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Why do you care?

Thursday 4/13/23

People say many dumb things. Unfortunately, they mostly only say dumb things now. I remember things that I heard in previous times and decades and that I read which were not dumb things. I don't hear or see anything like that now. I can go weeks, even months, without encountering a single intelligent remark, be it spoken or written. The remarks that I do hear that possess some value and have insight and/or freshness, tend to come from children.

When I have conversations with people, often I have to decide whether or not to let what they say pass. If, for instance, I'm talking to someone about the Beatles, it's almost always the case that what they just said to me is in some way or ways wrong. Even factually wrong. Do I fix it? Address it? Let it go? Normally I let it pass, or address it very subtly in what I say in following, such that someone wouldn't even notice the correction. But I can do with pretty much anything anyone says to me. It will be in some ways wrong. That's a lot of unpleasant decisions to make. You can't go around correcting everyone.

But one of the more troubling things that people are wrong about, and which one encounters hundreds of times every day, is this notion of, "it doesn't affect you at all, why do you care?"

They don't say or write it that way. They insert a "literally" for reasons that have been discussed in these pages. The use of the word "literally" is like saying you're impotent. You can't perform. Only in this case, that's with language. That's how I read it every time. Someone is telling me they're impotent. I think, "Why are you make a confession of your flaccidness to me?"

You commonly see this with the subject of masks and social distancing and trans people on Bud Light bottles but also many, many other things. If someone makes this remark, I know that they don't think and they may be incapable of thinking, just as the person who has hacked away their own legs is now incapable of walking.

I also know that they're selfish, they have no idea how the world works, and they are stunted. We are all a part of something. The human race. Culture. Society. If one sees a man beating a child on the other side of the street, these same words could be said. It doesn't affect you. Or, if one lived a comfortable life mere kilometers from a Nazi concentration camp, one could say that it doesn't affect them.

I am affected by baseness and stupidity. That impacts everything in my life with what I do. As someone who tries to help lift people and society up, ignorance, mental illness, delusion, narcissism, a refusal to think, greatly impact me. Every part of my life. Actually every part of it. How I live, dress, what I earn, whom I know, the relationships I have, romance or its absence, where I live, my happiness, my work, food I may get, lives I can inform, people I may help.

It's hard to be more selfish than to think in the terms of not being affected by something. Everything potentially affects all of us, to the good, to the bad. Sometimes that's in what we'll stand for. What a person, society, culture, stands for, is commentary on all; principles always have an affect, as does their absence.

We should stand for goodness and sanity and reason and thinking things through and helping other people. Just because one situation doesn't affect us directly--or so we think--doesn't mean there's not some rub-off, trickle down effect. There always is. And that is called reality. The culture changes. It and society and thus the world, devolve.

Now, if you yourself devolve and are okay with that, that affects you less. And that's what people do. To evolve and grow right now--more than ever--is to swim against a fierce current. On your own. With no one to prod you on, encourage you, support you, but while also likely resenting you and fearing you. You will increasingly have less in common with people than more in common with them. The more you grow, the less common ground. So what do you do? What's a bigger conundrum than that? It's almost as if you should be worse than better.

I have never known anyone strong, intelligent, moral, and committed enough to do this on the required daily basis. Because that is what is how true growth happens. You must work at it with a commitment that is renewed each time you wake up.

We are traveling back to dark times. We're not progressing. We are faltering in every aspect of being human. We know little, avoid much, detest and cower before reality, and most of us live lives without a single real connection to another person, including ourselves.

We have relationships but they are default relationships and they are almost always relationships that could be swapped out for another, because we're not fully present and committed in those relationships and many times they were engineered because of boredom, lack of purpose, not wanting to be alone. We are not people who daily grow, and that idea of daily growth is one that extends to relationships, both with others and, crucially, with ourselves.

If we're not doing the work on the latter, we're not having successful forms of the former. Avoidance, mental illness, depression, self-medication, anger, self-loathing, insecurity, fear, cowardice, all forms of violence, be they verbal, emotional, physical, domestic, digital, workplace, then pervade.

And that's your world right now. Just like it's why people so readily say, "Why do you care? It literally doesn't affect you at all."


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