met NOW by use of force and violence. I can’t imagine the rage a black person must have felt before the 60s (and the rage they still must feel because racism is, of course, still thriving). But King accomplished so much more than the Black Panthers did, by use of peaceful protests and enlightened speeches. I’ve decided to strive towards a less confrontational method of achieving change after thinking about how real change is made. Martin Luther King didn’t challenge people in a menacing way and he achieved the greatest results of any of the civil rights leaders. By keeping a calm, cool head under pressure and not scaring off potential supporters, he created real change (getting shot helped speed things along too).
Methods I’ve been thinking of to get my point across without being so harsh, for my writing as well as person-to-person interaction, include:
-Less confrontation so I don’t scare off my subject without them absorbing a word I say.
-Pandering to the lowest common denominator helps accomplish this too, by making people feel smart and knowledgeable. Maybe I’ll start making more mistakes and intentionally playing dumb so I don’t intimidate people so much (oh wait I’ve been doing that for years already).
-Not letting people realize how radical I really am, or even which side of an issue I’m on. This will allow them to accept more of what I say, especially if I initially agree with them on things that I otherwise would have shot down immediately.
-Preaching to the choir is a waste of time, so basically I assume this entire blog post is a waste of time. I need to lasso the in-between-ers.
-Newton’s third law, “For ever action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” only applies to the Chinese finger trap when attempting to escape the incorrect way. The harder you pull your fingers apart in a Chinese finger trap, the more difficult it is to escape. I need to adopt the correct escape method and learn to pull slowly and carefully (or just become so strong I can rip it apart with one yank). This applies to racing too.
The best real leaders throughout history have never used force. Tibetan monks lit themselves on fire, which was much more effective than lighting the enemy on fire. Gandhi led hunger strikes and peaceful protests, which was more effective than starting a war with the British since the British would have massacred India like we did the Middle East. Ansel Adams used photography to impassion people about the natural beauty they were destroying and John Muir accomplished more than any other environmentalist with pen and paper. Authors trick their readers into adopting their point of view by hiding the moral deep amongst action, drama, love, comedy and all that other garbage that goes into a book to keep people entertained. Unfortunately, as we learned in high school, the moral of the story has to be pretty obvious for most people to pick up on it.
So through deception and deceit, I plan on amassing an unwitting army of free thinkers and rational consumers who’ve decided on their own (sort of but not really) that changes need to be made and that Complacency Falls is not a good direction for the human race to continue to row towards.