In retrospect I look at my latest... It's crap. It is way too easy for me to slide into assault mode. I let myself narrow my focus over at revenge and the outcome was Pavlovian. Anger and subjectivity are the intended emotional responses brought out by sites like that. I fall for it, no matter how prepared. That was the point in my first posted opinion of the cartoons. They serve no positive purpose. This manufactured controversy does nothing except strengthen the violent resolve of both culture's extremists.
"Did you see what those bastards said about us?"
In the long run, that question is the only tangible accomplishment of the entire debate. A few more on each side will tip permanently towards violent interaction.
The rest of this reply is going to focus on the effect on Western civilization here, but my point is identical for the Islamic world as well. Change out the names and you'll see. I am not harping on America, just focusing on familiarity for convenience.
How many messages have you read in the past week that stated,
"Finally, someone is speaking for me! Getting my voice heard!"
As if America has been mute for the last few decades in world affairs. There is no shortage of outspoken pundits pushing an "Our Land Uber Alles" agenda everyday on the radio, TV, internet, and in the UN, Europe, Asia, middle east... And the ones doing it in most of those places are promoting that agenda through the barrel of a gun. Anyone who can not hear the message are either deafened from the bombs or dead.
How is it that with all that, there were still thousands of Americans stifling with frustration until some cartoonist with great vision and understanding came forth and gave voice to their message with a couple fart jokes, a few virgin jokes and a tweaker intense overfilled Mohammed painting devoid of negative space or balance?
It is a ridiculous assertion. The accolades and gratitude in the replies at Revenge had nothing to do with expression or communication. They were thanking him for justifying their most banal thoughts and instincts.
I do not know if you got a chance to read the Tao of Jeet Kun Do as I suggested, but here is where it ties in. There is an extensive section on pride vs self esteem and the inherent ying yang of the two. Self esteem is the positive confidence in oneself that every person must struggle to maintain. Living up to ones own standards of worth and worthlessness consumes a great deal of their daily energy. Even the strongest of us can not hope to win that battle everyday. When we lose, we sink into despair, anxiety, depression. The important thing is that the next day, we begin again and we never surrender to false empowerments.
Pride is the opposite of self esteem. A person who gives up on the positive can regain their confidence by feeding their pride. They attach themselves to ideas or groups who affirm their negative thoughts and desires. In many instances the group bolsters their pride by controlling their environment. Blocking any objective thoughts or contrary information from getting through to it's members.
"Yes, you are right to think as you do. See everyone agrees with you."
I have mentioned my distaste for associating with people who agree with me all the time, haven't I? I have never found it useful to preach to the choir. Worse still is the inherent gullibility we experience in absence of an objective or contrary opinion of events. "Heck of a job, Brownie!" should be more than enough to remind you of that. And that only covers the subtleties. Blatant pride is attachment to an idea or group that empowers its members through the perceptions of outsiders. The KKK, Skinheads, black pride, white pride, gay pride, all work off the principle of intimidation by numbers and or reputation. I do not think I need to explain this effect to any one who has ever been to a rally of any kind.
Now put them together on a global scale and use the information conduits to repeatedly push the most extreme ideas onto their most accepting demographic and you quickly turn reasonable communities into seclusionist mobs. The initial barrage hooks those with no self esteem to begin with. The recurring waves alienate the rest individually and wear down their self esteem until they too succumb to to group think. Add to that a marketed "insight" into the intentions of different groups and soon enough you have the makings for global tribal warfare.
"Finally, someone is speaking for me!"
A confident person with self esteem has no problem expressing themselves. They don't need a mouth piece to explain their place in the world. Sure the cartoons were the free expression of their creators. But billions of people express themselves everyday without having to run their expressions on the front page of every sensationalistic paper and magazine in Europe. There is a huge difference between being heard and being shoved into someone's face. Freedom of speech protects information from being destroyed. It means we can print it. It does not mean we have to. That is the opposite. There is no freedom in forcing someone to say something.The whole conflict serves the lesser evil and chaos. It does nothing to benefit humanity or serve the greater good...
Friday, February 10, 2006