March 14, 2015

Has The World Gone Crazy?




The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.  - Shannon L. Alder

Has the whole world gone crazy and I missed it?

I honestly can't remember how or when we stopped being responsible for our own feelings and emotions - but apparently there's been a huge shift in policy!

When my children were young, they'd take turns coming to me saying things like: "So and so called me a such and such!" I'd calmly ask them "Are you a such and such?" They'd whine back "Noooo...but..." 

I'd ask, "Well then, what does it matter what they call you? If they called you a horned toad, would you suddenly grow horns and crawl around on the ground?" Usually at that point there would be a little giggle with the whine in their next "No!"

I'd follow up with, "If they called you a cow, would you give milk?" At that point, seeing the silliness of their plight, the offended party would give up their righteous indignation and move on to find a bigger fish to fry.



WHY CAN'T WE ADULTS DO THE SAME THING? 

Why have we become so consumed with what other people say and do - often even without ill intent?  Why do we feel the need to do something about what other people say? Entire news cast are devoted to "catching" people saying something deemed by someone to be offensive. It's never been possible to compel civility before. Why do we believe it is now? 


Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. - Salman Rushdie

 

Why has it become incumbent upon others to manage how we feel? Why do we want to give up that much control? Once we relegate our feelings we won't need to worry about the world someday being run by machines.

WE BECOME THOSE MACHINES!  

We can't legislate or force decency. Character is an inside job. There is no way to stop a person who's hell bent on being offensive so why expend so much energy trying?

There are also those people who can lift a rock and be offended by what they find under it. 


 Some people take offense like it's a limited time offer. 
 - Tim Fargo


When we find ourselves offended it's a good indicator that we're focusing only on ourselves - and that's great if we're asking ourselves important questions like:  Are our own lives being lived so completely beyond reproach as to never be offensive to another? Have we personally evolved past saying or doing offensive things from time to time - with or without ill intent. 


 When you open your mouth, listeners are offended.  When you close your mouth, the expectant are offended.  If a person seeks misdoing from you they will find it regardless of whether or not you deliver.  
- Richelle E. Goodrich


Are we expecting more mercy for our transgressions than we are willing to give others? Are we looking for reasons to justify our anger or resentment toward things we feel powerless over? Are we asking ourselves what does it say about ME when I feel so offended by a particular act or comment.

"Haters gonna hate." That's the long and short of it. How does our hating of their hating do anything other than add to the hating?

 
 Anything designed to be inoffensive isn't worth your time -- life itself is pretty offensive, ending as it does with death.  - Holly Lisle

Being offended is only ONE of many possible responses to a real or perceived offense. There are all kinds of ways however not to be offended. A great way is to busy ourselves with frying bigger fish! There are so many BIG fish that need frying! As long as a single person is still going to bed hungry we should be frying fish. As long as children aren't safe fish should be sizzling like crazy! As long as women - or anyone else for that matter - are being abused and denied their basic rights as human beings, there should be a huge fish fry that circles the globe and everyone should be invited!



  The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
 - Salman Rushdie


Having someone hurl offensive remarks at us is outside of our control. Being offended however is a choice. Deciding to allocate time and energy to those offensive remarks is a vote to give energy to them - precious energy that could be going  better places!



It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that." as if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 

- Stephen Fry



What could happen if we spent less time concerned with political correctness and more time working for social correctness? Is monitoring political correctness giving us the feeling that we're actually doing something to change the world? Is it allowing us to justify ignoring the need to attend to other issues?

We can only be hurt once by what someone says or does but can hurt ourselves endlessly by choosing to dwell on it.

Instead of reverting back to our childhoods and running to our mommies and daddies crying "Someone called me a such and such!" why not ask ourselves: "Are we a such and such?" or "If so and so calls us a horned toads will we grow horns and crawl on the ground?" or "If they call us a cow, will we give milk?" If we can answer "No" to all of those questions, how much more energy does the name calling deserve? 

If we can't answer no to the "Are you a such and such?" question, then maybe that's another fish that could use a good frying!

