Wearing Your Anger on Your Sleeve…the Desire to be Offended

Today has been one of those days.  My morning class met for the first time — and it snowed.  Snowed.  In Dallas, Texas.  Two days after it was 70F.  Needless to say, most of my students didn’t show up for class — understandably.  I live three miles from the campus – so the drive is nothing for me.  Many of my students drive further than that.  So there will be adjustments that will need to be made.

So its been a few days since my last post – and I’ve had a little more time to think of what’s up with this “sudden” schism within the Pagan community.  The reality of it all, is that the schism has mot likely been there for quite some time.  Everyone’s just been focused on many other things to notice it.  And in the end – I think that I have now paid a little too much attention to it.

In thinking through the entire matter – I started to see similar moments of emotional turmoil in other discussions that have so little to do with the issue.  Read up on any gun control debate.  You have multiple sides to the issue – from folks who don’t think its that big of a deal – all the way through to people who are ready to storm the Capitol with their assault weapons and shoot anything that moves.  The posts have become huge buckets of emotional statements — with many folks becoming offended at the commentary that’s getting looped back at them.  And that’s where I think the problem may actually be.

Over the past few political cycles, more and more folks have been drawing up on one side or another of an emotional “debate”.  In the process, they allow themselves to become enflamed, angered and offended over any statement that doesn’t meet their particular perspective.  In reaching that boiling point, the natural tendency is to fight back – to sling the same arrows and rocks, but to get them going faster.  In essence, escalation.  That in turn enflames the other side of the issue – and a horrendous, never-ending spiral ensues.  In the end, tensions like that can lead to lost friendships, or even physical enactment of the escalation.  I’m no Psychologist (I’m not one on TV and no one has written me into any fiction book as one – that I’m aware of)…but this certainly seems to be how angry, negative, non-productive environments are created.

Who breaks the cycle?  Probably not enough people, in terms of numbers.  But – for one – am fed up with the negative discourse that we see.  I’ve been told by various friends that I’m in “for a rude awakening” because I don’t see their point of view.  The trouble with their statement is that I do see their point of view, but disagree that its where things are likely to be headed in our society.  But that’s not the point I’m making here.  In general – there are people who don’t/won’t fit into this generalization – we seem to WANT to be offended.  We WANT to be angered.  We WANT to find some debate or argument to have with other people.  What we don’t seem to locate is some discourse, some empathy of a person’s different perspective, some degree of accepting that not everyone will see the world as we do, and some degree of understanding that not everyone MUST see everything the same way.

In the Star Wars movies – Obi Wan Kenobi makes the distinction that “only a Sith deals in Absolutes.”  I would amend that a little differently – only a close-minded person COULD deal in absolutes.  Personally, I’d like to see a world where people actually engage in discourse, instead of insults – a world where people accept the fact that others WILL be different than they are, for no other fact than that they are INDIVIDUALS.  I’m well aware that negative energy and emotions are far easier to reach and achieve.  You can definitely get a fuller grasp on being angry than you can on being happy.  Particularly, when you spend most of your time dealing with an anger emotion.  Perhaps, we can change this be treating others as we would have them treat us – and start by removing the constant flinging of insults at one another.

Then again…I could just be dreaming all of this…and simply need to wake back up to reality.  Honestly I don’t want to…and I won’t.  I’m doing my best to form my own area of reality….and parts of what I’ve written above are my starting blocks…where are yours??

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