Step Off the Train

People believe different things. They believe those things because they are selfish. It’s okay, you are too. We all are, in basically every decision we make. And we disagree because we want different things.

There are people fighting to gain what should be basic human rights. There are people fighting to keep rights they believe they already have. People plant their flags on all sorts of causes. They all do it for the same reason. We get something out of it. Maybe we’re for freedom from a tyrannical regime, maybe we just like the good feeling that comes from upholding our own moral code, but it’s always selfish.

We all craft our worldview based on the lens we view things through. Those lenses can show the same thing from many different angles. It’s why two people can post the same meme to support opposite sides of an argument. The sky looks green to some folks, and I don’t possess enough real scientific knowledge about colors or how eyes work to argue them. I just know how I think the sky is supposed to look.

But my worldview, my POV, has changed significantly over the years. Some of the things I believe now are the opposite of what I believed ten or twenty years ago. Was that me wrong? Is this one? Or have the things I want just changed? Because if that’s the case, then all these previous me’s have been correct, even though they seemingly contradict one another.

The only way we’ll ever reach any kind of solution is to understand that the person on the other side of the table wants things too. Our kneejerk reaction is to scream no and stomp our feet because what they want appears to threaten what we want, or in some cases, because it’s just dumb, and that’s okay. People are allowed to want dumb things.

We just don’t even bother trying to see the other side anymore – not when there are pithy pictures of facepalms covered in quotes from the talking heads we’ve chosen as team mascots.

Regardless, your reaction should not be rage. “Mad” sells. “Anger” makes snap decisions. “Fear” makes you react. You are being manipulated, no matter which “side” you think you’re on. The other person is acting that way because they’ve been manipulated, too. It’s how it works. Pick the direction you want the animals to run, then spook them that direction. It’s exactly how you herd sheep.

You (and your all your emotions) are just cells in a spreadsheet on a multi-billion dollar laptop.

I’m not saying stop caring. I’m not saying don’t try. But you can opt out of this culture of outrage at any moment. Don’t watch the videos. Don’t share the articles. Do not engage in the flame wars.

You can just step off the train. The doors were never even locked to begin with.

You’ll be happier for it, too, and a happier you is probably what the world really needs right now.



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