In case you can’t tell from previous posts, I’m a pretty emotional person. I can have a pretty short temper, I have a very low tolerance for stupidity, and I pay very close attention to how people/things/conversations/places/etc. make me feel. When an emotion is strong, regardless of what it is, I allow myself to sit with it for a while. If I’m happy, sad, angry, whatever… I just sort of feel for a little while.
Now, some of you may think that’s a fine way to live. “BCM’s so in touch with her emotional side! That’s sooooo great!” You would be half right in your assumption. It wasn’t always a good way for me to live. Why not? Because a lot of the time, I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was.
Nowadays, what one “politically feels” about religion, abortion, or the right to stockpile arms aren’t actual issues of “freedom” – they’re philosophical tear gas thrown between[us] so we don’t recognize our very common values and problems.
–from “Hustlers and the Idiot Swarm”
by Reverend Manny and the Twilight Empire
When I read that part of Rev. Manny’s book it made me stop and think. The first thing that came to my mind was “find the fact behind the feeling”. This is something I had to teach myself to do. I’d get furious over the littlest things, I’d cry for seemingly no reason. It was ridiculous. So, one day I decided to figure out why.
(Internal dialogue)”Why was I blind with rage over the garbage not being taken out? That’s silly, to be angry about something so trivial. Is it the garbage I’m mad at? No, garbage is garbage. Is it that I asked for someone to take it out and it didn’t get done? We’re getting closer. Let’s continue in that vein. Am I mad that this person didn’t think my request was important enough? Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere! Why do I need this request to be important to this person? Is their not taking out the garbage a reflection of a) a bigger problem in our relationship, b) how they feel about me, or a combination of the 2? And finally, what is it about me that needs this person to acknowledge me, even for the most trivial of things?”
OK, so maybe taking out the garbage was a silly example. But you get the point. We’ve become a reactionary society. We’ve stopped asking why. We’ve stopped trying to find the facts to back up our emotional reactions. Not only is it dangerous when it comes to politics, religion, and society as a whole, it’s catastrophic when we stop asking it of ourselves.
We all get worked up over things we believe in, from whether or not to teach our kids religion to what kind of dish soap is the best(it’s Dawn). There’s nothing wrong with standing up for what you think is right. All I ask is that you think before you speak. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do, and don’t give yourself cop-out answers like “it’s in the Bible” or things like that. Really explore why YOU believe the things you do. Once you can calmly identify the “fact behind the feeling”, you’ll be less likely to use fallacies when arguing with people, thus making your argument much harder to dismiss. I promise you, you’ll feel better and more connected to the human race than you ever have before. It’s a wonderful feeling, really.
You can lie all you want to other people. You can lie to every single person you meet, every day of your life. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it’s only important that you are completely and brutally honest with yourself. And if you start lying to yourself… if you start buying into your own bullshit…then all is lost.