A couple of days ago during my morning walk, the neighbour across from my apartment was out gardening and we struck up a conversation that lasted a good twenty minutes or so. She cut some flowers from her garden (Hydrangea’s, to be specific) for me as a small gift, and we got to know each other with lots of different questions and back and forths.
She’s a pretty nice person and it got my day going. I enjoy talking to people and getting to know them, and that’s largely why I consider my own job quite fulfilling (language teaching). It facilitates fertile soil for connection and growth to happen between human beings.
This kind of connectivity with others is a pretty common occurrence in my daily life – I talk to a lot of people and really get a lot out of it all.
That being said, I don’t think this is generally very common anymore. Perhaps it’s the country I live in that makes the difference, as here in Japan people generally mind their own business but are also fully capable of just striking up a conversation – and given that nowadays I speak at least conversational Japanese, it’s easy for me to reciprocate and get some kind of sharing of stories in.
I’ve noticed a complete opposite with people from the west, however. Of course this doesn’t mean all and it’d be a foolish mistake in reasoning to assume so, but I’ve consistently observed and experienced constant reasons for division and very little reason for unification within communication.
I’ll start with a rather serious example – the recent Texas shooting involving the death of over 15 children and (if I recall) two teachers.
This was a terrible incident, and I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. It’s a tragedy, and one that is entirely reasonable to mourn over. Things like this ought to be mourned over.
However, that common sense of humanity and recognizing tragedy was completely lost on an enormous number of people, particularly in Western countries. Almost immediately afterwards, there were emotionally charged grifts going on from multiple political angles that demanded we appeal to the tragic emotions present with new laws that ban guns or restrict things or whatever have you.
In contrast, other political angles would conflate the recent abortion discussion in the US with these shootings and point fingers at the other side that they’re killers who are selective of their killings.
I’m not taking sides here, please keep that in mind. I’m just observing what my eyes have shown me – and it’s depressing.
It seems the majority of people are simply incapable of taking a moment to collectively come together and recognize the tragedy that had transpired. What ought to be a commonly shared, humane response that gets people to work together to figure it out, is immediately politicized instead, and even more division is sown because the blame is placed on the other side due to policy decisions, bills, etc. Furthermore, no one is taking a moment to let the emotional tornado that comes with such an event settle down. Everything is placing emotions over reason first. Emotionalism.
All of this comes back to the deification problem and its consequence made explicit. It’s latching onto the identity of an ideology so strongly that one forgets basic humanity, and the consequence is division, and eventually – destruction.
People latch onto labels and ideology because they are unable to latch onto themselves. They’re unable to develop an independent mind and personality, and subsequently forgo the ability to reason because whatever they were taught is whatever they need to think. Camus called this philosophical suicide, but he only referred to Kierkegaard’s leap of faith. This is the same thing, just broadened.
Unless you identify that metaphysically these things are completely irrelevant and meaningless and meaning is given by you and other valuers, you become coiled up in concepts that magnify particular issues as the “thing” one needs to live for, sans the reality that nothing is worth living for unless you (keyword, YOU) have made the conscious decision on your own.
It is a return to humanity, essentially. Life is meaningless, it has no value sans the one you provide it. One chooses values, you choose to live the way you want. But what has happened across the ages and is now swelling in this age is people are inverting things – they’re finding a meaning through things not chosen by them, but given. It’s consensus driven values, and they’re corrupt at the root.
Destiny made manifest. You may believe in God because someone told you to believe in it. You may think x is what is meaningful because y told you to believe so. It’s developing character based on what is told, not what is seen and experienced. No wonder people are so miserable and want to spread it to others – they have no notion of what it means to be themselves.
It’s exemplified not just in the tragedy that occurred over recent days, but also in smaller things I’ve noticed, too. There are communities that aim to criticize and dismantle other people’s chosen value system solely based on the fact that they dislike how that system functions, even when it harms no one. I’ve seen it in language learning, of all things. People are so bloody miserable that they need to attack how others communicate with people and how they approach specific topics. It’s constant division, constant latching onto some strange idea that forgoes reality for delusional rationalism. Chasing the “other guy”, whether it be out of envy, arbitrary reasons for making them an enemy, whatever. It is the natural consequence of division, which is destruction.
By deifying your false gods, you consequentially create an other that must be eliminated. By creating an other, you have created a meaning for your otherwise meaningless life – and that meaning is ensuring there are more of your kind, and less of theirs. It obliterates humanity and replaces it with group A and group B. Destruction manifest. Meaningless, purposeless values necessarily lead us to meaningless destruction.
It is depressing to see so much division and disarray, and no one is unable to quietly come together in a room, sit down and start from square one. What happened? We both agree something is wrong, what are the causes and how can we solve it?
Connection to reality is now severed by many, there is an obfuscation in the way, and it’s the form of deifying bullshit and ignoring reality. Most of your stupid fucking ideas are bad, and they only aim to divide humanity further and further until there’s nothing but ashes. Philosophy is also distinctly ignored – who knew that philosophers are somehow no longer useful in the discussion of difficult topics? Science trumps all everyone! Forgetting the fact that science necessarily relies on philosophy.
Reap what one sows, I guess. My life is fine and will be in the future, as I’ve said before, but there’s a reason it is very difficult to not be cynical about the trajectory of humanity when everyone is too busy yelling at each other instead of trying to figure things out as a team. There’s always an arrogant dismissal, a dehumanization, a leap of emotionally charged nonsense, and a disconnection from reason present. Fallacy upon fallacy.
The more time passes, the more difficult it is becoming to simply have a conversation with many people. I’m working to purge that from my own life, and my life is all the better for it. Maybe you should consider doing the same. Come back to reality, figure out what you like, and try to meet people for their common humanity, and not whatever their stupid Twitter handle says.