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[ideatrash] It's time.

It's time.

We had our initial moment with our white roses, our buttons, and our safety
pins. And then, despite a few salvoes here and there, we had a chance to
breathe.

Now it's time to stand up.

Now it's time to speak up.

Now it's time to be visible.

Now it's time to bear witness.

Now it's time to say, not here, not now, not ever.

Put those safety pins and white roses back on.

Tell those telling their stories of abuse and assault and harassment that
you believe them.

Time to follow their playbook and use their formula.

Time to learn how to change their view.

It's time.




I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I
don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if
possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one
another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's
happiness - not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise
one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth
is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and
beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has
goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we
have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We
think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity.
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these
qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very
nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out
for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is
reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women,
and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and
imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now
upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the
way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and
the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long
as men die, liberty will never perish. .....

Soldiers! don't give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave
you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and
what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as
cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men
with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not
cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You
don't hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural!
Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within
man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the
people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create
happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and
beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite.
Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance
to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the
promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do
not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to
fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with
national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let
us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will
lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all
unite!
I recently had an old friend mock me for sharing a link from an aggregator blog (it was boingboing; that's beside the point).

He had a point...and he didn't.

There is a point in that the various aggregators - regardless of which ones you like and trust - sometimes (or often) pass along poorly-sourced material, rumor, or spin things so hard that their headlines are counter to the actual news.

At the same time, just because someone you don't like or don't trust says a thing, it's not automatically false either. If he'd bothered to actually look at what they were talking about, he would have seen a link to the primary source. Which goes to illustrate something all of us are guilty of, and all of us need to change:

We can't rely on the headline and auto-generated snapshot on social media.

Let me repeat that.

We can't rely on the headline and auto-generated snapshot on social media.

So...what are we to do?

There's a really simple guideline, and you probably already know it.

Get as close to a primary source as possible.

You might have learned this as "don't cite Wikipedia". If you had a good instructor, they told you to not cite Wikipedia directly, but to go to the sources that Wikipedia itself cites.

For the rest of us, that means that if you're sharing an article from an aggregator site, at least check out what they link to and cite before sharing. And preferentially share the source material instead of the aggregator site's page.

I've also shifted my primary news gathering to several well-known and (largely) respected organizations - Reuters, Wired, the BBC, and so on.

This won't quell the controversy over issues and disagreements.

But it does mean that we'll be doing our part to both help get rid of "fake news" and stop giving others easy ammunition to attack us and our beliefs.
I was recently described as a "social butterfly" by a new acquaintance.

They were - to my surprise - serious.

They didn't realize that I'm really quite introverted, and can gladly spend days without seeing anyone. Social interaction with nearly anyone is really emotionally draining for me. (If it isn't, that's a really important sign for me, but beside the point of this post.) There's the very good post "Taming the Mammoth" which is recommended reading if you find yourself having problems with this.

Additionally, there's two concrete techniques that I learned to use.

The first - and perhaps the most important for anyone who's played a RPG - is that I'm usually playing "Convention Steve". (See Season 3 of The Guild for this technique in use at the end.) ConSteve isn't someone different; he's just me with the intensity and outgoingness turned up to 11.

You may have a character that you identify with who's pretty close to how you are. Play them. Yes, you're larping, but nobody needs to know. If someone reacts negatively, they aren't judging you, they're judging the character you're playing.

It sounds stupid, yes. But it works, and works well.

If you're not a gamer, or have problems conceptually with that first technique, there's another I learned. I learned it either from The Four Hour Workweek or Crush It!, and I can't remember which at the moment, so I'm going to summarize it.

Go to a public place (coffee shop, etc, with someone else if you like). Approach random person with a bit of paper and a writing utensil. If the person is in a group, all the better. Say the following as close to verbatim as possible.

"I'm in a class working on public speaking, and one of the exercises is to get more comfortable in social situations. For that, we have to go and ask random people for a phone number. If it's okay, I'm going to hand you this paper and a pen, and ask you to write a phone number on it. It can be yours or a fake one - no matter what, I'm going to throw this away in that trash can right there. [point to trash can] The exercise is more about asking. Is that okay?"

You, of course, IMMEDIATELY throw away the bit of paper without looking at it.

The beauty is this: It's LITERALLY a no-risk situation for you - you're not going to see them again. They have minimal risk - it's a public place, you ask permission, they can write a fake number, and they see you throw it away. But you also get practice DOING THE THING. It really does make it easier, after you learn that the world doesn't immediately end.

Between these two techniques - and learning that mammoth brains lie! - it can help you navigate situations where before you'd end up vapor-locked.
I said it before, and I stand by it: the most important question on OKCupid is

Would you rather date someone who almost never made a mistake but doesn't admit their flaws, or someone who often messes up but takes full responsibility for their mistakes?
There is only one correct answer to this question.

Because we all fuck up. Fairly regularly. We may have had the facts wrong at the time. We may have misunderstood something. We might have had emotional baggage getting in the way. Hell, we might have simply misremembered something - our memory is pretty fallible and easy to outright manipulate (yes, even yours, yes, even if you're aware someone's going to try).





Sometimes the best you can do is to acknowledge, to the best of your ability, what was going through your head, what led you to the actions and decisions at the time, and then apologize.

This quality doesn't make you better than someone else. It's not about the quantity or quality of your reasons.

Bonus protip: If someone calls your reasons for a behavior an "excuse" while you're still taking full responsibility for your behavior, that both says something awful about them and their basic understanding of English.

What does matter (aside from both you and they trying to improve yourselves, but that's a bloody given by this point) is that you extend that same understanding to other people and their reasons for their behavior. Particularly the behavior that made your life more difficult.

Let's sum up.



