Excuse the Rant this Morning

I am in such a rush for this school year to be over I am counting down the weeks in small, manageable units. This begins week 2 of 5 before Easter break. Then 5 again before the summer.

At the same time, I hate that I am willing the weeks to roll by quickly. I’m painfully aware of how precious time is now. I need to find a way to sit with this contradiction, knowing that there’s no way to resolve it. In theory yes: breathe into the discomfort, stay in the moment, find perspective on the emotions. But in praxis?

I know I’m not alone. Just when we thought that the pandemic was over in terms of a real threat to whole communities, new threats flame up like half-forgotten campfires.

I am not happy with my writing this morning, but I can hear the crackling of wood re-igniting. The unpredictable popping. And a sizzle. It seems like a meditative transition from the fires in the world right now: to pull up a campfire. Maybe go sit with one. Away from all the uncontained fury online. I think I need that. I need to get away from the dominant rubric for politics that dominates the media.

I want to understand.

Understanding why someone might do something, seeing their perspective, does not mean endorsing their actions or their perspective. It is also possible to understand and still condemn.

And there is no such thing as pure left and right – it is one hellava messy Venn diagram of issues and opinions and perspectives. I have stopped reading US news sources because of this bizarre divide.

It is especially odd that this binary is solidifying at the same time many people are questioning other binaries. Odd is putting it mildly. It is a kind of hypocrisy.

And it is why I have thought I should leave social media so often. It doesn’t bring people together to promote understanding. It brings them together to reinforce predetermined opinions. To form a front. To intimidate and shut down perspectives that aren’t militantly aligned with their own. Slogan for slogan. Rage is contagious. And rage is rarely helpful. Second-hand rage seems especially fruitless.

I think about what people did to one another under the occupation here. Intentional, accidental. I think about literal and metaphorical witch hunts and the settling of old grudges under convenient new banners – consciously or unconsciously.

Old hates just shift their headlines.

Facebook has lifted its ban on hate speech when it is regarding Russian soldiers. There was a two-week window when hate speech aimed at the Irian leaders was permitted. Facebook is determining – around much of the world – what is “socially” acceptable to hate. Are we thinking about the implications of that while we are reading our feeds?

I think I am smart. But I am uncomfortably aware of how malleable my opinions are, how easily I am swayed without my even noticing. I catch myself now and then going with the flow.

I condemn the actions of Putin as much as anyone I know. But I won’t celebrate dead Russian soldiers. I don’t think those these are inseparable. There are more than two columns to separate the world into.

Real-life is not 0 and 1.

I think a few minutes on the beach with a small bonfire might do me good. This isn’t ending anytime soon. Or ever actually. Waiting for a vacation is just foolish.

Deep breath. Find the awesome things out there and sit with them. Right?


Leave a Comment

  1. What a beautiful human being you are Ren….
    This (soft, yet deep) ‘rant’ made me a lil teary.
    We all feel like things are a bit incomprehensible don’t we?
    I am so so glad that I am not ‘right’ or ‘left’… I am just me.

    • Thank you for such a kind comment! – I think the real truth is in the incomprehensible – and maybe the only real love?

  2. Yes Ren.

    The thing about hate, is where it actually lands. The first person we sacrifice to hate is ourself. Isn’t it? For years now I’ve gotten myself to notice when I want to even use that word. Small truth, if asked, no, that’s not what I really feel or mean. Be honest with words. Yea? This all seems simply practical (practice?), doing what feels right and bright. Don’t even need to get spiritual to grow understanding.

    And “awesome” things are closer than we often see?

    Prayers of understanding for all of us.

    • Good to hear from you, Neil! I went looking for you just yesterday (seriously) to see if I missed an update on your blog.

      And yes: prayers of understanding sounds perfect.

  3. The chapter I’ve just started in Bregman’s “Humankind” is called How Empathy Blinds. I have yet to read through it and see what he means. Maybe it’s that sometimes (too often) we’re too nice and do things just to be liked regardless of what those things are.

    I think every day about quitting fb, but always hold off, because, despite its dubious nature, there are a couple of groups on there that give me a lot of comfort all the time (and no, they’re not groups that put up pics of cats etc), as well as one group we have for the radio so we can actually schedule efficiently.

    For me the issue is always this – we’re all people, basically the same. Why do we allow ourselves to be ruled by psychopaths?

    Sending good thoughts to all.

  4. Thank you so much. This is just what I needed this morning. Every day I make a point to stop & think what I am grateful for, and there is so much! Still, the bigger world these days makes me feel just so sad.

  5. I barely consume US mainstream media either, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to communicate with liberal friends on social media. The divide isn’t just between Republicans and Democrats, but between economic and cultural leftists. The latter don’t seem to mind that many multinational corporations are all too happy to weaponize racism and sexism to go after workers and undermine long-held liberal positions about freedom of expression, privacy and surveillance, etc.

    • Yeah – here everything right is still left of left by comparison. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal is still right of center. I feel like it is just pushing rocks in the sand.