I Dream of Civility.

I am noticing lately that language is better at expressing ideas then it is at expressing words. Which is interesting, and I have to wonder, how exactly it is that we process words, language, and so forth in our minds. My frustration with writing post is finding the words to describe the ideas, I have no shortage of ideas going through my mind, my head is just bursting with them, but finding the words to describe them, ah, that is the hard part. Sometimes I think I have it, but then I try to write it out, and the idea of it is lost. Our primary way of viewing the world, is through our language, everything in life is filtered through some sort of language system. Whether we speak of English, or any other language, or even just pictures in our heads, they’re still technically a form of language, even though it isn’t the sort that can be shared with others. You still are communicating with yourself with the use of mental imagery. You’re still passing along information, even though you’re probably the only person in the world who can understand it. Nobody else speaks your language.

On most things, I love how it is that I see the world, it’s very beautiful. Sometimes, however, dreams are woven into the reality. How do you know which is real and that which is imagined? Our minds influence how it is that we see things a great deal more then we believe them to. Call it perception, imagination, or what have you. There is the matter that you and I can see the same tree, but come away with completely different perspectives about it. It is still the same tree. The tree hasn’t changed any, but our view of the tree makes a vast difference in how we see the tree. For example, you might see it and think it would make good firewood. I might look at the tree and admire how beautiful it is standing there, so full of life and helping to sustain the life of others by providing oxygen.

It’s the same tree. Totally different perspectives on what the tree is useful for. Is it wrong to use the tree to keep warm? No. Is it wrong to use the tree to breathe? No. But it’s still the same tree. The tree hasn’t changed any, only our view of it.

This is how we view everything in life. I must wonder, if each and every person has a completely unique perspective on the world. I find it a bit distressing that we have to argue about it so much if one sees that the tree is good to look at, and another says it is good for firewood. As though we all ought to only view trees as firewood or as ornaments.

It’s a tree. Relax.

I suppose I’m a little concerned that as a society we seem to be moving in a direction where there is only ever one right answer to problems that were never meant to have just one correct solution. Whether it is in our laws or our public discourse, we insist on being right, over being real. The truth is, sometimes both people are equally correct, and this is why hot chocolate could save the world.

Why do we not take this opportunity to sit down with our fellow men, our neighbors, those who think differently then we do, and try to come to a sort of understanding, not necessarily agreement, but understanding at least. The hot chocolate is useful, because it provides something for us to bond over, to relate with one another over, and it doesn’t have to be hot chocolate, that is just what the Elves and Dwarves did to resolve their differences, it doesn’t mean we have to. It can be tea, coffee, or what have you. Orange juice even. Nevertheless, I am troubled by all the anger I see in people about things. Yes, these issues are important, sometimes life or death important, but how is getting angry about it going to help? It is my belief that peaceful, rational, calm, discussion, understanding, and the agreement that on hot chocolate, at least, we have something in common will accomplish things in a much more agreeable way, or at least aid in the  prevention of further suffering in the future.

Revolutions are almost always wrong, they accomplish nothing more then provoking a great deal of anger, but very little peace. Respect and peace will help you a great deal more then revolt and anger will.

Yes, I know that history tells that we prefer to resolve our differences with violence. But just because it is the way we’ve always done it, it doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.

It’s a tree. Relax.

I’m not necessarily asking for compromise  or agreement, I’m sure there are indeed things where there is only one solution to the dilemma. But, I fail to see how anger and violence will resolve even the most puzzling challenges. I suppose there is a bit of daring in desiring to be peaceful, to resolve things rationally. It’s just not the way things are done, and so forth.

Why do we instead resort to violence, intimidation, manipulation? When we could be enjoying hot chocolate together instead?

Call it delusional, as if, rose colored glasses, a dream that has no basis in reality. Whatever.

Why not? Why can’t we take the higher road? Why can’t we do things better? Why not resolve our problems through peace, understanding, and reason? Again, this doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. But what I do suggest is that we change the tone of our conversation from being fear based, violent, and manipulative, to being one based in the seeking of peace, reason, and truth. Manipulation always undercuts the truth, and is nearly always the result of fear, fear that things will go wrong, so we manipulate to ensure it, but in reality, all we do is bring about division, strife, and harden the hearts of those who disagree with us.

Activism does have a place, but never by violent, manipulative, or intimidating means. Then the activism is not of any more worth then the system it is protesting.

In short, what we, as a society as a whole, do, our discussions with our fellow human beings, even on Facebook, do matter. Even here, it is wrong to be angry. It is wrong to rant and rave on Facebook. The anger I see, it is more like a poison then a medicine, even if it isn’t a wound to me, or I agree with the statement made by the ranting and raving post, it is still a poison, and does nothing to further the cause, except harden me against it. After awhile it produces not more anger, but apathy. The survival instinct against taking in so much poison and bitterness after awhile, you just start to turn apathetic against it. Apathy is never the solution desired in any sort of thing.

Keep calm, keep civil. Be a peaceful person. Lay aside your anger, your fear, stay strong, but be kind, be gentle, use wisdom, but don’t manipulate, keep your head on straight  and be rational. Use logic, it will help you. Let reason, rather then passion be your guide. Drink hot chocolate, love much, and acknowledge reality. Minimize human suffering, and the suffering of all. Act in the interest of others, and remain humble, even if you are right, and those whom you are speaking with are indeed, quite wrong. Consider well, and hold fast to that which is true.

That is how I dream of our discussions going, and I hope, that even if we are still talking about the same things that are troubling us today in our society, that we can do so in a much more civil manner, from our facebook post all the way to our government discussions. True, the American way has had a touch of radical civility, but we’re losing that. Is a few rants on facebook worth it? Or this blog? I have to say that even in writing this, that there is something in it of the very same spirit against which this article is written. Forgive me for that, and hopefully, we may understand better in the future, how to remain civil.

I dream of a world in which we will drink more hot chocolate.