Pat's View: Shared humanity
By Patrick Robinson
The anger that seems to be like a cloud of free floating anxiety, randomly spiking in traffic, or at a store on an airplane or in other public settings is understandable. Not only has life been fundamentally altered by a virus that has killed 4.91 million people but we’ve been lied to, misled, and since things have been put on hold, literally robbed of time in our lives.
It makes you want to lash out and blame someone. That need to source our anger and point fingers is something normally seen in the personalities of people with low emotional intelligence. It’s easy to fall into. Especially since media of all kinds from traditional to social feeds on the emotional extremes, amplifying them, repeating them often to the exclusion of other information. That tendency distorts reality.
But we’ve also had triggers and a kind of public permission from people in positions of authority whose behavior in the last few years has been anything but respectful. We have come to the collective conclusion (or many of us seem to) that the louder, more angry, more profane, more insulting, more violent we become the more things will improve.
Except for the fact that, that has never been true. It never will be true.
Think back to any time in history when we faced evil. Would any actual leader have been successful by screaming, spittle flying from his face, insults and invective coming out at every turn? Has an angry mob ever led to peace? Do military leaders motivate and lead their troops by calling the enemy names? Or do they calmly and quietly plan ways to defeat them?
Those that think positive outcomes are the result of the loss of emotional control have seen too many B movies. That’s not how it actually works in the real world.
What actually works is understanding our shared humanity. Most human beings want a peaceful, happy, productive life. That core understanding has to be kept in mind since those who we differ with may not see that.. nonetheless it’s what they want too.
We all want to live in comfortable surroundings, eat food we enjoy, give and receive love, breathe clean air, drink clean water, have enough money to do what we choose, be healthy and spend our time doing what makes us happy.
If you had a neighbor who came to your back fence and shouted profanities at you, always seemed to be complaining, or who bragged about his money, talked about hot his daughter was, and more… you might find that pretty objectionable. Yet those kinds of things have now been made publicly acceptable. We all have permission now to be crude, insulting, creepy and weird.
I’d urge you to think again. We really don’t. Largely because our shared humanity is far more important than anyone’s individual right to be an ass.