Thursday, April 26, 2018

Disarming all Chairs, Here's Your Quarter Back!

With the advent of the internet, everyone and their little dog too, has at some point channeled their inner Lucy Van Pelt and offered unasked for expert counsel based purely on spleen. 

We have opinions, we've found facts or something like facts to back them up, and we've learned how to use pathos, ethos and logos to push our opinions forward with such authority, everyone should just aquiese to our brilliance. 

We'd all like to think we're inside the city of Gondor...but very often our arguments are the mental equivalent of GROND. 

It doesn't matter if it's sports, health care, foriegn policy about a country we couldn't locate without google maps, law, education, ecology, Hollywood or cuisine, we have an infaliable opinion we will defend to the death and in the imortal words of Lena Lamont,

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) directed by Stanley Donen
Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont and Douglas Fowley as Roscoe Dexter.

Lina: Gee, this wig weighs a ton. What dope’d wear a thing like this?
Rosco: Everybody used to wear them, Lina.
Lina: Well then, everybody was a dope.

I don't know about you, but since everyone's become an expert, everyone's also become much less willing to hear anyone else's expert advice.  It's in our conversations, it's in our television, it's how we view people in positions of power and influence, regardless of political party.  It's making true friendship, true democracy (not merely the rule and will of the ones in power), and true community, hard to build, much less sustain and grow. 

Pope Benedict the XVI spoke of the tyranny of relativism, I would add to that, the dictatorship of invincible self vetted opinion, which refuses any truth not arrived at by one's self.   If truth is only accessible by an individual for an individual, it is not truth, it is preference, and if preference is elevated to the state of truth, actual truth itself, becomes almost impossible to state, much less endure. 

So what are we supposed to do? 

The opposite of what the world would suggest, which is double down and shout louder.   Surrender the armchair.  Surrender the need to be always the one with the last word, the only word worth listening to, and surrender the demand that others approve, share, like, and pay fealty via their agreement.   The world is aching, bleeding, suffering unbearably from everyone's belief they either have all the answers, or have all the answers at their fingertips. When we have the answers, we don't have to actually walk with, suffer with, or listen to someone else's problems.  We can give the right advice at the right time, check off the box and declare ourselves virtuous for our time. 

Everybody, take whatever the issue is, and hold it like a gem, and see if you can see any validity (absent google) to a position other than your own.   What if we tried seeing through each other's eyes where we could?  And went out to get ice cream together when the problems were bigger. 

Most of life is far more nuanced and complicated than we know, even in our own lives.   Most of our life would not bear the levels of scrutiny and criticism we currently see heaped on anyone who speaks in a way someone else finds disagreeable.   Surrender the need to be anything but kind.  Surrender the need to get in the snark.  Surrender the need to divide the world into the Order of the Phoenix and Death Eaters.   Go out and meet people where they are, and discover that the world is bigger than the internet, brighter too and create fellowship. 


Eat together, walk together, play together, pray together.  Learn together, suffer with, and suffer for, and when possible, create moments of light, humor and joy.  Like this:

See?  Hobbits had it right all along. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice piece. Loved the pictures.

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