Do a bad thing, explain why you did the bad thing, take responsibility, and try to improve? Good, welcome to being a flawed human being.

Someone else then does a bad thing, explains why they did the bad thing, takes responsibility, and tries to improve ... and you are mean to them?

Then you're the awful one.
Pretending you're not making the decisions you are is a fucking quick way to not only be unhappy, but to be a royal asshole to everyone around you.



Dan Savage calls this the price of admission in relationships, and it's a bloody brilliant concept, and works for pretty much everything.



Here's why: You have to acknowledge to yourself and others that you're choosing whether to pay the price of admission. You are the one who decides if the price is worth it or not. You do NOT get to be a resentful asshole later.



Hey, she's got young children? That's the price of admission for dating her. Pay it or not. He's got a lot of debt? Pay it or not. Spin up your own examples.



You may not like the price of admission. Nobody's guaranteed that. You may think the price of admission is too damn high.



I don't like that I don't have a Green Lantern ring. Deal with it.



This goes for all sorts of other situations as well. Think about a patient in a hospital. You have a right to refuse testing. There may be consequences to refusing that test, but outside of a very narrow set of circumstances, you can't be forced to do the test.



Where problems arise is with a patient who doesn't want to do the test, but doesn't want to face the consequences of refusing it. They're not acknowledging that they are making the decision, and tend to make things worse for everyone... most importantly, themselves.



Acknowledge the choices you're making. Acknowledge the reasons for that choice, yes. Acknowledge that you're making that choice to gain something better or avoid something worse.



And maybe you'll realize that, indeed, the price is too damn high.
"It doesn't matter what someone believes. It's how they act that matters."


Sometimes the most awful things are hidden behind bits of truth.

Because ultimately, behavior does matter. That's true.

But it's awful, because it pretends that we live in a world of philosophical zombies. Intent matters in relationships.

"If someone's kicking me, I want them to stop kicking me, not ask what their intent is."






(It's not a straw man argument if it's actually been said to you.)

Anyway, that's true; you want to stop problem behaviors, especially when people can lie about intent as a strategy to keep doing shitty things.

At the same time, your strategy is going to differ with someone who's kicking you because they like kicking people versus someone who is kicking you because they think you're an alien masquerading as their friend.

There's also a great deal of positive predictive power.

That person whose belief is simply "kicking people is fun"? They're gonna keep doing it. That person whose belief is that you're a pod person? As soon as you bleed regular blood, they're going to stop and apologize, and probably try to do better in the future.

But if intent doesn't matter to you, then you've responded exactly the same to a friend and a sociopath.

Which probably makes you a hell of a lot closer to the latter.
Let me say it again for emphasis: You own your goddamned experiences.

You.

Nobody else.

They're your memories and stories and experiences to share or keep private as you wish. Your feelings, your reactions, your emotions are yours to spread publicly or to cover up under a bushel basket.

There will be consequences and outcomes depending on whether or not you share your memories, experiences, emotions, and feelings. They'll vary depending on whom you share them with, when you share them, and how you share them.

Those decisions are yours.

Do not let someone else steal those decisions away from you.

Someone may ask you to keep a confidence. I've asked it of others, and had it asked of me. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as you agree freely and willingly.

But when someone judges you because you tell others what happened to you, when someone threatens you because you tell others your own story, when someone judges you for years afterward because you dared - oh fucking dared - to share your story of personal weakness and how you overcame it...

...well, that person is trying to blackmail you with their influence, aren't they?




And before you reply - and yes, I know exactly the sort of "you" I'm addressing here - make sure you'd feel comfortable making that same argument to the women who have come forward about Cosby, Patel, Chainmail Guy, Trump, Berganza, or so many many more men who have told them to keep quiet.
You own your emotions and your reactions. Nobody else does. Don't let them.

This goes both ways. Let's go in reverse order.

THE SECOND WAY

I've had too many people (women, it's women, m'kay?) tell me something like "I feel so awful because he did something shitty, and I objected / got upset / stated my boundaries and he didn't like that and now I made him sad, and it's my fault!"




Fuck no.

It's not your "fault", especially when you were reacting to their shitty behavior. You can't "make" someone else sad. You can react as a consequence, but ultimately you own that reaction, for good or ill.

THE FIRST WAY

"He did something shitty and made me upset / angry / sad!"





No, no they fucking didn't.

Oh, they probably did something hurtful or boundary-violating (whether intentional or not doesn't matter for this particular rant). I'm not arguing that at all.

They didn't make you feel anything.

Sometimes this gets twisted into experience nullification or gaslightling-style crap. Fuck that noise too. This is empowering stuff right here.

You own your emotions and your experiences. You. Nobody else. You reacted to an experience. That's yours. Nobody else gets to dictate to you how you feel.

Are there consequences? Of course there are. But own that shit as well. They're yours, for good or ill.

And failing to own that shit will cause even more problems down the line, but that's another rant.
Let's get one thing bright and sparkling clear.

You own your goddamned experiences.

You.

Nobody else.

Yes, there is a very damn good chance that someone else experienced it differently.

You should probably - at least, once you've calmed down - make a good-faith effort to try to understand where they're coming from, and why they see the whole thing differently than you. You might even decide that the way you experienced it was flawed, and change your behavior in the future.

But.

If that person isn't making an effort to realize that you saw the whole thing differently than they did as well...





...then they're fucking trying to rewrite your story. And that's a big fat nope.

Bonus protip: Such a person will probably proactively accuse you of trying to rewrite their experiences before the idea crosses your mind. Run the fuck away.
I mean, there's lots of things to rant about, you guys.

Like, I'm not allowed to make my amour into a lampshade.




Sometimes the frustration is real.











(And sometimes you're just joking. Serious stuff starts tomorrow, y'all.)