Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I wrote this on another blog a few days after the Tuscon Tragedy..

From a philosophical point of view, I find that almost everyone will see and hear what they want to (see and hear). Many claim that they are being objective, but, from my unbiased observation (HA!). they are actually filtering everything through a pre-disposed reference point. In other words, if 100 people were to observe any event, each would come away with their own interpretation about what they experienced. In reading the highly passionate and often aggressive postings here and on other sites over the last few days, it has become crystal clear to me that my assertion has been repeatedly proven.

I’d like to think of myself as a slightly left-leaning centrist and, from that POV, I can usually be fairly objective and am able to empathize with both sides of any conversation. That being said, it is laughable to me how far some people are willing to go to rationalize their perspective. And, judging from their level of writing style and their mastery of the English language, I’d have to guess that they are pretty intelligent people (and, I imagined that that intelligence would translate to a higher level of tolerance and common sense) It never ceases to amaze me how someone can spend so much time and energy defending an obviously untenable position. Of course, this may be more a product of my own unconscious biases than any real illogical assertions by the “other” poster.

So, what does all this mean? To me, it just seems insanely counter-productive for us to keep hammering away at each other just to prove we are “right” over every little seeming infraction perpetrated by the “other side”. I haven’t seen anyone budge an iota from their position, no matter how much “proof” is endlessly spouted at them. Other than hearing (and seeing) their own self-righteous spewings on a thread, does this blattering serve any real, positive end? The “other side” is obviously not going to suddenly have an epiphany and wholeheartedly embrace their assertions.Can we, as a species, afford the luxury of pointless, unending, non-productive, self-promoting posturing?

Am I the only one who sees that Rome is burning while we are fiddling??

ADDENDUM

After re-reading this, I’d like to add this: It is perfectly OK (and unavoidable) that each of us have our own opinions and beliefs. What seems to be causing all the problems is that many of us have forgotten (or choose to overlook) the obviously debilitating and impossibly polarizing effect of confusing those opinions and beliefs with “facts” and “truth”. Can’t we just drop our overwhelming need to be “right” and just sit down as intelligent human beings and have a conversation that works toward finding some common ground? Our very existence may depend on it!!

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For What It’s Worth…

With all the conversations going on about the recent tragedy in Tuscon, I feel compelled to  add my thoughts:

GUNS

The biggest problem with guns is that they exist, and in great numbers. There is literally nothing that can be done about it. I don’t care how many laws are passed, they will surely continue to be available to anyone who really wants one (or two, three, or a hundred!). It would be impossible to collect them all and even if you stopped manufacturing them here, they would come from somewhere else. And, it is equally impossible to regulate them. Again, there are too many illegitimate ways to obtain a gun and any laws or regulations would be easily circumvented by anyone who was sufficiently motivated  to get one.

So, guns exist and are not going to go away, and, by themselves, are totally harmless. What makes anything into a weapon is, of course, how it is used. Which brings me to the my next point…

PEOPLE

Again, they exist and will for the foreseeable future (although it’s debatable how long that may be) AND they are beyond control due to an infinite number of variable inherent characteristics. No matter how many laws, rules or regulations are enacted, some will obey and some won’t, no matter what kind of punishment is threatened. They are the most unpredictable and, therefore, dangerous component of the whole equation. This point has been indisputably proven throughout history and you don’t need a PHD to see the truth of it. Which, again, brings me to my next point:

TARGETS

So, now we have guns and people, and the obvious need for targets. I mean, no one owns a gun simply to show them off or “collect” them… they are for aiming and shooting and, certainly, the intention is that a bullet will strike some predetermined target. Whether or not the bullet actually hits the intended target is of little importance in the final analysis for once the trigger is pulled, anything or anyone can be the “receptor”… collateral damage is inherent in the act of shooting. Once the projectile is on its way, no amount of second-thinking or regret will alter its course… the deed is done and the results are final. Although there were many opportunities to avoid this outcome, the choice has been made and is irreversible. Unlike an insult, a slap or a punch, a gunshot usually causes permanent damage, if not death. Yet, it seems many are able to perform this act with as little thought as it would take to order a Happy Meal at McDonald’s…. WHY?

DESENTIZATION

From my personal observation, I think, as a society (mankind as a whole) has become completely disconnected at the individual level. The “how” and “why” of it would require a separate lengthy discourse and I’m not going to go into it, here. I will say that I think technology (cell phones, computers, violent games, etc), the decentralized, mobile family unit and ego-centric “me” thinking has all contributed to this phenomenon. “You, your feelings and your life mean nothing to me” seems to be the mantra of  today’s society. People become nothing more than disembodied avatars in a surrealistic computer game and can be unemotionally blown away if they seem to be preventing anyone from winning their “game”. Yes, this is a generalization, and, as such, is not 100% accurate but I think it describes the situation fairly well.

CONCLUSION

This may seem to some to be dark and dreary “doom and gloom” synopsis… and, well, it is. To me, this shooting in Tuscon (and the vitriolic rhetoric that preceded it) are all just symptoms of a dysfunctional society. The larger problem, I’m afraid, is much more pervasive and dangerous. We, as a species, are on the brink of extinction and we can no longer afford the luxury of irresponsibly promoting our individual, self-centered agendas. We desperately need to engage in a new conversation that overlooks nationality, politics, money, religion and any other belief system that generates polarization rather than co-operation. And, there is no time left to waste in initiating it… the Gaea-clock is winding down and the “human experiment” is precariously close to ending. Isn’t it time for a change? Will you be part of the problem or part of the solution?

I thank anyone who has taken the time and effort to read this post, and I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough or eloquent enough to get my point fully across. In spite of my short-comings, I think that anyone who has the openness and willingness to understand it will be able to see what I’ve tried to communicate. Hopefully, it makes a difference in your life, and, either way, I’d love you to leave a comment and/or pass this on to others. PEACE!