PHOTO CREDIT: Original Artwork by Sarah Kopp

14 comments:

  1. "Character is an inside job", I like that and I'm gonna steal it, just sayin! haha

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    1. Go right ahead! I think I stole it too. There's nothing new under the sun - unless you don't wear sunscreen.

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  2. Enjoyed the post very much. Isn't it sad that whereas children can let go of the pettiness of being selfishly offended, some adults (and probably most of us from time to time) cannot?

    I also enjoyed the "character is an inside job" phrase that Suzan mentioned.

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    1. It's interesting how much we adults can learn from children - especially about forgiveness! I'm not sure at what age we start taking ourselves so seriously but it doesn't seem to be an advantage. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Many heads are better than one!

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  3. We are our own worst critic. We need to be kinder to ourselves. :)
    Happy week ahead!

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    1. That's for sure Lux! You have a great week too.

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  4. Shake my hand, I am totally with you on this one!

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    1. If your hand ever crosses the pond I'd LOVE to. Maybe some of your wild creativity would rub off. :)

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  5. Doesn't it seem like there is a growing number of people who need a reason?
    Parents have children giving you trouble? Give them meds, it's not your fault. There's a reason they aren't behaving.
    Don't want to come up with an intelligent argument? Be offended, that way there's a reason you aren't saying anything worth listening to.
    Chris Rock stated recently that he will no longer do Universities. Why? There's a reason.
    They are so busy being offended that they forget he showed up to be funny. I don't like all his jokes, but I still chuckle. Sad to see the state of being PC taking over society's already limited sense of humor.
    Sorry...just had to rant. Along with the all-too-familiar childhood conversation I was reminded of how many times we have to "watch what you say/do." I remember when men could compliment women without worrying about a harassment lawsuit. Or when spanking our children didn't result in an arrest. (Sure there are exceptions and abuses, but really? Sad.)
    Just my 2 cents.

    This was a great article. Thanks for posting it. I loved the quotes sprinkled inside.

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    1. Rant away! The University of Michigan is trying to ban words like "crazy." That's got to be the CRAZIEST thing I've ever heard! We've become a society that's quick to make a person "an offender for a word." Sadly, we've also become an offensive society in some cases. It's impossible to change what others say and do. Even laws making it illegal to be rude or offensive would do little to change things. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!" Until hearts are changed actions won't follow. Meanwhile we'd do best to concentrate on what CAN control - our own attitudes toward what people say and do.

      Thank you for stopping by and weighing in. I'm glad you enjoyed the quotes. I did too. :)

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  6. Hmm...I agree to a point. Some issues are larger than one person being offended. Some of what bubbles up in the public is indicative of larger problems with lack of empathy or respect for others - other things we learn as children that many adults forget.

    I've gotten called all kinds of nasty names due to my "race" and I'm not any of those things. However, regardless of whether or not I'm offended by these words, these negative attitudes may affect my actual life if I'm treated poorly because of them.

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    1. You're exactly right Keisha. Not getting offended is one thing. Not being treated fairly because of someone's ignorance is a much bigger issue, and you're right about empathy being in short supply with some people.

      I saw a social experiment recently on YouTube where they had people of all different ages, races, sexes etc behind an x-ray screen so that only their skeletons were visible. They people danced, hugged, and just had a good time. People were shocked as the folks emerged from behind the screen. It was plain to see that under our skin, love looks the same! Love is the answer here. Love first, ask questions later!

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  7. You’re on a role Anita! Taking offense is just as bad as giving offense! Both are a choice. I think it starts at home (parents, siblings,….) and in the community (teachers, friends…) that raise our children. We learn by modelling the behaviour and language we see and hear around us and in the media. ‘Character is an inside job’ and hopefully we receive the right tools to do our job well.

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    1. Good thoughts Kate!

      I agree that taking offense can be just as bad as being offensive since some "offended" people do become terribly offensive about it. I don't understand why anyone would want to feel that way but sometimes "offended" is a great way to blame someone else.

      That's not to say that some things aren't hurtful, but hurt can go away in time if we allow it to.

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