Beneficial shame

It’s difficult to take credit for the messes we’ve made. The histories of other countries could tell you what atrocities 50 stars have caused. Not only is there the slavery on our soil, there’s the wars we’ve started for the sake of money, oil, political control; at the end of the day the word PROFIT is all that seems to matter. We’d like to believe some grand idea is behind this all that we can’t comprehend. Truth be told, it’s the same sort of god-thinking that made us mark ourselves “a Christian nation”. Truth be told, there’s very little that’s Christian about us, unless we’re discussing an Old Testament premise of the model Christian. We allow sex scandals to dominate our newsfeeds because we enjoy the villainy. We feel better when someone else is worse off than we are; instead of trying to help the victims we find a way to make them the culprit. Instead of learning how to check our neighbors have as much as we do, we look in their bowls and curse them for having more than or even just a different kind of grain than us. We look and we curse them because we feel that extra grain should’ve been ours. Why? What makes us believe we deserve more? Why not deserve less? Why not check to see if they have less and share our own? What pulls our sails toward greed instead of generosity?

I used to think that Capitalism causes it, but I no longer think that to be the case. Other countries rely on the capitalist system and they aren’t quite as egotistical and self-promoting. The narcissism is our inside joke that we share and feel embarrassed when faced with the truth. “What is there to be narcissistic about?” A species that hasn’t evolved it’s self in a few millennia. Taller, sure, but more adaptable? Hardly. Most of us aren’t “tech people”. Here we are 2,000 some odd years past the birth of “the savior” and we’re finally learning that skin color doesn’t dictate behavior. The shape of our heads and eyes don’t necessitate a personality, just a genetic origin. This was a major breakthrough for the human population, though it’s relatively common sense. Considering we will someday be scattered out into the stars (if we aren’t already, unbeknownst to us) it might be good of us to start letting differences be a source of happiness and not resentment. I appreciate that we’re trying, it just seems so trivial that anyone could still be clinging to an identity like nationalism or racism in 2020.

What I think irks me most about it is the willing ignorance to turn away from anything suggesting there’s no difference grand enough to make us less or more human. Despite the atrocities of any hateful human being, I do not fool myself into the belief that they are NOT human. They might be less intelligent, less aware of their fellow man, but not less HUMAN. Less humane, I’ll give you that. For me, this is the difference that really seems to divide us most. We think we’re incapable of being reduced to these deeds. We think we cant be swayed to hate others in such a repulsive way. We would be wrong to think this. I can recall a time when i was less intelligent with my anger. That time saw me hating many people without reason or just cause. If you were to dig back into my childhood and search, you could find people who might have thought me racist. I was bullied, and with that bullying came the confusion that a certain type of person was the reason i was bullied. For a time, i believed that only certain kinds of people bullied. Over time, I learned that it doesn’t take a specific ethnicity to insult, demean, degrade, and disgrace. It just takes differences, and the willingness to be threatened by them. That was a strong lesson for me as i grew older, and to this day I am happy to discuss it with anyone who asks because it was important.

Being wrong is important.

If you are wrong and learn to see that, you can grow from it, and doing so makes you evolve. You become a stronger person, a stronger human. When i finally realized that I had only perpetuated the cycle i was caught in, I stopped being so angry. I didn’t learn this in therapy, I learned it in literature. I can’t give you a precise quote, though i know this realization struck me while reading Albert Camus. While i can’t say i agree with everything Camus said or did, there are large portions of his philosophy that drive me to glee and shouts, simply because he gives reason and understanding to what i felt so long and couldn’t name.

This being said, let me come back to my original idea; It is difficult to take credit for the messes we make. The simple idea is an unmade bed; we must admit it is unmade in order to move forward and make it anew. This simple concept branches to all of life’s dilemmas. We cannot fix what we do not believe to be broken. With that in mind, i urge you all to review what is wrong in your life. Even that which you do not believe is your fault, and detach, align yourselves with “the vast indifference of the universe”, as Camus puts it in The Stranger. Find the things you are doing which bring you back into the cycle, and how you can alter them. I can say for certain, that as a country, we here in the USA have a tendency to blame the other half of the political sphere, and instead should take a gander at what our slant is. What have we done to participate, to perpetuate? It becomes a fun exercise in shame, and progress.

This is for you Gareth. I love you and miss you.

1 thought on “Beneficial shame”

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