Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Us Vs Them. Or not.


12-25-12 note: On reviewing this now, I see why I didn't post it. I'm not a huge fan of this, but don't feel its worth the effort to rewrite. Summary of the piece: Artificial social struggle enrages me. Entitlement annoys me.

12-7-11 note: I wrote this on 4/10/11 but did not post it.  I'm not sure why.

Us vs Them.  Or not.
When listening to music, or people talking, or anything, nothing quite annoys me like the pretentious “inclusive” behavior of “us vs them.” As if “you” and “I” are somehow in a group that is separate from other people, and also better than those others. As if being separate is itself a positive quality, as if being different is better than being not different. Not to say that diversity is bad, but it's not also good simply by being diverse. Diversity isn't inherently a good or bad thing, it's just a state of existence, though that state is needed at a certain level.

Back to the point. Separating people into groups is obviously foolish. It isolates and causes unnecessary opposition. This is the biggest problem with politics (or at least with the political system(s).) The idea that, because “you” and “I” aren't like the others that we should get along, that we know something these others don't know, that because we do things they don't do, that we are somehow better, is stupid.

I find that (main stream) punk (the music style) does this a lot, and often I find this to be the reason I don't like a lot of punk, although I like the music itself. The sound is good, but the people making it seem to want to include me in their little circle of pretense. Sorry, I don't find all people older to be to be stupid fools. I don't find all people of [given political party] to be idiots, and their beliefs in that party, or any part of what it values, does not make them somehow lesser than those who happen to believe otherwise. (In particular, less than those who happen to agree with the lyrics.)

The part that REALLY bothers me is that not only are people grouped into these non-existent categories, but that they almost always insult the “others.” You're allowed to express your opinion, but do it in a constructive manner. Address why their beliefs may need changing, don't just tell them they're blind and stupid. If they really ARE blind and stupid, they won't notice anyway. If they're not, you're only alienating them by addressing them as some sort of faulty humans.

Obviously we all do this, it's part of our way of socially coping with one another, but I think generally people aren't doing it with the purpose of negating or invalidating others as much as fitting in with those around them. While maybe that's not ideal, it doesn't really bother me. Turning this tendency into something hostile and aggressive, however, makes me...sad? Angry? I'm not sure. It doesn't seem worth the effort to define the emotion specifically. At the risk of sounding like a second grader, it's bad, and that's as complex as I need to be at explaining it.

People seem to make this a perpetual state, as if at all times they're struggling against some “other's” force. Like, “Oh, I'm poor, and someone-else is not, so that person's fault. Oh, I'm sick and so-and-so could fix it, so they should.” As if we're all struggling against some one (probably several someone's) who are against us and we deserve different treatment simply because we participate in this (imaginary) struggle.

This seems to be a rambling way of saying entitlement annoys me. People deserve/should have/are entitled to only their own lives, and that only about 2 seconds after birth. After that, every second a freak accident might wipe you/me/them/everyone out, so thank your lucky stars that you get another. And then another. And then several thousand more. It's luck, not a right. Just because you get lucky many thousands of times in a row is no reason to expect more

Not to be confused with obligation or perhaps (gasp, I hate to say this,) social duty. If I can help a person not get hit by a truck, that's all well and good. Just don't let it stray into entitlement.

I'm not drawing lines, just asking for attentiveness.

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